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 www.simpsonprize.org