James Sykes Battye Memorial Fellowship


The Fellowship honours the legacy of librarian and historian James Sykes Battye, Chief Librarian of the State Library of Western Australia from 1894-1954.  Established through the Leah Jane Cohen Bequest, the Fellowship aims to enhance understanding of Western Australia through research based on the State Library’s heritage collections, particularly the Battye Library.

The current (2015) recipient, Professor Ian Reid, is the fourth scholar to be awarded the JS Battye Memorial Fellowship since its inception in 2007. Previous Fellows have investigated topics as diverse as the history of the Swan River (Sue Graham Taylor), Western Australia’s 19th Century colonists (Jane Davis) and Noongar songs of the South-West (Clint Bracknell).

Eligibility and Terms of Fellowship

Applications are open to Australian residents who may be historical or contemporary researchers, writers or those in the creative industries with a strong research interest.   Research must be based on the collections of the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History and should result in a report and public presentation.

Fellowships are not available:

  • Where the research would be part of the applicant's regular paid employment;
  • To current State Library of Western Australia employees.
The successful applicant is entitled to:

  • A monetary amount up to $10,000, paid in instalments upon the completion of agreed milestones;
  • Support from a State Library Subject Specialist, at the discretion of the Battye Historian;
  • Waiver of photocopy, microfilm copy and digital print charges at the discretion of the Battye Historian;
  •  Physical access to the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History and other State Library collections at the discretion of the Battye Historian;
  • Research space and the use of office equipment at the discretion of the Battye Historian.  The successful applicant will supply their own computer;
  • An induction tour and introduction to staff and library facilities; and
  • Use of the State Library Theatre for public presentations.

The successful applicant will take up and complete the Fellowship within the period April - June 2015. They are required to sign a contract with the State Library of Western Australia agreeing to;

  • Make at least one public presentation of the process and results of their research;
  • Grant the State Library of Western Australia the right to publish content on the website and first right of publication in any format of the results of their research;
  • Deposit a copy of any work produced with the State Library;
  • Be available for publicity purposes, including interviews with the media, to promote the results of the Fellowship and acknowledge the support of the State Library of Western Australia in any publication or promotion.
  • Prepare a 2000 word report at the conclusion of the Fellowship detailing the benefits of the experience.

Selection Process

All applications are examined by an independent Fellowship Committee convened by the State Librarian and comprising a member of the Library Board of Western Australia, the Battye Historian, and an independent scholar. Canvassing of Committee members is not permitted. The Fellowship Committee will interview short-listed applicants. All applicants are notified informing them of the Committee’s decision, which is regarded as final.  No discussion or correspondence is entered into concerning the Committee’s decision.

Applications are judged on the following criteria:

  • The degree to which the research outcomes would promote the collections of the Battye Library;
  • The degree to which the research outcomes help the State Library fulfil its strategic goal of ‘treasuring the stories of Western Australia’;
  • The applicant’s prior research experience and the quality of that research, relative to opportunity.
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Page last updated: Thursday 23 April 2015

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