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Annual Croker Prize for Biography

The Croker Prize for Biography is a great way to hone your writing skills and share your family history stories

The theme for the 2024 Croker Prize for Biography is A SPECIAL FAMILY CONNECTIONSubmissions close on 31 May 2024. Please email any questions regarding the competition to or telephone the office on (02) 9247 3953.


The Croker Prize for Biography is a wonderful opportunity for you to hone your writing skills, share your family history stories and demonstrate your research. It also enables the Society to showcase your work to assist other members with their research and writing.

Entrants are to write a 800-1000 word biography on an individual, based on original research, which must be related to the selected annual theme. 

Entries are judged according to the following criteria:

·       Entries must relate to the identified theme and be about the entrant's relative.

·       Entries should be well written, informative and entertaining.

·       Entries must be logically organised with an introduction and conclusion, using good grammar and spelling.

·       Entries should demonstrate good genealogical research skills, as evidenced by referenced sources.

Full terms and conditions for the 2024 prize are available here.

Please refer to our Referencing Guidelines for more detailed information.


The annual Croker Prize for Biography was established in 2014 in memory of Colin and Loas Croker, who thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Society to research their family trees. Through this annual prize, we acknowledge the very generous benefaction they left to us after their deaths.

A different theme for the competition is set each year, which is announced in the Autumn/March journal and on the website. Members can submit one entry each on that theme, with the winner chosen by a committee of former recipients and Society representatives. A cash prize of $1000 is awarded to the winner and their entry is published in the Spring/September issue of Descent.

All entries remain on the website for the current and previous year and are then transferred to the Society's digital archive system, where they will be found through the MIDAS catalogue.

The theme for 2023 was: A Family Myth

Click on the links below to read all 28 entries from 2023.

2301: An Academic Question by Roz Gatwood

2302: Persistence Pays Off by Lilian Magill

2303: The Legend of William Lumpy Dean - A Colonial Giant by Louise Millar-Hoffmann

2304: Andrew Gillis - Malefactor by Lisa Apfel

2305: A New Surname by Anthea Fraser Gupta

2306: The Irishman's Proposition by Catherine Clarke

2307: Henry Bingham - Myths and Reality by Alan Bingham

2308: Reds Under the Bed by Michael Considine - 2023 WINNER

2309: Jean's Hero Uncle by Catherine Philps

2310: My Father had a Spanish Ancestor by Helen White

2311: Through his Actions an Ordinary Man Busts a Myth by Patricia Deering

2312: Whatever Happened to Ida? by Kerry Close

2313: Explosion in Bombay by Wendy Noonan

2314: James Murphy - From Waywardness to Solid Citizen by Jim Fleming

2315: Exposure by Wendy Pryor

2316: The Runaway - Looking for Sarah by Deborah O'Mullane

2317: The Secrets of James Whirisky by Linda Waters

2318: Who was the First Person to Land from the First Fleet? by Deborah Martin

2319: Myth of the Millionaire - James Tyson 1819-1898 by Marguerita Carey

2320: James and the Giant Bridge by Sue Stenning

2321: The Finest Judges in England by Colin Kilduff

2322: Maria's Myth by Andrew Palmer

2323: The Tea Merchant and the Goldsmith: A Savory Tale by Bronywyn Paschalidis

2324: The Enigma of Black Kate Sullivan by Robyn Black

2325: My Family Myth: Clarence James Power Carbery 1876-1970 by Gillian Nicholl

2326: The Soldier and the convict - a tale of two siblings by Louise Briffa

2327: James Denard, the man, the myth, definitely not a legend by Karen Penn

2328: Ivy was disinherited for marrying a Catholic. Or was she? by Janelle Collins

2329: Saving the World (or Would He Lie to Me?) by Yvonne Masters

Use the link below to download and read entries for the previous two years.



Previous Themes and Winners

2022 – 'Where Did I Come From?' – Winner: Bob Wright - Collits Inn

2021 – 'My Most Unexpected Research Finding' – Winner: Michele Bomford - Conduct Unbecoming: Matthew Burnside and the 'Providence' Scandal, 1826 

2020 – ‘My Most Elusive Ancestor'  – Winner: Bill Dudley - The Sad Tale of Lieutenant Philip Connor

2019 – ‘A Woman of influence’ – Winner: Wendy Pryor - The Indomitable Miss Jane Skillicorn

2018 - 'A life-changing experience' – Winner: Patricia Smith - A double-edged sword

2017 - 'A Tough Life' - Winner: Kim Hatherly – A Boy from Shoreditch

2016 - 'The Ancestor I most admire is ... ' – Winner: Christine Collins - Dan's Legacy

2015 - 'My immigrant's story' - Winner: Bob Wright – Granny Greenhalgh (2015 Board Prize & 2015 Members' Choice Prize)

2014 - 'The blackest sheep in my family's flock was ...' – Winners: Elizabeth Adams - Sailing Uncharted Waters - the wreck of Master Mariner William Whitfield (2014 Board Prize) & Bob Wright - Old Brine: Terror of the Richmond River (Brian O'Neil) (2014  Members's Choice Prize) 

Image: Narrabeen Newport bus 1919, SAG Manuscript and Image Collection, Item 6/1338

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