What Matters? 2015


The Whitlam Institute celebrated the biggest ever What Matters? Competition with a star-studded celebration on September 9 for the 13 finalists from NSW, the ACT and Tasmania. Over 3500 entries were received from over 260 schools, making it a very special achievement to be selected as a competition finalist.

2015 Finalists 

The Overall Competition Winner was announced at the ceremony, and is our youngest ever winner! Congratulations to Amelie Brown from Sutherland Public School for her entry, 'Ben Matters'!

Overall Winner Amelie Brown

Our finalists have written with passion and conviction on themes as diverse as the importance of physics to understandings of our world, the mistreatment of our elderly, and very timely pieces of writing on the plight of refugees and the treatment of the 'Bali nine'. We hope you enjoy reading their entries as much as we have.


Year 5/6 Category Winner & Overall Competition Winner

Amelie Brown Overall Competition Winner 2015

2015 NSW/ACT finalists

Madeleine Sylvester Year 5/6 Runner-Up 2015 

Felicity Charls Year 7/8 Winner 2015 

Stephanie Anderson Year 7/8 Runner-Up 2015 

Jacob Rohald Year 9/10 Winner 2015

Alice Moore Year 9/10 Runner-Up 

Vyshnavi Srinivasa Year 11/12 Winner 2015 

Olivia Hill Year 11/12 Winner 2015 

2015 Tasmanian finalists

Cadi Pritchard Year 5/6 TAS Winner 2015 

Ebony Goss Year 7/8 TAS Winner 

Riley Mattews Year 9/10 TAS Joint Winner Stefanie Brown Year 9/10 TAS Joint Winner 2015 

Belinda Parry Year 11/12 TAS Winner 2015 


The What Matters? Competition is run annually by the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University. The 2016 competition will open for students in NSW, the ACT and Tasmania in Term 1.

Certificates of participation for all students that entered the competition were posted to schools during Term 3.      


Student Prizes

Prizes were awarded in 4 categories: Years 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12.

  • $350 for each category winner and $200 for each category runner-up. Winners and runners-up received their prize at an awards ceremony, following their participation in a Young Writers Forum run by The Writing Workshop, at the Whitlam Institute.
  • The Years 5/6 and 7/8 category winners and runners up received a full-day creative writing workshop donated by The Writing Workshop, conducted by award-winning author Bernard Cohen.
  • The Year 9/10 category winner will be invited to spend a day at ReachOut.com, meeting the team and receiving professional training. They will also be offered the opportunity to be paid $200 to produce a feature article for the ReachOut.com website.
  • The Year 11/12 category winner will receive a 1 Year Membership to the NSW Writers' Centre and the opportunity to participate in a one-day writing workshop* donated by the NSW Writers' Centre.

Overall Competition Winner
The overall competition winner, announced at the awards ceremony, received an iPad and a trophy. The overall competition winner was selected from finalists in NSW, ACT and What Matters? Tasmania.

*To participate in a NSW Writers' Centre workshop you must be over the age of 16. Participants under the age of 18 must have their participation approved in advance. The NSW Writers' Centre cannot guarantee that all workshops will be available.   

The 2015 What Matters? competition is proudly supported by the Museum of Australian Democracy, the NSW Writers' Centre, The Writing Workshop and ReachOut.com.

What Matters? 2015 Supporter Logos

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