The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Awards

Secondary students aged 14 or younger

Successful speakers progress through local, regional and state rounds where they deliver both prepared and impromptu speeches, with the  state champion and runner-up both representing NSW at a national final. This competition is made possible by the generous support of Sydney Legacy.

student speaking

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Entries in the 2022 competition are now open. To enter the competition, simply email with your school's name, the number of students you wish to enter (1 or 2) and the name for the contact teacher. You'll receive a confirmation email within a day.

Entries will remain open over the holidays and we'll be in touch with the contestants towards the middle of Term 2 with information about the local final we've arranged for them. The local finals will run at the start of Term 3.

Competition information

The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award aims to encourage the use of clear and effective spoken English. Since its inception in 1995, the competition has provided an opportunity for NSW junior secondary students to improve their confidence and to develop their speech-writing and public speaking skills. The last two years have necessitated a different approach to giving students the opportunity to speak up, but we’re happy to welcome you back to a more traditional format in 2022 that includes both prepared and impromptu speeches delivered live at every stage of the competition. Please note that we will respond quickly to health advice, so the following information is subject to change if required to protect all participants and their schools.

What are the prizes?

The NSW winner will receive a medallion and cash prize courtesy of Sydney Legacy, and the NSW winner’s school will receive a perpetual trophy. State finalists will receive a medallion and a cash prize courtesy of Sydney Legacy. All students involved in the competition will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation. Certificates of congratulations will be awarded to all local and regional winners.

Who is eligible to compete?

The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award is open to NSW government and non-government secondary schools. Each school can enter a maximum of two contestants. Contestants must be either Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia. Contestants must have been 14 years of age or younger on 1 January 2022.

How do schools enter the competition?

You can enter the 2022 competition by emailing with your school's name, the number of students you wish to enter (1 or 2) and the name for the contact teacher. All teachers must provide a direct email address (preferably your departmental address for government school teachers) to assist with our organisation.

How much does entry cost?

The entry fee for the award is $28.00 per government school student and $56.00 (including GST) per non-government school student. Government schools will automatically be debited for this amount once they submit their entry form (please advise your school’s finance department that this will occur). Non-government schools will be invoiced after their entries have been received. Please note that fees are due on entry and cannot be refunded even where students subsequently withdraw.

What are the speaking requirements?

At each stage of the competition students present both a prepared speech and an impromptu speech. There are no restrictions on the subject matter, though speakers should consider the Legacy values and how one of these might fit within the broader context of the thought-provoking and engaging topic they have chosen to address. Legacy’s values are: voluntary service, social justice, caring, personal effort, personal sacrifice and mateship. The speaking time for the prepared speech is 5 minutes with a warning bell at 4 minutes, two bells at 5 minutes and a continuous bell at 6 minutes. The impromptu speech is on a subject chosen by the adjudicator. Contestants receive 5 minutes of preparation time to write their impromptu speech. The speaking time for the impromptu speech is 2 minutes with a warning bell at 1 ½ minutes, two bells at 2 minutes, and a continuous bell at 3 minutes.

What are the rules of the competition?

Other than the eligibility criteria and speaking times detailed above, it should also be noted that contestants are not allowed to use any props or external aids such as PowerPoint presentations during their speeches. They are encouraged to speak from palm cards and must present without the use of a lectern or microphone. In the impromptu section, all contestants in a final will receive the same impromptu topic. Contestants are not required to reference a Legacy value in this section. Finally, note that speakers are expected to finish at or just beyond the official speaking time. It will be considered poor timing to reach the continuous bell.

What are the adjudicators looking for?

The adjudicators will make their decision based on the matter, manner and method the contestants employ in presenting their speeches. They will expect contestants to be confident and engaging speakers. The speeches themselves should be developed logically to a convincing conclusion in the time allowed. The adjudicators will in particular be looking for knowledge of the subject matter, skilful development of the theme and the effective use of plain English. Successful contestants are also expected to demonstrate a balance of personal opinion and information in their speeches, as well as a balance of humour and sincerity. Finally, adjudicators will give equal consideration to the prepared and impromptu speeches in making their decision.

How does the competition run?

Schools may conduct their own internal competition to select two representatives for the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award. At the beginning of Term 2, the Speaking Competitions Officer will then advise all contestants of the date and venue of their local final which will be held in the first four weeks of term 3. Every attempt will be made to hold face-to face local finals with online finals facilitated if necessary. The winners of all local finals across the state will proceed to regional finals which will be held at or hosted online at The Arts Unit, Lewisham in August. Regional winners will proceed to the state semi-finals which will be held at NSW Parliament House on Friday 16 September. Four contestants from each semi-final will then be chosen to proceed to the state final at the Art Gallery of NSW on Tuesday 18 October. The national final will be held in November.

What is Legacy?

Sydney Legacy is proud to sponsor this competition. Legacy is an Australian charity dedicated to supporting the families of Australian Defence Force veterans who gave their lives or health in service. Legacy is there for the long term, providing caring, compassionate support for these families through pension advocacy, assisting with access to financial advice, counselling, medical or accommodation and social support. Legacy is committed to nurturing children’s education by contributing towards school fees, books, uniforms, and recreational activities to aid their self-development and confidence.

The need for Legacy today is very real. Since 1999 almost 60,000 veterans have been created and Legacy stands ready to support their families if needed. For more information about Legacy visit, call 1800 LEGACY and follow us on facebook:

Watch the 2021 State Final

Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award 2021 - NSW State Final


This is the state final of a public speaking competition which is open to all Australian secondary school students aged 14 or younger.


Public Speaking Entry Assistance
(Please email if you experience any problems entering the competitions)
Justine Clarke
Speaking Competitions Officer
The Arts Unit

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