The task

Complete an individual research essay exploring a historic moment when an Australian prime minister triumphed over adversity. Focus on one key event or issue and include evidence from a primary document. You must use at least one primary document such as a speech or letter to support your essay. You can choose up to five images to support your essay. Images must be captioned with the title, year and source (if available).

The Museum of Australian Democracy website has many resources which may help you to select and research a topic. For further assistance locating suitable primary and secondary sources, please contact the Museum of Australian Democracy’s Australian Prime Ministers Centre reference desk.

Information about word length, presentation, referencing and registration is available from the National History Challenge website.

All entries should consider:


  • What issue/event will your essay focus on?
  • Who was involved?
  • Where and when did it happen?


  • What was the significance of the event?
  • What does it tell us about the job of being prime minister?
  • What does it tell us about the personality of this prime minister?
  • How did the event/issue impact on Australia?
  • How did the prime minister triumph over adversity?


  • What happened before the event/issue?
  • How did people in Australia and the world react at the time?
  • What were the outcomes or implications for Australia and the world?
  • Are there links to contemporary issues?

Primary documents

  • Use at least one primary document in your research.
  • Clearly describe the document.
  • What is it?
  • Where is it from?
  • How is it relevant to the issue/prime minister?
  • Does the document tell the whole story or is it biased?
  • Use the document along with secondary sources to give evidence supporting your essay.

The Museum of Australian Democracy’s Australian Prime Ministers Centre sponsored this category in the 2009 National History Challenge. Find out more about the latest National History Challenge.

The National History Challenge is a research-based competition for students. More information is available on the National History Challenge site.