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 2022 Macdonald Holmes Medal recipients are Dr Susan Caldis and Mrs Lorraine Chaffer.

Dr Susan Caldis and Mrs Lorraine Chaffer have made outstanding contributions to geographical research and education in Australia and internationally. The below was written by the 2022 Macdonald Holmes Committee and details their outstanding contribution.

"Both Mrs Chaffer and Dr Caldis have made outstanding contributions of deep and lasting significance to geographical education in NSW over these difficult years. These contributions are built on their valuable contributions over much longer periods.
Mrs Chaffer’s work in ensuring accessible resources, ongoing conference and workshop opportunities and continuity of networking support for teachers and their students during the pandemic was seen as exceptional by the Committee. The importance of her contribution spoke strongly to the shared values and goals of the GTA and the NSW Geographical Society.
Dr Caldis is at an important pivot point of her career in moving from classroom-focused practice to the academic arena, where her impact is already impressive and important in shaping a pedagogically sophisticated practice that bridges the remit of the two societies. In her impressive leadership on issues of climate, justice, and learning, and as STEM ambassador for Geography, Dr Caldis exemplifies the ongoing importance of geographical education to students at all levels and to the next generation of Geography teachers."
 Lorraine 2Susan Caldis
 Image: Lorraine Chaffer                                                                                                                                                Image: Dr Susan Caldis


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 2022

Dr Susan Caldis

Mrs Lorraine Chaffer

1997 Geoffrey K Connolly    
  Colin Davey    
1999 Joseph M Powell