The aim of the Lane Cove History Prize is to encourage original research into the history of Lane Cove and its environs, extending knowledge of the area and its people. It is intended that the research will contribute to an enriched understanding of Lane Cove, both past and present.

The results of the research will be published in the LCHS Journal and lodged with the Lane Cove Library Local Studies Unit for the wider information of the public and preserved for the use of future researchers.

Original research may well involve documenting knowledge about some person, event or phenomenon not hitherto documented.  Equally, such research may take some known person, event or phenomenon and offer some fresh perspectives or insights, achieving a new understanding and interpretation. Any research offered for the Lane Cove History Prize must also be original in the sense that it has not been offered elsewhere, either in another prize or, for example, in completion of some degree program of study.

For the 2019 Lane Cove History Prize, entrants may submit


An essay (illustrated where appropriate) of 5,000 to 7,000 words,


An Oral History produced digitally as a video or audio recording on USB stick or disc of 30-45 minutes’ duration. This must be accompanied by a written transcription (in Microsoft Word format).The interview/video must also be accompanied by a short written summary and an explanation about why it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Lane Cove’s history.


A DVD of 7 to 10 minutes.

The term “Lane Cove and its environs” refers to the modern Municipality of Lane Cove—Lane Cove, Lane Cove West, Lane Cove North, Greenwich, Northwood, Longueville, and Linley Point. It is acknowledged that in the past “Lane Cove” covered a much broader geographical area, for it embraced parts of modern Hunters Hill, and Woolwich, North Sydney, Chatswood and suburbs north to Gordon. Hence, submissions will be accepted when these areas are introduced into a study of the period in which these areas constituted “Lane Cove”.


The winner of the Lane Cove Local History Prize will receive $2,000.

Closing date

All entries must be received by 5pm on Friday 31st August 2019.



Any enquiries should be directed to Dr. Frances Christie

Criteria 2019

Entry Form 2019

The winner for 2018 is

Penny Ransby Smith

(pictured below).

 This year’s Lane Cove History Prize, which is supported by Hyecorp Property Group, was awarded to Penny Ransby Smith at a ceremony in the Lane Cove Library on 23rd October. Born in England, Penny lived in Africa and England before emigrating to Australia 30 years ago. Penny trained as an accountant, working mainly in financial markets, though she has a well-established interest in history and has previously written an account of the life of her grandfather, who settled in Western Australia before WWI and who also served on the Western Front.

Her prize-winning essay, entitled Lane Cove Schools 1876 to 2018: A History of Lane Cove told through its Schools, was inspired by her five grandchildren, all of whom attended either St. Michael’s or Lane Cove West school over the last few years. Penny writes that her interest in writing such a history came to her when attending the annual Harmony Day at Lane Cove West Public School in 2017. She was inspired to see an “extraordinary number of students proudly displaying the national costumes of their parents, grandparents and forebears”. This caused her to reflect on the nature of Lane Cove as an area and how the local schools reveal a great deal of the character of contemporary Lane Cove. Over the years since the first schools emerged in Lane Cove, they served not only to educate the young but also to help shape the area that was created. Schooling, its schools and their buildings, its values, its pedagogical practices and its goals, have all contributed to the changing nature of Lane Cove, through peacetime and through war. As the population of Lane Cove and its environs changed and diversified, schools opened and, in some cases, others closed, reflecting shifting social pressures and movements. Overall, contemporary Lane Cove has a valuable history to reveal in all aspects of its schooling, and Penny Ransby Smith has written an interesting account, placing developments in schools in the broader context of changing social practices and attitudes.

Penny received a prizewinning cheque of $2,000, provided by Hyecorp Property Group, which was presented by Professor Paul Ashton of Macquarie University. The Lane Cove History Prize is unusual, in that it is one of few local history prizes awarded in Australia, and it is intended to promote interest in the history of Lane Cove and its environs. Professor Paula Hamilton of UTS, praised the winning essay for its clarity and originality. The Prize was warmly supported by Councillor Pam Palmer, Mayor of Lane Cove, who officially opened the evening. The Prize-winning essay and others received for the competition will be published in a forthcoming edition of the LCHS Journal.

