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Veteran's great-grandson wins national history prize.

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Media Release

The Hon Danna Vale MP Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Federal Member for Hughes

VA156 Wednesday 4 December 2002


The story of Chris Harrison’s great-grandfather, a World War I Digger, has won the In War and Peace category of the National History Challenge, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Danna Vale, announced today.

Chris Harrison from All Saints’ College, WA, was awarded the national prize for his essay in a ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra.

“Through his thoroughly researched story, Chris has given us an insight into the life of Fred Hicks who enlisted in the Army in his 20s and spent two-and-a-half years fighting on the Western Front,” Minister Vale said.

“To write the essay Chris interviewed his grandmother and great-aunts, as well as working through old photos, post cards and his great-grandfather’s service records.

“I was particularly impressed with the way Chris used his own family members as a wonderful resource for learning about Australia’s wartime history.

“Fred Hicks - Baptism of Fire - A Young Man’s Journey through War is an excellent essay and Chris should be congratulated on an outstanding effort,” the Minister said.

The In War and Peace category of the National History Challenge is sponsored by the Federal Government through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian War Memorial.

The Minister said it was encouraging to see so many young people eager to explore Australia’s wartime history. Competition in the In War and Peace category was again very strong this year, with a high standard of entries from all over Australia.

“This reflects the interest we’re seeing among young Australians in understanding and acknowledging our wartime heritage,” Minister Vale said.

“By supporting the National History Challenge the Government is encouraging students to take an active interest in Australian wartime history.

“While family stories and traditions will help preserve some of this heritage for our children, unless the younger generations are encouraged at school to learn of the experiences of our veterans, we risk losing an important part of the legacy left for us.

“It is only when we are fully aware of the contribution made by those who fought for our freedoms and democracy that we truly appreciate what our veterans have done for us,” the Minister said.

Media contact: Rachael Thompson (02) 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289

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