What Matters? 2016 NSW/ACT

Congratulations to all students who participated in the biggest ever What Matters? competition. We received a remarkable 3870 entries from students in NSW the ACT and Tasmania! We are so excited for next year!

What Matters? 2016 Year 7/8 winner and overall winner

The What Matters? 2016 Overall Competition Winner was announced at the awards ceremony, held on 2 August 2016. Congratulations to Saakshi Koul from Ryde Secondary College for her essay, We Matter.

What Matters? 2016 finalists The What Matters? 2016 finalists with Professor Barney Glover, Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor, Hugh Mackay AO, What Matters? Patron and Professor Peter Shergold AC, Western Sydney University Chancellor.


We have now announced all of our winners and runners up, and we're pleased to share their entries with you. They'll soon be published in a booklet with lots of pictures from the Award Ceremony, but if you just can't wait you can check them out here!


Year7/8 Category Winner & Overall Competition Winner

  Year 7/8 Winner and Overall Competition Winner Saakshi Koul, We Matter, Ryde Secondary College 

NSW/ACT Competition Finalists

  Year 5/6 Winner Darshanik Aryal, Harmony Matters, Ironbark Ridge Public School

  Year 5/6 Runner Up Miriam Warwick-Smith, Relationships Matter, St Aidan's Primary, Rooty Hill

Year 7/8 Runner Up Imogen Rogers, Music Matters, Penrith Christian School 

Year 9/10 Winner Ramneek Thind, 21st Century Slavery, Blacktown Girls High School 

Year 9/10 Runner Up Kirti Sharma, Human Trafficking – A crime against humanity, William Carey Christian School 

Year 11/12 Winner Madeleine Mott, We Matter, Holy Spirit College, Bellambi 

Year 11/12 Runner Up Nicholas Raphael, Character Matters, William Clarke College 

Tasmania Competition Finalists

Year 5/6 Winner Pearl Parker, Growing up without knowing my birth parents, Campbell Street Primary School 

Year 5/6 Runner Up Amelia Fahey-Hankey, Waiting for the Sunrise, South Hobart Primary School 

Year 7/8 Winner Jaimee Narracott, Somewhere in the world, Huonvile High School 

  Year 7/8 Runner Up Airlee Lawson, The story of one, Huonville High School

  Year 9/10 Winner Jem Nalder, It's not just a game, Taroona High School

  Year 9/10 Runner Up Stacey Fox, What Matters, Huonville High School

  Year 11/12 Winner Chloe Last, You're not alone, Hellyer College


View our 2016 Shortlisted entrants - the top 30 for each age category:

What Matters 2016 Shortlist


A Certificate of Participation has been sent to all students who participated in the What Matters? 2016 writing competition. If you haven't received your certificate please check with your teacher.

The What Matters? Competition is run annually by the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University. The 2017 competition will open for students in NSW, the ACT and Tasmania in Term 1.

Student Prizes

Prizes are 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 will receive 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 will each receive 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, will receive an iPad and a trophy. The overall competition winner will be 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 2016 What Matters? competition is proudly supported by the Museum of Australian Democracy, the NSW Writers' Centre, The Writing Workshop and ReachOut.com.

What Matters? 2016 Presenter and Supporter Logos

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