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The Patricia Alonso Memorial Prize

The Patricia Alonso Memorial Prize was inaugurated in 1990 to commemorate Patricia’s contribution to map librarianship through the Australian Map Circle (AMC), now the Australian and New Zealand Map Society (ANZMapS). Formerly awarded in alternating years by the Australian Map Circle and the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia (MSIA), to the student with the best third year results in the Bachelor of Applied Science (Multimedia Cartography) degree at RMIT University (until 1992 the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), it is now awarded annually by ANZMapS to the student with the best third year results in RMIT’s Bachelor of Science (Geospatial Science) degree.

The prize consists of  a $500 award, plus one year’s membership of ANZMapS.

Patricia Alonso, the Australian Map Circle and the Patricia Alonso Memorial Prize

Patricia Alonso was the map curator of the State Library of Victoria in the early 1970s. She was instrumental in contacting Tom Knight, the Map Curator of the National Library, in 1973, to suggest he organise a meeting for map curators, in recognition of the rapid increase in the number of map collections and libraries nationwide. A two-day seminar was duly held at the National Library on 13 & 13 April 1973, with an attendance, by invitation, of about 30 people. At the meeting, the group undertook to form the Australian Map Curators’ Circle (AMCC), with Tom Knight as president. Progress was rapid. On 22 May 1973, the AMCC and the State Library of Victoria held a seminar on maps and mapkeeping, and from this beginning, annual meetings evolved into conferences. Patricia was the founding editor of the AMCC’s journal, The Globe, publishing the proceedings of the society for its first four issues: August 1974 to September 1975, and was AMCC Vice-President in 1978.

The AMCC was renamed the Australian Map Circle (AMC) in 1982, to reflect the organisation’s wider membership and interests, and in 2009 the AMC and New Zealand Map Society merged to form ANZMapS, the Australian and New Zealand Map Society.

When Patricia died in 1989, the AMC executive decided that it would be appropriate to commemorate her contribution to the AMC in the form of a prize, which was done jointly with the Australian Institute of Cartographers (now the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia) of which she was also a member.

Previous Winners

(The Prize is presented the following year, so the initial prize for 1991 was presented in 1992, etc.)

  • 1991 Michelle Stamp
  • 1992 Connie Spinoso
  • 1993 Simon Nettleton
  • 1994 Andrew Hardie
  • 1995 Kathryn Esnouf
  • 1996 Glen Newnham
  • 1997 Claudia Abrel
  • 1998 Evan Quick
  • 1999 Bronwyn Green
  • 2000 Barrett Higman
  • 2001 Emily Artack
  • 2002 Robert Koch
  • 2003 Corey Hutchison
  • 2004 Rachel Lerm and Paul van Cuylenburg
  • 2005 Caroline Farr
  • 2006 Emily Maffei
  • 2007 Monique Elsley
  • 2008 Kathryn Germain
  • 2009 Richard Syme
  • 2010 Jason Sankovic
  • 2011 Blake Harrison
  • 2012 Danesh Prakesh Chacko
  • 2013 Laura Jelfs
  • 2014 Claire Knauth
  • 2015 Daniel Guglielmo
  • 2016 Tim Pearce
  • 2017 James Embury
  • 2018 Jake Allen

Who was Patricia Alonso?

Patricia Ann Greechie was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1945, and graduate from Girls’ Latin School in that city in early 1963. She completed a BA in German and Geography at Barnard College (1963-67), a women’s liberal arts college, in Manhattan, New York, during which time she married Cuban-born José Alonso, a chemical engineering student. She then enrolled at Columbia University’s School of Library Service, next door to Barnard, gaining a MS in early 1969. As part of her studies she worked as the assistant to the Map Curator at the American Geographical Society’s library 1967-68.

The Alonsos then moved to Australia, where José took up a teaching position in Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. Patricia found work initially at the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne, where she was Acting Map Curator in 1970. She then became Map Curator at the State Library of Victoria until 1974, after which was Map Curator for the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Environmental Studies. She then enrolled in a PhD at the University of Melbourne, completing her thesis, “Environmentalism and Land-Use Planning,” in 1986. While studying she was also teaching on a sessional basis at RMIT from the mid-1970s to the early 80s, lecturing in such subjects as Cartographic Theory, and Map Collection Management and Access, which formed a part of the Diploma of Applied Science in Cartography. From 1979-84 she was also a Lecturer in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Melbourne and no doubt assisted with their map collection. She and José divorced in the mid-1980s. Her final position was Manager of Cartographic Services in the Victorian Ministry of Planning and Environment. She resigned this position in 1987 after the diagnosis of a brain tumour, which she fought for 18 months, succumbing on 10 March 1989, aged only in her mid-40s.

