Townsville student to experience ANZAC Day at Western Front in prestigious national history prize


A Pimlico State High student has been awarded one of the nation’s top history honours, being announced a winner in the 2017 Simpson Prize.

Townsville-based Government Senator Ian Macdonald congratulated Riley Smithers on the award, which was presented today by the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, Dan Tehan, at Parliament House, Canberra.

Mr. Smithers will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to the Western Front and represent Queensland at Anzac Day commemorative services in France and Belgium.

In recognition of his achievement he received a medallion and a certificate while attending a two-day educational program at national institutions in Canberra.

Senator Macdonald said Riley investigated the significance of Western Front battles in helping shape the Anzac story.

His entry demonstrated excellent research and analysis of historical sources, as well as a great deal of old fashioned hard work,” Senator Macdonald said.

This is a wonderful achievement and it’s great to see a local student recognised with this prestigious award.

Mr Smithers entry was chosen from more than 1,100 students who had submitted an essay or audio-visual presentation in the 2017 Simpson Prize.

Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, said all of the national winners and runners up had shown themselves to be excellent young historians with a detailed, well researched and sophisticated understanding of what happened on the Western Front over a hundred years ago.

“The Simpson Prize is an important way to ensure our nation’s history is recognised by current year 9 and 10 students, and future generations,” Minister Birmingham said.

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

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