Essay Competitions Australia 2012

John Ralph Essay Competition

John Ralph was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Farm Institute, becoming its founding Chairman in 2004 and continuing in that role until his retirement in June, 2010.

John has been CEO of CRA (now Rio Tinto Ltd), former Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, former Deputy Chairman of Telstra Corporation and previous Chairman of Business Council of Australia and Australian Mining Council.

His outstanding contribution to the country was recognised in 2000 when he was appointed to Australia’s highest civilian honour, a Companion in the Order of Australia, having been made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1988.

Involved in farm enterprises in southern NSW, John Ralph argued strongly for comprehensive and objective research as the basis for sound policy decision-making, particularly for the agriculture sector.

In 2010, the Australian Farm Institute created the John Ralph Essay Competition to acknowledge John's ongoing support for sound research and debate in agricultural economics and policies.

The John Ralph Essay competition aims to engage the community in informed debate about policy issues impacting on the Australian farm sector.

Previous winners

2016    Open: Dean Ansell, Novice: Brendan O’Keeffe

2015    Open: Tim Byrne, Novice: Alexandra Grigg

2014    Open: David Thompson

2013    Open: Matthew Cawood, Student: Lauren (Xi) Yu

2012    Open: Geoff Ball, Student: Edward Perrett

2011    Student: Nicolette Cameron

2010    Open: Daniel Gibbons

ASCS Prizes and Awards


Greek and Latin Unseen Translation Competition

This annual Competition was introduced in 2007. It is open to second and third year undergraduate students in Australian and New Zealand universities. It involves a 45-minute unseen test in either the first or the second week of October. Entries are to be made by academic staff teaching relevant Greek and Latin classes. There is a prize of AUD$250 for the best entry in each language.

2017 Competition:

Competition rules and procedures 2017

Coordinator: Amelia Brown (Queensland)
Judges: Jane Bellemore (Newcastle) and John Davidson (VUW)

Winner: Declan Noble (Sydney)
Honourable mentions: Clare Pryor (Sydney); Liam Maldoni (ANU)

Winner:  Liam Maldoni (ANU)
Honorable mentions: Patrick Henning (Melbourne); Emily Kerrison (Sydney)

2016 Competition:

Winner: Grant Kynaston (Sydney)
Honourable mentions: Ruth Burden (ANU); Joseph James Parkinson (Sydney), Patrick Henning (Melbourne)

Winner: Grant Kynaston (Sydney)
Honourable mentions: Timothy Young (Sydney) Emma Steffensen (ANU), Octavian Catrinei (Melbourne); Timothy Waugh (Melbourne)

The coordinator of the 2016 competition was Amelia Brown; judges were John Davidson (VUW) and Jane Bellemore (UON).

Competition report

2015 Competition

Winner: Patrick Henning (University of Melbourne)
Honourable mentions: Katie Logan (University of Auckland); Lucie Smith, (University of Auckland)

Winner: Tom Hardman (University of Melbourne)
Honourable mentions: Octavian Catrinei (University of Melbourne)
Grant Kynaston (University of Sydney)

Competition report

Past competitions:

Past passages:
2016 Greek | 2016 Latin
2015 Greek | 2015 Latin
2014 Greek | 2014 Latin
2013 Greek | 2013 Latin
2012 Greek | 2012 Latin
2011 Greek | 2011 Latin
2010 Greek | 2010 Latin
2009 Greek | 2009 Latin

Past prize winners

Reports: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2007–2012


Douglas Kelly Australian Essay Competition

(Formerly the ASCS Australian Essay Competition)

This annual Competition, which has been running since 1990, is open to undergraduate students in Australian universities. The essay submitted may be a revised version of an essay, tutorial paper or seminar paper by a student enrolled in a first, second or third year course. The essay may be on any aspect of Classical Studies (that is, the languages, history, thought and archaeology of the Ancient World). The length should be between 2000 and 3000 words, and the entry should be submitted through the ASCS Representative in each Australian university. The closing date for entries is usually towards the end of November each year. The first prize is currently $500, and there are up to two prizes of $100 each for “runner-up” entries. In 2015 the competition was renamed in honour of longtime ASCS member Douglas Kelly.

A named prize should encourage curiosity about the person whose name it bears. Douglas Kelly (24 April 1941 – 15 December 2015) was a notable scholar in Classics and Ancient History who served both the discipline and the Society over many years with surpassing generosity of time and professional expertise (indeed he was elected ASCS President from 1993 – 1998). He studied first in New Zealand before going on to Cambridge (PhD 1975 on ‘Sources and interpretations of Spartan history in the reigns of Agesilaus II, Archidamus III, and Agis III’), and then took up university positions in Australia, first in Sydney at Macquarie University and subsequently in Canberra at the Australian National University. He was renowned as an inspirational teacher and supervisor, who dedicated innumerable hours to supporting students fortunate enough to work with him: his dedicated attention to detail was the stuff of legend, his breadth of knowledge acknowledged by all. He inspired respect and affection in equal proportion within the Australasian community of Classicists and Ancient Historians. It is hoped that the title of the ASCS Douglas Kelly Australian Essay Prize will encourage the winners from year to year to enquire further about the ‘eponymous hero’ and to discover his record of accomplishments that is so highly regarded by those who knew him. 

