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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 artefacts to local schools. The artefacts will be displayed in the Museum during the April and July school holidays and displayed at schools during Term 2. 

Key dates:

  • Competition opens: 29 March 2024
  • Exhibition touring schools: 15 March - 28 June 2024
  • Competition closes: 21 July 2024

This year’s artefacts 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. For artefact photos and background information, please see the Artefacts Information Pack below.

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 artefact. 

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 Visa gift card prize at our Awards Night on Thursday, 29 August 2024

  • First Place $150 
  • Second Place $100 
  • Third Place $50 

    • 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 open Friday 29 March 2024 and  should be submitted using the form on our website on or before 21 July 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, 29 August 202. 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 artefacts. 
    • 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.