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History’s Mysteries Young Writers Competition

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Every museum object has a story.  

Some of those stories may never be told. 

A selection of museum artefacts
2023 History's Mysteries' museum artefects used as story prompts

History’s Mysteries is back for 2024! 

Bringing history to the forefront, the History's Mysteries Young Writers Competition challenges students to imagine the history behind a selection of significant museum artefacts and tell it in a short story.

Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre will be touring a small collection of museum objects to local schools. The objects will be displayed in the Museum during the April and July school holidays and displayed at schools during Term 2. 

This year’s objects relate to Bunbury’s history as a whaling port in the nineteenth century. This fascinating industry was important to the early economic development of the town. Its history is surprising, with crews being uncharacteristically ethnically diverse for the time, and women traveling aboard, which was unheard of on working vessels. Most of the ships wrecked in Koombana Bay were whalers whose timber skeletons still lie beneath the waves and sand. 

We would like to call on Bunbury’s young authors to imagine some of the whaling stories lost to time by writing a short story featuring a chosen museum object. 

This year, the competition will be judged in three divisions: 

  • Years 5 - 6
  • Years 7 - 8
  • Years 9 - 12

Each division will have three winners, each of whom will be awarded a cash prize. 

    • Open to all schools in the Greater Bunbury area.
    • Hosting the exhibition is free. 
    • Schools will host the exhibition for one week. It will be delivered on a Friday, and collected the following Friday. 
    • The travelling exhibition will include a carry case containing the objects and a sign with information about them. 
    • Most schools display the exhibition in the library, where many students will be able to access it.
    • Students are not permitted to handle the objects. The exhibition must be displayed in an area which is under staff supervision at all times. 
    • Stories written at school with teacher guidance will be eligible to enter the competition, as will those written independently at home. 
    • Entries must be in short story form and be a maximum of 1000 words long. They may be written in any genre. 
    • Entrants must be aged 9 – 18 years in November 2024 and must live or go to school in the Greater Bunbury area. 
    • Stories may be written independently or at school. 
    • The story must mention one or more of the objects in the touring collection. These objects will be displayed at the Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre during the April and July school holidays, and they will be touring local participating schools during Term 2. 
    • All entries must be original work written by the named author for the competition. 
    • Entries should be submitted using the form on our website on or before July 21st, 2024. If this is not possible, they may be submitted in person at the Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre, where you can fill out a paper entry form. 
    • Submissions must be in PDF or Word Document format, and may be a maximum of 10MB in size. 
    • Winners will be announced at an Awards Night on Friday, 29th August. Prizes will be presented at the event held at the Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre, and the winning entries will be read aloud. Authors may choose whether they would like to read their work, or have it read by another person. 
    • The winning stories will be displayed in the Museum along with the objects. 
    • While the Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre will retain the right to display the stories, publicise them online, and add them to the Museum’s collections, copyright for the work will remain with the author. 

    The entry form will appear on this page when the competition opens on Monday, 29th March 2024. 

  • School Registration Form

    Please submit this form to register your school to host the travelling exhibition for History's Mysteries Young Writer's Competition 2024.

    Full details of the competition have been emailed to you. If you have any questions, please email us to museum@bunbury.wa.gov.au or call 08 9792 7482.

    The exhibition will travel during Term 2, 2024. The contact person named in this form will be informed of when the exhibition will reach your school.

    Please note that, due to logistical factors, only schools within the Greater Bunbury Region will be able to participate in the competition.

    The exhibition will travel to schools for one-week blocks during Term 2.

    Please be aware that while the Museum will attempt to meet the needs of all participating schools, we cannot offer any guarantees of when your school will be able to host.