The judges for the 2019 Croker Prize essay competition have conferred a Highly Commended award on my essay, A Noble Harvest. In essence, I have run second; a very pleasing outcome. The judges described the essay as:
a skillfully woven story about how Elizabeth Taylor broke the cycle of poverty for her family.
The Croker Prize for Biography is an annual essay competition (1000 words) run by the Society of Australian Genealogists as a public recognition of their generous benefactors, Colin and Loas Croker. I have contributed an essay in each of its six years (all available on my Stories page - chlick here). This year, the theme was A woman of Influence.
The judges' provided the following synopsis of the essay:
Elizabeth Taylor was born into a poor coal mining family in Glasgow. Married at a young age, she escaped an abusive husband, found scarce work opportunities for her children, and, before her early death from diabetes, encouraged them all to emigrate to Australia, where they enjoyed better lives.
I derived the title of my essay from a paper written in 1842 by Dr S Scott Alison, (Hon Sec Medical Society of London) On the Diseases, Conditions and Habits of the Collier Population of East Lothian, extracted from the report by R F Franks to the Children’s Employment Commission on the East of Scotland District. After describing the dreadful living conditions and resultant deplorable health of these poor people, Dr Alison promised “a noble harvest” to any philanthropist who would help the impoverished colliers of East Lothian. While Elizabeth Taylor was not a philanthropist, she used every means at her disposal to influence events for her own family so that her descendants were able to enjoy a much better life than she did; thus reaping her own noble harvest.
You can read A Noble Harvest on the Society's website by clicking here.
Finally, I offer my hearty congratulations to Wendy Prior of Waverton for her winning essay, The Indomitable Miss Jane Skillikorn.