Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist



Judith Hopkins

Year 9, Frensham School

It is like a plague. It spreads without mercy destroying everything in its path. It leaves behind a trail of death and sadness. You want to escape it, yet you can't. You fight it, you try to fix things. But you can't. You want it to go away, to leave your home. But it doesn't.

It, is drought.

The worst thing that could possibly happen to a farmer. People like me, we dread it because we know that it won't go away. We know that it will not care how much we suffer whilst we are in its clutches. We know that we will keep seeing bare, dusty paddocks, dry creeks and carcasses of animals that did not make it. We know that we will keep on having to exhaust ourselves every day trying to keep what we have worked our whole lives for alive. We know that we will have to keep seeing the bare, dusty paddocks whilst we feed the animals that rely so heavily on us to survive. What we once loved doing can now seem like our worst nightmare, because of one word and one thing.


It will take your money, it will make you work so hard that your back aches by the end of the day, so all you want to do is sleep. But no. It makes you wake up every morning at 5am to do what? To do the same old routine that you did yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that. Day, after day, after day.

It can affect people around you. Sometimes you don't even know how badly. How badly they, their parents, their aunts, uncles, cousins and friends are hurting. It doesn't care. Doesn't care how much people hurt mentally and physically. How much it hurts to see the place that once flourished turn into a whirlwind of dust. How much it hurts to see the animals you love suffer. To see the people you love suffer.

Drought kills. Not just animals and plants, but spirits as well. This doesn't happen often but when it does it can have major consequences. The spirits of the people who used to be so bubbly and social can become so down. The people who work so hard doing what they love.

Drought affects people all over the world. Not just people in your town, in your community or in your country. People in the whole world. People are struggling everywhere, sometimes with no help at all.

We need to do something about it. We need to help them. Not just us, but people everywhere. We need to stop our world from turning into an endless stretch of bare, dusty paddocks.