2017 Competition:

1. Samuel Wessels (Macquarie): “ΜΙΣΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ: Timon of Athens and the Evolution of the Misanthropic Tradition”
2. Janek Drevikovsky (Sydney): “Eloquar an sileam? The Characterisation of Aeneas in Aeneid III”

Coordinator: Peter Davis (Adelaide)
Judges: Graeme Miles (Tasmania) and Michael Champion (Australian Catholic University)

Competition Guidelines and Rules
Cover sheet for entries

2016 Competition:


1. Konstantine Panegyres (Melbourne), “Like a Snowy Mountain”: Iliad 13.754-755 Reconsidered’.
2. Aileen Westbrook (Macquarie) ‘The Handprints of Herodotus’
3. Rodney Harvey (ANU) ‘Childhood in Roman Greece: the Story of Daphnis and Chloe’

Coordinator: Peter Davis (Adelaide)
Judges: Graeme Miles (UTas) and Michael Champion (ACU)

Competition report 2016

Past competitions:


John Barsby New Zealand Essay Competition

This annual Competition was initiated by the Classical Association of Otago in 2002 and named in honour of John Barsby, the Professor (now retired) of Classics at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. In 2009 ASCS assumed responsibility for the funding of the prizes, which currently are NZ$350 for first place and NZ$100 for second place.

Competition notice 2017

2017 Competition:

1. Kiri Lenagh-Glue (Otago): “How did the Constitutio Antoniniana and Caracalla’s military policy affect the Roman Empire?”
2. Nicholas Ringwood (Auckland): “Herakles’ bow and the evocation of Pity in Sophocles' Philoctetes

Coordinator:  Patrick O'Sullivan (Canterbury)
Judges: Arlene Allan (Otago) and Mark Masterson (VUW)

2016 Competition:

1. Roswyn Wiltshire (Canterbury) ‘The Value of Ancient Literary Sources for Understanding Greek Art.’
2. Lilly MacDonnell (Auckland) ‘The Function of Aphrodite in the Iliad.’

Coordinator: Arlene Allan (Otago)
Judges: Enrica Sciarrino (Canterbury), Jonathan Tracy (Massey) and Mark Masterson (VUW)


Past winners


OPTIMA (“Outstanding Postgraduate Talk In a Meeting of ASCS”)

This annual Award, introduced at ASCS 31 (2010) in Perth, is aimed at rewarding the outstanding postgraduate presentation at the ASCS annual conference. First prize for the Award is AUD$500, with up to two runner-up prizes of AUD$100 each.

Postgraduate students planning to enter the OPTIMA prize should note the following:

  • The written version of the presentation you submit is important because first impressions are formed by it – and these impressions count a lot in the initial judgment of the committee. The written version also allows for a far less subjective judgement as all the judges read the written versions but they cannot all hear the oral presentation.
  • There is no ‘marking schedule’ and no “points-weighting” applied to any specific aspect of the paper, whether it is the written paper or the oral presentation or question-time.
  • The combination of written and oral presentation are judged inclusively. A good written version of the paper and then a good presentation (and question session) will go a long way towards success.
  • Given the strength of the competition, being good in only one area (written/oral/question-time) is unlikely to win the competition.

2018 Competition

2018 entry form
Competition rules and procedures

Coordinator: Matthew Trundle (Auckland)
Judges: Matthew Trundle (Auckland), Lea Benness (Macquarie) and Roger Pitcher (Sydney)

Winner: Daniel Hanigan (Sydney): ‘Nomina Sacra? Etymology and “Negative Theology” in Clement of Alexandria’s Protrepticus’

Runners up:
Kylie Constantine (UNE): ‘I Sing in Change: The reception of Philomela’s voice in Milton Babbitt’s 1964 cantata, Philomel
Kristen Mann (Sydney): ‘Behavioural Archaeology and the Greek Oikos: Understanding the Material Household in Geometric Greece’

2017 Competition

Coordinator: Matthew Trundle (Auckland)
Judges: Lea Beness (Macquarie); Gwyneth Macintyre (Otago); Roger Pitcher (Sydney)

Overall winner:
Bill Richardson (Otago): 'The Rule of Two: Hegemon, Strategos, and Philip’s League of Corinth.'

Runners up:
Marc Bonaventura (Melbourne): ‘Athenian Ambivalence towards Foreigners: Trojans and Thracians in Euripides’ Hecuba.’
Alex Macdonald (Macquarie): ‘Covenant & Contradiction: Mark 12, Hebrews 11, & Jewish Resurrection.’

Previous winners


Early Career Award

This annual Award, introduced in 2005, is intended to offer acknowledgement and some financial support to those who are “early career” scholars, and to assist them in the development of an academic career. The Award is currently worth AUD$3000. Applications are open to those who have completed a doctorate by research in the last five years at an Australian or New Zealand university, and who do not hold a full-time teaching or research position at a university or tertiary institution or who are in a full-time but non-academic position.

2017 Competition:

Winner: Phoebe Garrett (Newcastle)
Project: “Structure and Persuasion in Suetonius’ Caesars”

Judges: James Richardson (Massey) and Peter Keegan (Macquarie)

2016 Competition:

Winner: Dr Camilla Norman (University of Sydney)
Project: Ritualized Behaviours in Pre-Roman Italy: RTI photography, X-ray fluorescence and the Daunian Stelae

Coordinator: Alison Griffith
Judges: Jeremy Armstrong (Auckland); Amelia Brown (UQ)

Past winners


Student Conference Travel Subsidies

ASCS sets aside an amount of money each year (usually AUD$1000) to provide subsidies for postgraduate and other students at both Australian and New Zealand universities towards the cost of travel to attend its annual conference. Subsidies are provided to cover part of the cost of attending the conference. Students are also encouraged to investigate whether funding for conference travel is available from their own department or university.

It is a condition of applying for a subsidy that the applicant be a current member of ASCS. Applications are usually called for in October each year. For further information contact the ASCS Postgraduate Representative.


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