Amateur historian, Leonie Bell was announced as the winner of the 2022 Ron Rathbone Local History Competition at a ceremony in the Rockdale Town Hall on Tuesday 20 September.
This is the fourth win for Leonie who also won in 2016, 2018 and 2021. In 2017 and 2019 she received a Highly Commended Award.
“Leonie is both a meticulous researcher and a gifted, highly readable, writer who has made an enormous contribution to our local history collection and knowledge,” Mayor Dr Christina Curry said.
This annual competition was started in 2006 to honour the memory of Ron Rathbone OAM — a former Councillor and Mayor of the City of Rockdale who was also the author of several local history books.
This year the competition attracted a great response with Council receiving 79 entries covering a range of topics.
The five judges who assessed all the submissions were:
- Dr Peter Orlovich, who has been a judge since 2006. His commitment to this competition has been unwavering over the years.
- Anne Slattery, former President, and lifetime member of the Botany Historical Trust.
- Dr Lisa Murray, City Historian at City of Sydney — Dr Lisa Murray is a public historian and currently works at the City of Sydney Council where she heads up the history program. She is also the 2021 Hertzberg Fellow at the State Library of NSW.
- Natalie Funston, Network Librarian at Bayside Council.
- Nina Walton, Mascot Library Network Officer. Nina works closely with the Bayside Local History team.
The judges were impressed by the range of local history topics explored and the enthusiasm demonstrated by all entrants.
The winner of the 2022 competition, Leonie Bell, receives a $5000 prize for Stannumville, an investigation into the short life of a tent town off Bunnerong Road, south of Daceyville during World War 1.
Stannumville analyses the reasons for creation of the town, what it was like to live there and reasons for its subsequent demise.
During her research Leonie uncovered photos of Stannumville that were incorrectly labelled, this correction makes it easier for future historians to find and access.
Other winners are:
- Carlton Public School, Year 5/6E for Rockdale Library - A Journey Through Time – Winner – Years 5 to 6
- Lola Melia for A Special Place – Joint Winner – Years K to 2
- Kyla Silke for Around Where I Live – Joint Winner – Years K to 2
- Annabelle Woo for Cooks River: A Long River with a Long History – Joint Winner – Years K to 2
- Ivy Zhong for Mr Angelo Anestis - A great man to be remembered – Winner – Years 3 to 4
Entries are on display in the Rockdale Library and online.