Events and Awards

State Records Office and State Records Commission Events and Awards
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Each year the State Records Office and the State Records Commission conducts awards and presentations, including the:

  • Margaret Medcalf Award for use of the State Archives collection,
  • State Records Commission Award for Excellence in Records and Information Management, 
  • Geoffrey Bolton Lecture to encourage the expression of ideas and debate about the meaning and nature of history, culture and society, grounded in archival research; and to provide archival and historical context to national debate on contemporary issues.

Geoffrey Bolton Lecture

This annual Lecture honours Geoffrey Bolton AO, Australian historian, academic and writer.

Since 2004, the State Records Office has presented the annual Geoffrey Bolton Lecture to promote debate about the use and interpretation of archives, in what is now a nationally important forum. 

  • 2022: Looking Upriver // Looking Downriver - Dr Bolleter discusses the different worlds that have existed and been dreamt along the river's edge. 
  • 2021: Yarning Ancestors Words - interviews about the Ancestor's Words Project by researchers at Curtin and Deakin Universities. Produced by Sarah Tout.
  • 2020: 'What does it matter so long as you get the money?' Behind bars and between the pages of women and crime - Dr Leigh Straw
  • 2019: Truth-telling, Archives and Human Rights - Professor Jane Lydon
  • 2018: Digital Assimilation : Resistance is Futile! - Richard Foy
  • 2017: From Bolshevism to Populism: Australia in a Century of Global Transformation - Emeritus Professor Stuart Macintyre 
  • 2016: Children in Need: why records are central to identity and justice - Commissioner Andrew Murray
  • 2015: Cultural Futures in the Age of Digital Disruption - Kim Williams
  • 2014: ‘Here is their Spirit’ – the Anzac Centenary and the generation that gave a nation its story - Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson 
  • 2013: The Resonance of History: archives and past decisions and Indigenous disadvantage - Professor Marcia Langton 
  • 2012: “Gold and dross – what is the value of the official record?” - Hon. Fred Chaney
  • 2011: “A Campus in the Community: Archiving a Century of Service from The University of Western Australia” - Professor Alan Robson
  • 2010: Parliament, the People and Archives: Documenting Politics in Western Australia - Emeritus Professor David Black
  • 2009: The Evolution of Scientific Records and Challenges in the Digital Universe - Professor Lyn Beazley
  • 2008: Is Legal History Now Ancient History? - Hon Justice Michael Kirby
  • 2007: Our Final Century? - Robyn Williams
  • 2006: Manufacturing Memory: history, archives and history wars - Professor Peter Edwards
  • 2005: The Whole World is Watching: International  Themes in the History of Aboriginal Policy in  Western Australia in the 19th and 20th Centuries - Professor Henry Reynolds
  • 2004: The use and Interpretation of Archives: Taking ourselves Seriously - Hon Dr Geoff Gallop

Margaret Medcalf Award

This annual Award for excellence in research using State archives honours Ms Margaret Medcalf OAM, the second State Archivist for Western Australia (from 1971 to 1989), for her valuable contribution to the development of archives in Western Australia.

Works nominated for the Award must demonstrate use of archival sources and substantial (but not necessarily exclusive) use of State Archives held by the State Records Office (SRO).

Nominated works may be fiction or non-fiction and may comprise any format (i.e. book, article, conference paper, website, index, etc.) and may be published or unpublished. Nominations may be submitted by anyone, including the author of the work. Nominated works must have been completed or published during the previous calendar year.

