J.S. Battye Memorial Fellowship

Applications now closed.


The State Library is offering one $10 000 J.S. Battye Memorial Fellowship in 2024 for historians, curators or scholars. Applications open Friday, 26 April and close Friday, 31 May 2024.

James Sykes Battye was the State Library’s Chief Librarian from 1894-1954. The James Sykes Battye Memorial Fellowship acknowledges his career as an historian and collector of West Australian historical material. The Fellowship was established through the Leah Jane Cohen Library Bequest to enhance understanding of Western Australia through research based on the State Library’s heritage collections.

Applications are open to Western Australian residents who are historians, curators or scholars with demonstrated knowledge and experience in the fields of West Australian history or heritage.

This research fellowship will develop knowledge and public understanding about the State Library’s West Australian collections. The fellowship will result in one public presentation at the State Library and a report outlining the research findings. Research will also develop new understanding about the significance of State Library collections. It is anticipated that research will support development of new publications on West Australian history or support research for higher level tertiary qualifications.

Information for Applicants

The research fellowship must make use of the collections of the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History for a research proposal of their choice on the history of Western Australia. 

The successful recipient will receive:

  • $10,000 paid in instalments upon the completion of agreed milestones by 30 November 2024.
  • Support from State Library Librarians, the Battye Historian and other State Library staff.
  • Access to the State Library collections. 
  • An induction tour and introduction to staff and library facilities. 
  • Use of State Library office space, venues and other equipment as necessary during the residency at the discretion of the State Library. 
  • Waiver of photocopy and digital copy charges.

The Research Fellow will commence by June 2024 and complete their Fellowship by 30 November 2024.

The recipient will: 

  • Produce a report, outlining their experience, detailing the research findings and any new knowledge about State Library collections. 
  • Deposit with the State Library two copies of any work produced through the Fellowship.
  • Be available for publicity purposes, including interviews with the media, to promote the research supported by the Research Fellowships.
  • Contribute to the public programs of the State Library of Western Australia, such as a public lecture.
  • Acknowledge the support of the State Library and the Fellowship in forums, presentations and publications resulting from the Fellowships. 

Selection Process

All applications will be assessed by a panel. The panel may interview short-listed applicants. The successful recipients will be announced in June 2024.

All applicants will be informed of the panel’s decision, which is regarded as final.

Applicants must demonstrate:

1.    A research proposal that enhances knowledge and understanding of the State Library collections of West Australian history.
2.    Research outcomes that demonstrate original research into West Australian history.
3.    A proven ability to meet research outcomes and communicate these outcomes.

The State Library has the right to promote the residency outcomes and it is a condition of the funding that the successful recipients will be available for publicity purposes to promote the outcomes of the residency. 


Applications are open to Western Australian residents who are historians, curators or scholars with demonstrated knowledge and experience in the fields of West Australian history or heritage.

Researchers based outside of Western Australia or current employees of the State Library of Western Australia are not eligible to apply. 

How to Apply

Applications open Friday 26 April 2024 and close Friday 31 May 2024.

Applications are to be made online via Submittable. You will need to create a free Submittable account to apply.


Application materials

A letter of no more than three pages addressing the criteria outlined under Selection Process and a curriculum vitae (CV) highlighting relevant experience must be uploaded as separate documents.

All applicants will receive an automated email confirming receipt of their application. It is recommended that you keep a copy of your application for your records.


For enquiries about the J.S. Battye Memorial Fellowship contact:

John Hughes
Senior Subject Specialist
State Library of Western Australia
Phone: 08 9427 3476
Email: fellowships@slwa.wa.gov.au

Past J S Battye Memorial Fellows

Chloe Bartram - Wallal: The 1922 Solar Eclipse Expedition

A timely 2022 fellowship on the centenary of this remarkable scientific expedition to the Kimberley. Chloe’s research focused on the Alexander Ross archive at the State Library, particularly photographic material. She also used the fellowship to examine the unacknowledged role of women in the expedition.

Julie Raffaele – The Smelter’s Camp

Julie’s fellowship explored the Smelter’s Camp adjacent to Robb’s Jetty - a transient person's campsite that existed for over half a century among the dunes of Cockburn Sound and was originally an Aboriginal gathering place. Julie's research uncovered the fascinating personal histories of over 260 individuals living in this community until the camp's demolition in the 1960s.

Dr Ethan Blue - The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of Western Australia: A Living History

During his fellowship, Ethan progressed his manuscript detailing the history of the First Nations Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of Western Australia. This part of his research focused on the committee records held by the State Library.

Dr Anne Scrimgeour - Striking for Rights, writing the Strike: The Pilbara Aboriginal and Cooperative Movement 1945-1960 

Anne’s research used the State Library’s Western Australian collections to investigate the 1945-1960 Pilbara Aboriginal Strike and Cooperative movement. She explored the Battye Library collections to reveal how people like Katharine Susannah Prichard, J. K. Ewers, Joan Williams and Bert Vickers wrote about these events. Anne also investigated the activism of significant figures such as Nyangumarta woman, Daisy Bindi. This research informed State Library exhibitions associated with the 1967 Referendum 50th anniversary.

Ian Reid - History’s Grist and Fiction’s Mill 

Ian’s project explored the challenges and opportunities for creative writers of historical fiction. He argued that well researched historical fiction, written with respect for historical evidence can be an effective means of introducing larger audiences to Western Australian history and stories.

Clint Bracknell - Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories

Clint’s research was focused on the reconstruction and translation of Noongar songs from the unpublished notes of Daisy Bates. He has been able to identify and profile a number of Noongar singers and composers from the early 1900s. His work offers insight into the resilience of Noongar singing traditions and contributes to the ongoing language maintenance and intergenerational transmission of language. This work was part of a larger Noongar language project which aims to create new Noongar language resources.  While Battye Fellow Clint gave a number of public talks, including Koora koorliny, maya dalanginy and Nadj Nidj Maaya.

Jane Davis - Longing or Belong? Finding Home in Colonial Western Australia

Jane set out to challenge widely held assumptions about settlers and the Australian environment. She researched twenty one colonists, who settled in the South West between 1829 and 1907; she looked at the extent to which they developed a sense of home and belonging through their relationships and perceptions of the new landscapes encountered.  Some of her findings highlighted State Library resources and gave insight into the response of colonists to their new home.  Jane presented a number of public talks, sharing her research, methodology and findings. She also curated the Finding Home exhibition at the State Library in 2012.

Sue Graham-Taylor - Swan River Stories

Sue studied the history and environment of the Swan River, focusing on Perth Water – the area of the river approximately from Kings Park to the Causeway.  At the completion of her fellowship, Sue provided an overview of the environment, and social and political history of Perth Water. She profiled State Library resources and made it a useful tool for those interested in the general history of Perth Water.  In addition to this Sue also presented public talks and hosted a public forum, where members of the Perth community were invited to share their memories and stories of the Swan River.

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