Pictured below are Prof Paula Hamilton from UTS and Prof Paul Ashton from Macquarie University presenting the cheque to Penny.


Spotlight on the 2018 Judges:

Professor Paula Hamilton

Paula Hamilton is an Adjunct Professor at UTS and she is also attached to the Department of History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie. She has conducted extensive consultancies and research with museums, including Powerhouse, Australian Museum and National Museum of Australia as well as many other organizations in the wider community. She has strong links with the oral history community, indicative of her long-term interest in cultural memory, particularly collective remembering through oral narratives. She has extensive experience interviewing working women, migrants, journalists, and women survivors of disaster. She co-edits ‘Public History Review’ and also ‘Locality: a community history journal’, both of which act as links between the academe and the wider community. She is committed to facilitating historical work for wider audiences and promoting links between the academe and the public sphere.

Dr. Kay Leiper Honorary President Lane Cove Historical Society

Dr. Leiper holds a PhD in history from Macquarie University. Her doctoral study combined interests in ancient history and cognition. She also has strong interests in local history, believing in the values of documenting community activities and themes.



The 2017 LANE COVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY History Prize winner is Simon Cole, for his work celebrating the life of Lane Cove’s Les Heap.

Simon Cole

Les Heap  

Pictured above in the front row from left to right is Dr Kay Lieper (President of the Lane Cove Historical Society), Deborah Hutchens (former Mayor of Lane Cove), Pam Palmer (Mayor of Lane Cove) and Emeritus Professor Dr Frances Christie (Supervisor of the History Prize).

Pictured below is Anthony Roberts MP presenting the $2000 winners cheque, generously donated by the Hyecorp Property Group, to Simon.

The 2016 Inaugural LANE COVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY History Prize.

In calling for entries for the Award, the LCHS declared that the successful entrant should produce either an essay or an oral history produced digitally into some aspect of Lane Cove’s history. The aim of the Lane Cove History Prize, it was noted, was “to encourage original research into the history of Lane Cove and its environs, extending knowledge of the area and its people.”

The winner of the Award was Margaret Clark, whose essay was called Arthur, Luce and the Fleur-de-Lis 1916-2016: A History of the Fence at 44 College Road South, Riverview NSW.

The essay traces the lives of a young Englishman and his French bride who settled in a house at 44 College Road South Riverview at the end of the First World War. Arthur King had migrated from England shortly before the war broke out, and he thus enlisted in the Australian forces. He was badly wounded at Pozieres and sent to a hospital on the northwest coast of France. There he met Luce Marie Victoire Antoine, who eventually became his wife.

Margaret Clark recounts their story with sensitivity and skill, tracing developments on the Western Front as they impacted on Arthur, and later, tracing the impact of events on Luce. Though Luce clearly loved Arthur, she found the adjustment to life in Australia quite difficult, even returning at one stage to her family home, before she finally determined to settle in the home Arthur had built for her and their children. Among the many things he did to make her feel part of what was for Luce a sometimes disturbing new setting, Arthur designed a front fence with a fleur-de -lis design in the ironwork. The fleur –de-lis – sometimes spelt fleur-de-luce – is associated with France, and it clearly had a particular significance for Luce. The fence, in a reduced form, remains to this day, long after Arthur and Luce died.

Caroline Jones AO, the Walkley Award-winning ABC identity and National Living Treasure, awarded the prize to Margaret on behalf of the Lane Cove Historical Society. Caroline, herself an authority on the importance of local social history, spoke of the importance of telling the many stories of people’s lives, and of the value that attaches to preserving them as part of the tapestry of the ever-emergent Australian story. About the winning essay she said:

It tells a love story from the ashes of the terrible battle of the Somme which we commemorate this year. Yes, 100 years since 1916. But how can we absorb the dreadful statistics of war? They are too much for us. But tell us a person’s individual story, and we begin to understand.

The complete essay by Margaret Clark has been published in the LCHS Journal 2017, along with several other entries to the 2016 Inaugural LCHS History Prize competition. If you would like a copy, it is available now for only $10.

Caroline Jones awards the prize to Margaret Clark

Frances Christie and Margaret Clark at the award night