She is survived by her son Ken.

Patricia was an Associate member of the Library Association of Australia (ALAA), Member of the Australian Institute of Cartographers (MAIC, now the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia (MSIA)) and of AURISA (Australian Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, now part of the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI)). She was also a member of the Society of Indexers in Australia (after 1976, the Australian Society of Indexers).

Her publications include:

(1970), “Computer Terminology for the Uninitiated”, Australian Library Journal, 19(1):7-12. With J.R.F Alonso.

(1972), “Feasibility Study on Computer-produced map catalogue”, Australian Library Journal, 21(6):245-252.

(1973) Map collections in public libraries: starting, building, maintaining them, Technical Bulletin no 73/1, Library Council of Victoria, Public Libraries Division, Melbourne.

(1973), “State library map collections”, Proceedings of the Map Keepers’ Seminar and Workshop held at the National Library of Australia, 12th and 13th April, 1973, Elizabeth Ellis (ed.), National Library of Australia, Canberra, pp.24-25.

(1973), “Map storage and conservation”, Proceedings of the Map Keepers’ Seminar and Workshop held at the National Library of Australia 12th and 13th April, 1973, Elizabeth Ellis (ed.), National Library of Australia, Canberra, pp.9-12.

(1974), Directory of map collections in Australia, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. With N.M. Rauchle.

(1974), “Map Collections in Australia”, Australian Library Journal, 23(9):316-320. With N.M. Rauchle.

(1974), “Map collections, map curators and mapkeeping”, Globe, 1:10-11.

(1975), Information needs and use study, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Town and Regional Planning, University of Melbourne. 2 vols: Technical Report and General Report.

(1975), “Distribution of maps and catalogues by state map producers”, Proceedings of the Australian Map Curators’ Circle Seminar and Workshop held at the Department of Geography, University of Sydney, 27-28 February 1974, Alan Bartlett & Tom Knight (eds.), National Library of Australia, Canberra, pp.43-44

(1975), “Education for map librarianship and cartography in Australia”, Proceedings of the Australian Map Curators’ Circle Seminar and Workshop held at the Department of Geography, University of Sydney, 27-28 February 1974, Alan Bartlett & Tom Knight (eds.), National Library of Australia, Canberra, pp.18-22.

(1975), “Maps and Australian Libraries”, Australian Library Journal, 24(3):90-93.

(1975), “Notes on map reference work”, Globe, 2:11-12.

(1975), “AMCC seminar and workshop 1975,” report of the convenor”, Globe, 3:33.

(1975), “Australian Map Curators’ Circle submission to the Committee of Inquiry into Public Libraries”, Globe, 3:16-23.

(c. 1976), Information provision and material control for town planning at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Central Library, RMIT, Melbourne.

(1976), Directory of academic staff: with index to topics of professional concern and a list of specific material held by staff (2nd ed), compiled for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Town and Regional Planning, University of Melbourne.

(1976), Comments on the specification of building locations for the historic buildings inventory: a working paper, prepared for National Estate Project 140, Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Melbourne.

(1976), Guide to planning information sources, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne.

(1976), Map information for the national inventory of historic buildings, Urban conservation working papers no. 11, Urban Conservation Projects, Melbourne.

(1977), Directory of map collections in Australia (2nd ed.), National Library of Australia, Canberra, with N.M. Rauchle.

(1977), “Deweying Maps”, Australian Library Journal, 26(3):47-52. With D. F. Prescott.

(1978), Victorian planners catalogue of maps and map sources, Research paper no. 38, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Town and Regional Planning, University of Melbourne.1z0-042

(1978), “Victorian map users conference report,” Globe, 10:1-2.

(1979), “Australian Cartographic bibliography (ACB)”, Cartography, 11(2):108-112.

Her indexing work included:

(1982), Duncan, J.S. (ed.), Atlas of Victoria, Victorian Government Printing Office, Melbourne.