Local author’s book captures an award

By Liz Mellino

A book published by the Murchison and District Historical Society has taken out a Victorian Community History Award.

Art Captured tells the story of Hans-Wolter von Gruenewaldt who was held captive for five years at a prisoner of war camp near Murchison in 1940.

Compiled by Murchison and District Historical Society president Kay Ball, the book was the winner of the local history, small publication award at a ceremony in Melbourne last month.

Ms Ball said the award recognised the best small publication of less than 180 pages featuring Victorian local, cultural or social history.

‘‘As the standard, diversity and amazing efforts by keen historians across Victoria is so impressive when recording and showcasing local history, I really didn’t expect to come home with a prize,’’ she said.

‘‘I entered the book for the experience really, going to the ceremony and mixing with some wonderful people was the drawcard, so the award on the day was a complete shock and of course thrilling.’’

Now in its 20th year the Victorian Community History Awards present prizes across nine categories, including written works, audio visual and interpretive projects, cultural diversity and the centenary of World War I.

Ms Ball said a panel of judges read each book and gave feedback to the authors which formed their decision.

She said the judges were impressed with Art Captured, saying: ‘‘This handsome book, based on Axel’s gift, is a significant addition to the studies of detention camps in the Tatura district and the wealth of talent unwittingly transported to Australia by the crew of the Dunera’’.

This year’s ceremony was held on October 8 at the start of History Week, which director and keeper of public records Justine Heazlewood said was significant timing as the award-winning stories helped to better understand our past.

‘‘Congratulations to all the winners, including the many volunteers who give up their time and creative energy freely to tell and share stories they are passionate about,’’ she said.

‘‘We share that passion for history with them and are thrilled to be able to award them for their efforts.’’

Copies of Art Captured by Kay Ball are available to purchase from the Murchison, Rushworth, Shepparton, and Tatura Museums, Shepparton Visitor Information Centre, SAM shop and the Royal Historical Society Victoria book shop at 239 A’Beckett St, Melbourne.