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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - The Hon Dan Tehan MP

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

Senator The Hon Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training

21 March 2017

Students investigate Australia’s history

Eight students from across Australia have earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Anzac Day commemorative services in France and Belgium after being awarded the prestigious Simpson Prize.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today presented awards to the winners and runners-up at Parliament House in Canberra.

“As a nation we honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who serve in defence of our nation and the Simpson Prize is a valuable opportunity for young Australians to learn about our history and reflect on how these events have shaped our country,” Minister Tehan said.

“This year, students were asked to look beyond Gallipoli and consider the significance of the Western Front battles in helping to shape the Anzac story.

“Australians on the Western Front were involved in some of the bloodiest confrontations in our history while enduring terrible conditions and it was in this environment that countless stories of bravery, mateship and sacrifice emerged.

“The students who entered the Simpson Prize have gained a better understanding of the Anzac tradition and its importance to our national identity.”

The eight winning students (one from each state and territory) will attend Anzac commemorations on the Western Front in France and Belgium in April.

Winners and runners-up also received a medallion and a certificate to acknowledge their achievement and are attending a two-day educational program at national institutions in Canberra.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said more than 1,100 students had submitted an essay or an audio-visual presentation in the 2017 Simpson Prize.

“The Simpson Prize is an important way to ensure Australia’s history is recognised by this and future generations of students,” Minister Birmingham said.

“That’s why the Turnbull Government has committed $606,000 over three years to the History Teachers’ Association of Australia to manage the Simpson Prize.

“All of today’s winners have shown themselves to be excellent young historians with a detailed, well researched and sophisticated understanding of what happened on the Western Front just over a hundred years ago.”

More information about the awards, including a list of winners, runners-up and accompanying teacher chaperones can be found at The Simpson Prize

Minister Tehan’s media contact: Byron Vale 0428 262 894
Minister Birmingham’s media contact: James Murphy 0478 333 974 Nick Creevey 0447 644 957
Department Media:

Winning Entries 2017
Winner School State
Lucinda Hogan Loreto Kirribilli New South Wales
Riley Smithers Pimlico State High School Queensland
Charlotte Matthias Loreto College South Australia
Sasha Massey St Patrick's College Tasmania
Katia Testarotta Camberwell Girls Grammar School Victoria
Jae Fapani Brieffies Willeton Senior High School Western Australia
Finlay Dale Palmerston Senior College Northern Territory
Elizabeth Spollard Burgman Anglican School ACT
Runner-up Entries 2017
Winner School State
Kefah Farache Asquith Boys High School New South Wales
Rachel Leeson St Monica’s College Queensland
Hillary Thursby St Mary’s College South Australia
Madeleine Pearn St Patrick's College Tasmania
Sabrina Tse Camberwell Girls Grammar School Victoria
Char Min Ng Willeton Senior High School Western Australia
Lachlan Anderson Darwin Middle School Northern Territory
Samuel Melhuish Marist College Canberra ACT

Teacher Chaperones

Mr Owen Laffin (NSW) Norwest Christian College
Ms Emilie Reynolds (WA) Holy Cross College

For further information contact the History Teachers Association of Victoria 03 9417 3422

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.