Whitley Awards 2022: Celebrating Australasian zoological literature

October 13th, 2022

The Whitley Awards recognise the best of Australasian zoological literature. This year we are thrilled to announce that Australian Deserts: Ecology and Landscapes by Steve Morton has been awarded the prestigious Whitley Medal.
The book Australian Deserts with the Whitley Medal Winner award sticker, upon a background image of a desert landscape.

Australian Deserts is the winner of the Whitley Medal in the 2022 Royal Zoological Society of NSW Whitley Awards! (Background: Mike Gillam)


Each year, the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales presents the Whitley Awards, recognising outstanding publications that help increase our understanding of Australasian wildlife. The awards are named in tribute to Gilbert Whitley, an eminent ichthyologist and former Curator of Fishes at the Australian Museum.

We are delighted to announce that in 2022, our book Australian Deserts: Ecology and Landscapes has been awarded the prestigious Whitley Medal.

Steve Morton smiling at camera.

Steve Morton, author of Australian Deserts. (Photo: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory)

Steve Morton brings his extensive first-hand knowledge and experience of arid Australia to describe the ecology of Australian deserts and how desert-dwelling plants and animals succeed. The book is also richly illustrated with stunning photographs by Mike Gillam.

“Winning the Whitley Medal is a most satisfying confirmation that my objectives in writing the book have been achieved,” shares Steve.

“I wanted to distil the extensive body of research on Australian deserts in such a way that any interested reader could gain access to decades of scientific insights. At the same time, I wanted to celebrate the dry country, a vast region not always at the forefront of thinking in our society, and to honour its toughness and beauty in words and through Mike Gillam’s stunning photographs. I suppose I wrote the book that I wished to have access to as a young scientist, when I was starting out. So I take the award as a sign of progress towards these aims.”



We would also like to congratulate Professor Stephen Garnett, who was awarded a Special Commendation for a lifetime contribution to zoological publications.


Certificates of Commendation

In addition to the Whitley Medal, the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales also bestows a selection of Certificates of Commendation to recognise outstanding publications that profile Australasian wildlife across the broad range of titles that are nominated.

We are delighted that the following CSIRO Publishing titles were awarded Commendation Certificates in 2022:

Cover of 'The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020', featuring photos of a variety of Australian bird species.Highly Commended

The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020

Edited by Stephen Garnett and G. Barry Baker

Cover of 'Feather and Brush', featuring a painting of a Yellow Chat on an upright branch.Historical Zoology

Feather and Brush: A History of Australian Bird Art, Second Edition

Written by Penny Olsen

Cover of 'Extinct', featuring a painting of the Eungella Gastric Brooding Frog on a black background.Illustrated Zoology

Extinct: Artistic Impressions of Our Lost Wildlife

Written by Benjamin Gray

Cover of 'Photographic Field Guide to Australian Frogs', featuring photos of 4 different frog species.Zoology Field Guide

Photographic Field Guide to Australian Frogs

Written by Mark G. Sanders

Cover of 'Poo, Spew and Other Gross Things Animals Do!' featuring illustrations of a child poo detective, a vomiting owl, a whale in a poo tornado and a lizard shooting blood from its eyes at a fox.Children’s Investigative Zoology

Poo, Spew and Other Gross Things Animals Do!

Written by Nic Gill and Romane Cristecu, illustrated by Rachel Tribout

Cover of 'One Potoroo', featuring an illustration of a Gilbert's potoroo emerging from a cloth bag, surrounded by rocks and native plants.Children’s Conservation Awareness

One Potoroo: A Story of Survival

Written by Penny Jaye, illustrated by Alicia Rogerson


You can view the full list of Whitley Awards winning books on the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales website.


CSIRO Publishing would like to congratulate all our winning authors, as well as the authors and publishers of the other outstanding books recognised in the 2022 Whitley Awards.