BRUC Student Amanda Wells wins Wakefield Press Essay Prize

Nathan Little
Manager, Communications & Programs
June 14, 2024

Amanda Wells, a PhD candidate with the University of Newcastle and a BRUC student, has won the prestigious HCSA 2024 Historian Awards Wakefield Press Essay Prize for her outstanding essay, 'Halting Chowilla Dam: Salt, Science, and River Murray Politics in the 1960s.'

Her award-winning work documents the historical significance of halting the Chowilla Dam project in South Australia, showcasing her dedication and deep knowledge in Environmental History. Amanda's essay examines the often overlooked environmental and political aspects of this critical decision, deftly weaving together historical facts to tell the compelling story of an ecological near miss in South Australia. It draws on a rich source base to investigate the interplay of responsible water resource management and politics.

The judges praised her essay for illustrating how environmental issues like salinity intersected with horticultural interests, plans for regional development, and interstate rivalries, while clearly spelling out how fortunate South Australia was to avoid building the Chowilla Dam.

The HCSA 2024 Historian Awards and History Festival Finale were held at the Piccadilly Cinema, North Adelaide, on Friday 31 May 2024. The History Council of South Australia (HCSA) are the peak histry body in South Australia, providing a representative voice on historical issues, and celebrating and raising the profile of history in South Australia.

Read the History Council's media release at

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