Billy Griffiths awarded 2019 Ernest Scott Prize
Dr Billy Griffiths from Deakin University has been awarded the 2019 Ernest Scott Prize for his book Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (Black Inc Books), which charts changing perspectives on Indigenous Australian culture through the history of archaeology.
The Ernest Scott Prize is awarded for work based upon original research which is, in the opinion of the judges, the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation.
Dr Griffiths said he was honoured to receive the prize.
"This year's shortlisted books display the richness, depth and diversity of histories about Australia and New Zealand. They also mark a growing awareness of, and respect for, First Nations peoples' knowledge, histories and cultural expression," he said.
"When we talk about the past 231 years of Australian history, we do so in the context of over 60,000 years of human experience on this continent. My book is about coming to terms with that deeper story."
The Ernest Scott Prize was established in memory of Emeritus Professor Sir Ernest Scott Knight Bachelor, Professor of History in the University of Melbourne from 1913 to 1936, to commemorate his interest in the development of Australian historical studies.
The 2019 judges were:
- Professor Charlotte Macdonald, Professor of History, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
- Bruce Pascoe, award-winning Australian writer, editor and anthologist.
Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia
Soon after Billy Griffiths joins his first archaeological dig as camp manager and cook, he is hooked. Equipped with a historian's inquiring mind, he embarks on a journey through time, seeking to understand the extraordinary deep history of the Australian continent.
Deep Time Dreaming is the passionate product of that journey. It investigates a twin revolution: the reassertion of Aboriginal identity in the second half of the twentieth century, and the uncovering of the traces of ancient Australia.
It explores what it means to live in a place of great antiquity, with its complex questions of ownership and belonging. It is about a slow shift in national consciousness: the deep time dreaming that has changed the way many of us relate to this continent and its enduring, dynamic human history.