Macdonald Holmes Medal

James Macdonald Holmes was McCaughey Professor of Geography at the University of Sydney during the period 1929 to 1961. To commemorate his achievements over these years, the Geographical Society together with the Geography Teachers’ Association awards, biennially, a medal bearing his portrait and name, to a person deemed to have made a distinguished contribution in the field of geographical education in Australia.

The nomination procedures and rules together with the nomination form can be downloaded HERE. Nominations for the 2022 MacDonald Holmes Award should be emailed by COB Tuesday, 7 June to: 

Executive Officer, Bronwyn Bate:



The 2019 Macdonald Holmes Medal recipient Professor Pauline McGuirk, University of Wollongong

The below is the speech written by Dr Rae Dufty-Jones at the Awards Night, 27th November 2019, The Retreat Garden Bistro.


This year it is with great pleasure that the Geographical Society of NSW and the Geography Teachers Association of NSW recognise and honour Professor Pauline McGuirk by awarding her the 2019 MacDonald Holmes Medal.Social Sciences Headshots 9-2016-78[1]

Professor Pauline McGuirk has made outstanding contributions to geographical research and education in Australia and internationally. Pauline was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (in Geography and History), a Higher Diploma in Education and a PhD (Thesis: Perspectives on the nature and role of urban planning in capitalism) from Trinity College, Dublin. She has taught geography at tertiary institutions in Australia for 27 years, including in a leadership role as Professor at the University of Newcastle and then the Wollongong University since 2007. Pauline has also contributed to geography as a discipline in Australia, and the Geographical Society of NSW through numerous roles including as President (2002–2005), Vice-President (1999–2002, 2005–2008) and a Council member (1997–1999). 

With over 90 peer-reviewed publications, Professor McGuirk is an internationally recognised and widely cited expert in urban political geography. Her research and publications focus on cities and questions of politics and power in the creation of just and sustainable urban futures. Pauline’s standing in and contribution to the Discipline internationally is, among many other things, evidenced by her role as co-editor of the leading international journal Progress in Human Geography since 2015. Beyond the academy, Professor McGuirk has contributed directly to policy development involvement in Federal government consultative panels and provided more than 40 reports to government, business and community groups as the result of her applied research with industry collaborators. Her research excellence was also recognised in 2016 with her appointment to the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. 

Pauline has been awarded Vice Chancellor’s Awards for both Teaching and Supervision Excellence in recognition of her outstanding contributions in these areas.  She has also produced widely acclaimed teaching resources, including Introducing Human Geography: Globalisation, Difference, Inequality (with Waitt G, McGuirk PM, Dunn KM, Hartig KV and Burnley I, (2000)). This text was the winner of The Australian Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing, Single Title (Wholly Australian). In addition to this work Pauline has advanced geographical education in Australia through designing and developing a new interdisciplinary undergraduate programme led by Geography at the University of Wollongong: the Bachelor of Sustainable Communities (launched in 2018).

Past recipients of the Macdonald Holmes Medal are:
1977 Edgar Ford 2001 Robert Fagan
  James B Rowe 2003 Nick Hutchinson
1979 Donald Biddle 2005 Deirdre Dragovich
1981 John Shaw 2007 John Connell
1983 Alan Tweedie   Grant Kleeman
1985 Sr Gonzaga Stanley 2009 Susan Bliss
1987 Gilbert J Butland   Gordon Waitt
1989 Peter G Irwin 2011 Richie Howitt
  Trevor Langford-Smith 2013 Martin Pluss
1991 Malcolm Barlow 2015 Phillip O'Neill
  John S Emery 2017 Kevin Dunn
1993 John H Holmes 2019 Pauline McGuirk
1995 Bruce G Thom    
1997 Geoffrey K Connolly    
  Colin Davey    
1999 Joseph M Powell