Lord Mayor's Helen Taylor Research Award for Local History

The Lord Mayor’s Helen Taylor Research Award for Local History supports history students and independent researchers undertaking history or heritage projects which have a focus on informing or educating the public about local history or heritage.

About Helen Taylor

Helen Taylor was a historian who worked for Brisbane City Council from 1990 until 2004. She made significant contributions to the history and heritage initiatives in Brisbane. As Senior Historian in Council's Heritage Unit, she was responsible for developing studies and publications that identified and documented the city's heritage. She produced a number of social history exhibitions such as:

  • Brisbane Remembers: The Home Front 1939-1945 (1995)
  • Brisbane 100 Stories (1997)
  • Afraid of the Dark (1999)
  • The Million Pound Town Hall (2000).

As Senior Historian in Council's then Community and Lifestyle branch, Taylor initiated the Local History Grants Program and Brisbane's Living Heritage Network. Taylor was also a driving force behind the development of the Museum of Brisbane. From 2002 until her retirement in 2004, Taylor was Curator of Social History at the Museum where she was responsible for the exhibitions Bite the Blue Sky: Brisbane Beginnings (2003-04), and Brisbane At War (2004-05).

Helen Taylor passed away on 30 June 2006.

Award recipient 2018

For the 2017-18 round, Mr Matthew Wengert was awarded $21,202.50.

Matthew Wengert

Matthew Wengert is an independent curator and professional historian who has lived in Brisbane since the 1980s. Following his BA (Hons) in Media Studies at Griffith University he worked there as a researcher and tutor for close to ten years, while also researching for ABC and SBS documentaries. He attained an MA (Writing, Editing and Publishing) from University of Queensland in 2014. His main research interests are the violent history of Queensland's colonial frontier and the medical history of epidemics. He has worked closely with Cherbourg's Ration Shed Museum for several years as a curator and manager of Indigenous art projects (and he is a passionate collector of Queensland Indigenous art).

The 'City in Masks' project documents Brisbane's dramatic exposure to the world's deadliest pandemic - the 'Spanish Flu' - in 1919, for a book to be published in the outbreak's centenary anniversary. This influenza epidemic was Australia's worst natural disaster, and led to severe and widespread disruption to everyday life for the entire population. 'City in Masks' tracks the emergency as the disease moved across the city, carrying illness and death into every suburb - and bringing out surprising stories of heroism and humanity wherever it went.

Last updated:10 May 2019