  • 2023: Ann Curthoys, Shino Konishi and Alexandra Ludewig for 'The Lives and Legacies of a Carceral Island: A Biographical History of Wadjemup/Rottnest Island'.
  • 2022: Joint winners: Ms Emily Lanman for Prisoners, Power and Panopticon: Investigating Fremantle Gaol, 1831-1841; and Dr Leigh Straw for The Petticoat Parade: Madam Monnier and the Roe Street Brothels from Fremantle Press.
  • 2021: The Carceral Colony an edition of Studies in Western Australian History 
  • 2020: Dr Tiffany Shellam for The Collective Nyungar Heritage of an “Orphan Letter”
  • 2019:  Dr Robin Barrington for her journal article A Race War: Tracing emotions on the Murchison frontier in Western Australia 1880-1915
  • 2018: Joint Winners: Joanna Sassoon - Agents of Empire: How E.L. Mitchell's Photographs shaped Australia, & Leigh Straw - After the War: Returned Soldiers and the Mental and Physical Scars of WW1
  • 2017: Criena Fitzgerald - Turning men into Stone: A Social and Medical History of Silicosis in Western Australia from 1890 to 1970
  • 2016: Julian Bolleter - Take me to the River: the Story of Perth's Foreshore
  • 2015: Kerry King - A Lesser Species of Homicide: Manslaughter, Negligent and Dangerous Driving Causing Death: the Prosecution of Drivers in Western Australia 1946-2011
  • 2014: Penelope Hetherington - The Marriage Knot: Marriage and Divorce in Colonial Western Australia 1829-1900
  • 2013: Joint Winners: Ann Hunter - A Different Kind of Subject: Colonial Law in Aboriginal - European Relations in 19th Century Western Australia 1829-61, & Ruth Morgan - Running Out? An Environmental history of Climate and Water in the Southwest of Western Australia, 1829 to 2006
  • 2012: Fiona Skyring - Justice: a History of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia
  • 2011: Anna Haebich - Murdering Stepmothers: the Execution of Martha Rendell
  • 2010: Professor Henry Reynolds - The Whole World is Watching: International  Themes in the History of Aboriginal Policy in  Western Australia in the 19th and 20th Centuries -  “It’s Still in my Heart, this is my Country”: the Single Noongar Claim History
  • 2009: Isla Macphail - Highest Privilege and Bounden Duty: a Study of Western Australia Parliamentary Elections 
  • 2008: Richard Hartley - River of Steel: a History of the Western Australian Goldfields and Agricultural Water Supply 1903-2003 (Book)
  • 2007: Neville Green – Access, Equality and Opportunity? The Education of Aboriginal Children in Western Australia, 1840-1978 (PhD Thesis)
  • 2006: Award Postponed to 2007
  • 2005: Danny Cusack – With an Olive Branch and a Shillelagh: the Life and Times of Senator Patrick Lynch (Book)
  • 2004: Lauren Marsh and Steve Kinnane - Ghost files: the Missing Files of the Department of Indigenous Affairs archives (published article)
  • 2003: Joint Winners: Anne and Bruce Buchanan: The Bugtool: A User’s Guide to Occupancy and Ownership of Land (finding aid) & Christine Choo - Mission Girls: Aboriginal Women on Catholic Missions in the Kimberley, Western Australia 1900-1950 (Book)

State Records Commission Award for Excellence in Records and Information Management

Since 2006, the State Records Commission has sponsored a special Award in partnership with the Institute of Public Administration Australia (WA Division).  This specialist Award recognises excellence in records and information management as documented in Annual Reports. 

The Annual Reports of all State government organisations are considered for this Award and progress through two short listing phases.  The Annual Reports in the final short list are evaluated according to how well the following criteria are addressed:

  • the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s recordkeeping systems are evaluated not less than once every five years;
  • the organization conducts a recordkeeping training program;
  • the efficiency and effectiveness of the recordkeeping training program are reviewed from time to time; and
  • the organization’s induction program addresses employees’ roles and responsibilities in regard to their compliance with the agency’s recordkeeping plan.


  • 2022: Ombudsman Western Australia
  • 2021: Department of Justice
  • 2020: Western Australian Treasury Corporation
  • 2019: Department of Justice - Special commendation: Main Roads Western Australia
  • 2018: Western Australian Treasury Corporation 
  • 2017: Department of Education - Special commendation: Western Australian Treasury Corporation
  • 2016: Main Roads Western Australia - Special commendation: Pilbara Ports Authority
  • 2015: Department of Fisheries 
  • 2014: Fremantle Port Authority 
  • 2013: Economic Regulation Authority - Special commendation: Department of Mines and Petroleum
  • 2012: Disability Services Commission - Special commendation: Main Roads Western Australia
  • 2011: Western Australia Police - Special commendation: Main Roads Western Australia
  • 2010: Fremantle Port Authority - Special commendation: Disability Services Commission
  • 2009: Disability Services Commission - Special commendation: Fremantle Port Authority
  • 2008: Department of the Attorney General - Special commendations: Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority; C Y O’Connor College of TAFE
  • 2007: Central West College of TAFE - Special commendations: Disability Services Commission; Fremantle Port Authority
  • 2006: South West Regional College of TAFE