The Palace Letters Highly Commended for 2021 Henry Mayer Book Prize

The Palace Letters by Jenny Hocking has been highly commended by the 2021 Henry Mayer Book Prize judges.

The judging panel wrote: Jenny Hocking’s The Palace Letters is a significant and original contribution to our understanding of Australian politics. Accessibly written, The Palace Letters combines the adventure of a detective story with a scholarly meditation on Australian constitutionalism. It sheds new light on previously unknown aspects of the Whitlam dismissal, in particular the continuing capacity of British Monarchs and their representatives profoundly to influence Australian political events. The book is also an object lesson concerning the challenges of archival research as it also tells the story behind the research materials upon which much of the study rests. The Palace Letters stands as a testament to the importance of our national archives and to the necessity for these to be accessible and transparent if our historical record is to be preserved.

Jenny has also been awarded a Commendation in the Mander Jones Awards by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, stating that: Hocking is an excellent raconteur in telling of her struggles and battle to gain access to the correspondence between a Governor General and the Queen held by the National Archives of Australia. She also provides the reader with an excellent essay on the detail that The Palace Letters reveal about the dismissal of the Whitlam government in November 1975. It is a great and fascinating read.

Congratulations to Jenny, and all nominated and winning authors.

The Palace Letters

A political betrayal.
A constitutional crisis.
A hidden correspondence.

Gough Whitlam was a progressive prime minister whose reign from 1972 proved tumultuous after 23 years of conservative government in Australia. After a second election victory in May 1974, when a hostile Senate refused to vote on his 1975 budget, the political deadlock that ensued culminated in Whitlam’s unexpected and deeply controversial dismissal by the governor-general, Sir John Kerr.

Kerr was in close touch with the Palace during this period, but, under the cover of being designated as personal, that correspondence was locked away…

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The Palace Letters

Jenny Hocking

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