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 2019 MacDonald Holmes Award should be emailed by COB Friday, 26 July 2019 to: 

Executive Officer, Bronwyn Bate:



The 2017 recipient of the medal is Professor Kevin Dunn, Western Sydney University.

Kevin DunnThe below is the speech written by Professor Phil McManus at the Awards Night, 4th December 2017, Club Burwood RSL.

Professor Kevin Dunn is a stalwart of geographical education in Australia. He has taught, and governed, geography at a tertiary level for 19 years, across three New South Wales institutions. Kevin has contributed to geographical bodies overseeing the education of students at all levels. He has also contributed to the development of geography curriculums in New South Wales and Australia. Kevin is an international leader in research and advocacy for racism and anti-racism. He has produced at least 65 refereed journal articles; 32 chapters in books and 6 books / edited collections. Kevin’s publications have had high impact, and he has written a variety of highly acclaimed geographical teaching resources.  His work is disseminated frequently in national and international media. 

Kevin was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Wollongong (majoring in Geography and Sociology) and a PhD at the University of Newcastle (Geography). He worked as a Lecturer, Department of Geography, The University of Newcastle from mid-1993 to mid-1995, before moving to what is now the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES) at UNSW, where he rose from Lecturer to Associate Professor before moving to the then University of Western Sydney.  Kevin is a Professor in Human Geography and Urban Studies (2008-) at the now Western Sydney University, and since 2011 the Dean of School of Social Sciences & Psychology.  Since 2015 he has been the Provost of the Penrith Campus.

Among his many contributions to geographical education, Kevin was a Writer of the Australian Curriculum: Geography (2011), a Discipline Expert on the Discipline Reference Group - Geography, Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Project (2009-10) and the Academic Geography representative, Board of Studies NSW Geography Reference Group to advise on the New South Wales response to the Draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography, August 2010. He also co-authored a Human Geography text awarded first prize in the tertiary category for wholly Australian texts (the Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing, 2000).  He has produced other important teaching resource publications, and has been very influential in founding a new Geography and Urban Studies unit at Western Sydney University (2008).

Professor Dunn has been a long-term member of the GSNSW, holding numerous important positions including President (2008-2011), Vice-President on two separate occasions, Secretary from 1996-2000 and he has been a Councillor since 1995.  

His contribution to geographical education in Australia is both broad and deep, and in a word, is profound.  It is with pleasure and gratitude that the Geography Teachers Association of NSW and the Geographical Society of NSW recognise and honour Professor Kevin Dunn by awarding him the 2017 MacDonald Holmes Medal.

Past recipients of the Macdonald Holmes Medal are:

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