National History Challenge Australia's Wartime Experiences category

  • Would you like to know more about history?
  • Do you like researching history?
  • Are you interested in Australia's wartime history?

Then this is the competition for you!

Promote the competition at school with the National History Challenge poster (PDF 1.9MB).

How to enter

The National History Challenge is open to primary and secondary school students across Australia. It is an opportunity for students to research and explore history in their own ways.

This year's theme – 'Crisis and response' – lets you explore a topic that interests you.

You can enter the competition with a research essay, a 3D model or an audio-visual presentation. You might have another idea that will impress the judges.

Entries close on Friday 23 August 2024.

Visit the National History Challenge website to find out how to enter.

Tips for a strong entry

The judges are looking for entries that:

  • focus on the theme 'Crisis and response'
  • show great research
  • use primary and secondary sources.

Make sure you read the selection criteria carefully.

Australia's wartime experiences

We proudly sponsor this special category.

To enter this category, you must show evidence of using the Anzac Portal for your research.

We look for entries that new and creative views of 'crisis and response' relating to Australia's wartime experiences.

A group of 5 standing men and 3 crouching in front. All men except 2 are First Nation Australians.

Informal group portrait of members of the 2/18th Australian Field Workshop, Tennant Creek, Australia, 1942. AWM P00898.001

Ideas for your research

You might already have some great ideas, but here are some suggestions that may interest you:

Need more help with your research? The Anzac Portal has you covered. Use our content to your best advantage in your entry!

A line of women holding booklets behind wooden trestle tables. Recruitment posters on the wall behind them.

A group of new recruits for the WAAAF with their enlistment papers, at No. 1 Recruit Centre, RAAF, Melbourne, c 1942. AWM VIC0498

Previous winners

Have a look at previous winning entries in 'Australia's Wartime Experiences' special category.


Name: Micah Andrews

School: Emmanuel Christian School

Entry summary: Micah's entry was a video examining the work of his great-great-uncle Cyril Emerson Hughes. Cyril was part of the Australian contingent at Gallipoli in 1915. He had been assigned to the Australian Light Horse unit. The Light Horse were part of the attack on The Nek during the Gallipoli Campaign. Cyril was hospitalised due to disease and was away from active service for some time. He returned to Gallipoli on the day before Armistice Day in 1918. He took it upon himself to make sure that his fallen comrades were buried with respect and dignity. Micah's video is a compelling investigation of how Cyril's efforts led to the proper internment of the remains of hundreds of Australian soldiers.


Name: Angus Ellerman

School: Brisbane Grammar School

Entry summary: Angus presented a discussion of Australia's involvement in the Second World War through the lens of foreign policy. He investigated changes in Australia's military and diplomatic relations with an emphasis upon the war in the Pacific theatre of operations. Angus also considered how those changes influenced Australian foreign policy during and after the war.

Link to entry: Angus Ellerman Wartime Experiences (PDF 227KB)


Name: Isaac Robinson

School: Brisbane Grammar School

Entry summary: Isaac's entry was an effective examination of how Australia's relationship with Britain changed after the Fall of Singapore in 1942. He discussed the consequences of the Japanese conquest of Singapore and how Australia increasingly looked to America for support and protection as the Second World War unfolded. Isaac's entry also considered how Australia's relationship with America also influenced post-war regional strategies.


Name: Charles Merrifield

School: Denmark Senior High School

Entry summary: Charles presented a compelling investigation of the execution of Breaker Morant during the Boer War of 1899 – 1902. Morant's trial and execution has been a topic of discussion for historians for many years. Charles looked at the evidence for and against the trial and judgement. His entry was a sophisticated interpretation of the 2020 NHC theme of 'Contested Histories'.

Link to entry: Wartime C. Merrifield 2020 (PDF 537KB)


Names: Tom McCarthy-James, Rohin Bagga, Patrick Moore and Vijay Hari Kannan

School: Brisbane Grammar School

Summary: The entry from Tom, Rohin, Patrick and Vijay was a video featuring the students as expert historians in a 'TV discussion panel' format. The 'panel' set about examining the evolution of the Second World War in South-East Asia. Aspects such as Japanese expansionism, the Fall of Singapore and Australia's shift to America for support are examined in the video. The students provided a range of perspectives as they responded to the 2019 NHC theme of 'People and Power'.


Name: Hilary Andrews

School: St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls

Summary: Hilary applied the 2018 NHC theme of 'Turning Points' to an entry examining the Battle of Balmoral during the Vietnam War. The battle took place in 1968 at Fire Support Base (FSB) Balmoral, north of Bien Hoa in South Vietnam. Hilary used the experience of Brian Cleaver during the battle as the framework for her entry. Brian was an Australian national serviceman who served in Vietnam. He was at FSB Balmoral in May 1968 when Viet Cong forces twice attacked the base. Brian's story of defending the base, surviving both attacks and being wounded is presented in Hilary's entry. She looked at his story from the perspective of the 'Turning Points' theme. Hilary used historical information and interview content to investigate how Brian's life changed as a result of being at FSB Balmoral that year.

Link to entry: Brian Cleaver in Vietnam

Last updated:

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) ( ), National History Challenge Australia's Wartime Experiences category, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 20 June 2024,
Was this page helpful?
We can't respond to comments or queries via this form. Please contact us with your query instead.