Four Meriden girls have had their writing shortlisted for the Sydney Living Museums Historical Fiction Writing Competition. Year 8 students, Anjali Kailasanathan and Alicia Wang, were two of the six students whose work was shortlisted in the Stage 4 section of the competition. Year 10 students, Esther Michail and Eunice Thi, were two of five students whose work was shortlisted for the Stage 5 section of the competition.
The competition challenged students across New South Wales to compose an original piece of historical fiction utilising an historical photograph from the Sydney Living Museums’ Thousand Words exhibition as a stimulus. They were required to employ a range of skills from Stage 4 and Stage 5 History and English in their compositions, integrating narrative components and techniques as well as relevant and accurate historical detail.
Anjali Kailasanathan composed a fictional piece set in 1954 which follows a female spy who saves the life of the Queen during one of her state visits to Sydney.
Alicia Wang constructed a narrative about a woman whose charming life in the early twentieth century is turned upside down when the Great War breaks out, tearing her family and her heart apart.
Esther Michail’s piece centred on a working-class woman who is pondering the conundrums of daily life in the early twentieth century as she faces the challenges many women experienced as they navigated new roles in the workforce.
Eunice Thi wrote a thriller that focused on the New Guard, an extremist monarchist group operating in Australia during the Great Depression. Her story details the organisation’s coordinated attack on a member of the Australian Labor party and the investigation that followed.
Congratulations to the girls on their wonderful achievement. We leave readers to enjoy excerpts from each student’s work.
The radio’s exciting reports blurred around me as I gazed at the waterfalls of raining light. Their brilliant flashes reflected on the water, consuming all the pinpricks of light in the city. It was strange, this feeling. No one would ever know that I had helped save the Queen’s life. That an overlooked, invisible woman in 1954 saved the Queen’s life.
Anjali Kailasanathan, Year 8
As her son got older, her husband became more well-known, a reputable businessman. A farmer who sold his goods, but in truth, no one ever called him that. Even as the drought came and passed, even as governments bickered and empires rose, her life was full of love.
Until one day, it flipped upside down.
Alicia Wang, Year 8
“To it, Johnson!”
A sharp cry knocked me from my recollection.
“Pardon, Sir,” I murmured, trying my utmost not to shudder at Mr Fetzer’s watery blue eyes and wet bottom lip.
Once again, the swinging pendulum of my necessities.
Measure, mark, move on. Measure, mark, move on.
Esther Michail, Year 10
“He was assaulted by eight members of the New Guard, dressed in black cloaks.” His eyes glinted dangerously. “And so I’ll be investigating your house.”
My heart stopped. To object would be a huge mistake.
Time slowed to a stop as I stood at the door, eyes darting about as I waited for the officer’s return. As long as he didn’t check under the floorboards. As long as he didn’t check under the floorboards. As long as…
Eunice Thi, Year 10