A joint project by two local historical groups has been awarded a Victorian Community History Award.By Robyn Antanovskii
A joint venture by the Benalla and District Historical Society and the Benalla Family Research Group has been awarded a prestigious Victorian Community History Award.
Through Their Eyes: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women from Benalla and District was chosen from 110 entries to win one of eight awards.
The Collaborative Community History Award recognises a work which involves significant input from several contributors.
Through Their Eyes contains stories from 84 contributors, and was chosen as a winner for its consistently disciplined and informative writing.
Editors Maree Hanlon and Pam Herbert said they were surprised and delighted when the book was
announced a winner.
‘‘I’m absolutely stunned that we won,’’ Ms Hanlon said.
‘‘When you think it was chosen from 110 entries, you feel incredibly honoured.’’
‘‘I couldn’t sleep when I found out,’’ Ms Herbert said.
‘‘I had to ring everybody and let them know.’’
The book was written on a shoestring budget of $500 and has a history of success, selling out within a month of its launch in late June.
It contains 102 stories of the hardships and achievements of local women from all walks of life, including pioneers, farmers, mayors, nurses, teachers, migrants and nuns.
The idea for the book emerged at the 2011 International Women’s Breakfast at the Benalla Art Gallery.
‘‘The guest speaker was the winner of 2010 Victorian Rural Woman of the Year, Alana Johnson,’’ Ms Herbert said.
‘‘She said ‘Do you know your mother’s and mother’s mother’s family history?’ and we were inspired.’’
The book’s award included $2000 prizemoney and may go towards digitising copies of the Benalla Standard dating from as far back as 1878.
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