Simpson Prize Winner Experiences Moving ANZAC Service in Belgium

26 Apr 2019


Roseville College Year 11 student, Mari Watkins, marked ANZAC Day at Polygon Wood in Belgium, as the 2019 NSW Winner of Australia’s prestigious Simpson Prize.

As the nation paused to honour self-sacrifice and the enduring ANZAC spirit across the nation at ANZAC services yesterday, Mari and two fellow award winners laid a wreath at the dawn service at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Mari is currently travelling in Europe visiting places of wartime significance in London, France (including the battlefields of Northern France on Somme) and Belgium (including the battlefields of Flanders), as part of her prize, which also provided Mari with an opportunity to participate in ANZAC Day commemorations abroad.

The Simpson Prize competition for Year 9 and 10 students (in the year of entry) encourages young Australians to explore the significance and importance of the ANZAC experience, and what it meant for – and means to Australia. From more than 1,200 high calibre entries, eight winners were chosen, representing each state and territory.

Mari received her award from the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson AO at the Simpson Prize Competition awards at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra on Monday 18 March – a four month wait after submitting her manuscripts in November last year.

She was also congratulated by Member for Bradfield, Paul Fletcher, who acknowledged the importance of each generation of Australians reflecting on our country’s wartime experiences