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August 2005 Issue
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Magarey Medal goes to female biographer!


The 2005 Magarey Medal has already been run and won - and the winner is a woman!

Sydney academic and writer Dr Heather Goodall was recently announced as a Magarey Medallist for 2005 - the inaugural recipient of the new Magarey Medal, established by University of Adelaide academic Dr Susan Magarey.

Dr Goodall, an Associate Professor in the University of Technology Sydney's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, received the award for her co-authoring of the autobiography of Aboriginal woman, the late Isabel Flick.

Isabel Flick: The Many Lives of an Extraordinary Aboriginal Woman was co-authored by Isabel herself and Dr Goodall, and features the weaving together of autobiography, oral history and biography. It tells the story of Isabel Flick's lifelong challenge to the racism of wider society and to injustice among her own people, and of the wide networks she helped to build within the Aboriginal community and extending beyond it.

For the new Magarey Medal, women biographers will be recognised for their scholarly achievement - as distinct from the original Magarey Medal, the oldest individual award in Australian football, won annually by the fairest and best footballer in the South Australian National Football League.

Dr Magarey, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide's Discipline of History, is the first cousin four times removed of William Ashley Magarey, who founded the football medal as president of the South Australian Football League in 1898.

She said she established the prize to help redress the balance between the documented achievements of men and women in South Australia.

"I have spent the greater part of my life in South Australia where, every year, my family name appears on the front page of the newspaper and on television and radio coupled with a great deal of excitement, hype, sweat and testosterone," Dr Magarey said.

"I have not been absolutely thrilled with the exclusivity of this association, and now seek to balance it. The Magarey Medal for football is a prize for a sporting man; the Magarey Medal for biography is a prize for a scholarly woman."

The new Magarey Medal will be awarded to a female writer who has published the work judged to be the best work of biography written on an Australian subject. It is worth $10,000 in its first year, and will be indexed thereafter to inflation.

It will be administered and judged by a panel composed from the Australian Historical Association and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.

Story by Ben Osborne

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Dr Susan Magarey
Photo by Ben Osborne

Dr Susan Magarey
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Dr Heather Goodall
Photo courtesy of the University of Technology, Sydney

Dr Heather Goodall
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