An outstanding essay about Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira has delivered New South Wales student Rachel Wang the prestigious 2016 National Young Historian of the Year Award.

Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, presented the Year 9 MLC School, Burwood student with $1000 and a plaque at the National History Challenge awards ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra today.

“Rachel’s description of Namatjira as the ‘first bridge between two vastly different cultures’ is fitting and serves as a lesson to us all about the importance of mutual understanding and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Minister Birmingham said. 

Minister Birmingham congratulated all 19 student winners on their high quality essays, displays and presentations.

“I was particularly impressed with the quality of work across a wide range of topics in the winning entries, all related to the competition’s theme Triumph or Tragedy?,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“The topics covered included Indigenous rights and equality, historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Antarctic exploration, migration, economic reform in Australia and both World Wars.”

Minister Birmingham said the quality of the work undertaken across such a wide range of topics was testament to the students’ historical curiosity and strong research skills.

“The Turnbull Government is proud to support these awards, providing $120,000 this year to competition organisers, the History Teachers’ Association of Australia,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“The theme for next year’s challenge is Making a Better World and I look forward to reading entries from the next cohort of young historians.

“The Turnbull Government’s support for the National History Awards is in addition to our record levels of funding for schools which will grow from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020 that we will use to target evidence-based reforms that boost student outcomes.”

For more information and a full list of winners visit: