Tuesday 21 April 2009 by Andrew Gray. 7 comments
Battlefield Tours, Gallipoli, Simpson Prize

The Simpson Prize is a competition for high school students from around Australia, with a winner from every state and territory getting the opportunity to travel to Turkey and attend the services on ANZAC Day at Gallipoli. The students this year are Varun Sundar (ACT), Lauren Tang (NSW), Madeleine Foote (TAS), Johanna Stott-Williams (SA), Megan Proutt (QLD), Nicholas Dyer (WA), Eleanor Lourey (VIC) and Erin Moriarty (NT).  The accompanying teachers are Sharon Mann and Peter Sharrett with myself, Andrew Gray, as tour guide and we have the wonderful Turkish guide Ozgur (or Fred) looking after our group.

We have just finished our first two days in Istanbul which has been a great introduction to Turkish history and culture.  The amazing Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern, as well as a very relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus.  We also ran the gauntlet of the shop-keepers in the Spice Market and haggled with the best of them.  The weather has been brilliant with warm sunny days, though the forecast is for a wet change.  We've got to know each other over the last few days and are having a great time together.

Tomorrow we head down to Gallipoli and will have our first visit to the battlefield areas. Each day we'll try and get an entry in with some pics to relate our experiences.

The History Teachers’ Association of Australia (HTAA), together with HTAA State affiliates, conduct this competition for year 9 and 10 students on behalf of the Australian Government. Read more about the Simpson Prize and this years winners.


Robert Lee

From the 2008 Simpson Prizes Winners I say hi to all Congratulations to all 2009 Simpson Prize Winners. Enjoy your experience during your time in Turkey. We will all be watching your blog and re living our recent memories. Enjoy the the expert teachings of Andrew as well as gaining everything you can from Gencay because he is an outstanding asset to your experience. We hope you play a game of cricket using the Ecebat

Kayla Mizzi

Hey 09 Simpsons!! I bet you're all having an awesome time and will continue to do so in Gallipoli - I have to say I am super jealous of you all at the moment! Can I just say, try to make a real effort with your journals while you're there because they are really great to look back over :-) Isn't Istanbul awesome!!! I remember when we went to Topkapi palace - (incase you haven't guessed or Andrew hasn't told you yet, I went last year and I'm from WA - congrats Nicks!!) - we were just walking out of the room with all the jewels and Oliver (from QLD) kicked over the fire extinguisher. Did anybody do anything like that this year?? I'll be reading :-) I hope you're having the most fantastic time!! (you guys are so lucky to have Andrew there with you - he's an absolute champion!!) Kayla

Oliver Kersnovski

Hello Simpson Prize 2009 winners! Firstly, I would like to congratulate all of you. You have done a great job to get to turkey. make sure you make the most of your time there - you will never forget it. I trust that you have all had a great time in istanbul and are enoying your time on the peninsula. Take as much in as you can because your time there will fly by you. Gallipoli is a place that too many Australians will not get to visit in their lifetimes, you are the lucky ones. I hope one of you gets to read a poem at the lone pine service on anzac day. I was the lucky one last year and i have to say that it is still, a year later, something that springs to my mind when Gallipoli is mentioned. Also make sure you do the journal. Not only will it help you next year when you are asked to be the guest speaker at your local anzac day service but it will be a great reminder of your trip. Hello to Andrew, hope this years simpsons are as good as we were ;-). make sure you tell them all the stories and get them playing cricket on the beach with your guide and bus driver! just a few more things guys - make sure you buy loads of turkish delight (if you dont like it you can send it to me) - put the turkish delight in your bag not hand luggage so in dubai they dont think its a bomb - try and get through airport security without a frisk search at every airport - take as many photos as you can - dont pick on megan, shes from queensland so automatically wins any interstate things - buy a turkish hat, and - keep updating your blog so i can read it Have fun Oliver Kersnovski (2008 QLD winner) (oh and im not really as bad as kayla makes out - it was just a fire extinguisher)

Joyce Chen

Reading the comments makes me want to play THAT game of cricket-one of the unforgettable highlights of the tour it seems!! Go NSW!!

Jacinta Scadden

Well, Hello 2009 Simpson's! Congrats to you all! (Eleanor has got some BIG shoes to fill!) It is a wonderful experience, as you have probably already heard by Oliver and Kayla... so I won't go into much detail, but just keep your eyes, ears and minds open! There as so many sights, sounds (and smells!) that will make you very curious about the new culture you are experiencing. The Anzac Day service tomorrow will open up a whole new dimension - Enjoy it! Absorb it! Live it! It is a once in a lifetime opportunity... and you will definitely remember it, (and how cold it was!) I also shout out to Andrew - the one with the funny sneeze. (Andrew, I have finished the film! I will have to send you a copy.) Simpsons', listen to him, he knows his stuff... Also take the time to get to know your peers, because the friendships you form will stay with you. So, try some roasted chestnuts and rock on! Jacinta, last years Victorian! xx

Kath Williams

Hi, from Adelaide. Wonderful to see all the photos. What an excellent experience you are all having. Rained buckets for Anzac day here in Adelaide. Johanna, my friends here in Theatre are reading your essay with great admiration. The Physicist has just printed it for us - Keep enjoying your time. Kath and the troops.

Kristy O'Brien

Hello all Simpson prize winners! A very big congrads to you all! You will have had an amazing experience that will remain a wonderful memory throughout your entire life. I am an relatively old school winner.. the year of 2005 I travelled to Gallipoli winning the Qld section... It truly has stayed with me and I know the truly unexplainable feeling that you will return home with vey well! Also side note- Andrew... i know it has been a long time!! The reason i'm on this website is that I'm now a journalist and was just thinking of maybe getting the QLD winner when back in the country for a quick chat on our program... So might be in touch soon. Regards, Kristy O'Brien