2018 Awards: The winners of the Alexander Henderson and Don Grant Awards for 2018 were announced at the Family History Connections annual lunch on Sunday 26th May 2019 at the Box Hill Golf Club. 


The Alexander Henderson Award is a prestigious award, given to an author who has taken considerable effort to research and write a family history that complies with the specified criteria. This year, there were eleven entries, all a delight to read. The judges had a very difficult time choosing a winner and eventually decided to name joint winners and a runner up.

Joint Winners, in alphabetical order of author:

Threaded Lives: stories of the Symonds, Price, Walker, Hitch and Moody families by Eril Jolly.

Threaded Lives is an impressive piece of work that traces the histories of five connected families who came from various parts of Britain in the nineteenth century and settled in different parts of the Australian colonies, but who over time had their families interconnected through marriage.


Sarka to Westgarthtown: the Wuchatsch Family in Germany and Australia by Robert Wuchastch.

Sarka to Westgarthtown is the history of a Wendish German family who migrated to Victoria just before the gold rushes and settled in Westgarthtown, near Melbourne. It contains numerous individual detailed biographies of the family members and their descendants.

Second Place:

From Devon to Australia: a nineteenth century narrative through unpublished letters of the Merrifield family, by Virginia Noonan.

This book has made excellent use of a collection of Merrifield family letters to provide the basis of an insightful account of the family’s transition from Devon to Victoria. They were an interesting family of largely educated middle class professionals who, through their letter writing, have left a very valuable record of their lives in England and Australia.



There were four entrants in the Don Grant Award this year. The judges have chosen a particularly fine example of a family biography for this year’s award.

The winner of the Don Grant Award for 2018/19 is Snips and Snaps: The Friths: nineteenth century portraitists, miniaturists, caricaturists and photographic artists, by Noel Tozer.

This is an impressive piece of work that follows the artistic careers of three siblings, members of the highly talented and artistic Frith family who worked in Britain, New Zealand and three Australia colonies in the nineteenth century – as the title says, as portraitists, miniaturists, caricaturists and photographic artists. Because their careers were so intertwined, they have been brought together in this impressive generational biography. It makes a significant contribution to art history as well as our knowledge of the talent of a particular family.


All entered books can be viewed on display at the Family History Connections Resource Centre at 1/41 Railway Rd, Blackburn. Opening hours and further information about the Awards (including entry forms for both awards) can be found on the web site www.familyhistoryconnections.org.au