Richard Broinowski wins History Victoria prize for Under the Rainbow

Former Australian diplomat, current commentator, and friend of Honest History, Richard Broinowski AO, has jointly won the Judge’s Special Prize Victorian Community History Awards 2021 of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (History Victoria) for his book Under the Rainbow: The Life and Times of E.W. Cole.

Under the Rainbow is the life story of E.W. Cole, a colourful and much loved figure of 19th century Melbourne. Best remembered for his Funny Picture Books, his sense of the absurd and his marketing genius, his wonderful arcade was the first ‘department store’ in Melbourne, replete with a live orchestra, an aviary and monkeys alongside books, ornaments, art, curios and tearooms. But there was more to Cole than his merchandising prowess: he scandalised the clergy with his sacrilegious views about Christianity, campaigned passionately against the White Australia policy, and advocated education for all. Cole’s journey from an impoverished sandwich seller on the streets of London to owner of one of the most memorable establishments of early Melbourne is remarkable. His passion for learning, insatiable curiosity, and enduring faith in the essential goodness of humanity make him a figure worth celebrating. More than 100 years after his death, Cole’s story is a timely reminder that a little bit of goodness can go a long way. (book blurb)

Well done, Richard! What fun!

A full list of winners.

5 November 2021