Competition background

The Hermitage Research Facility
© Queensland Government

The Hermitage Research Facility is the oldest agricultural research facility in Queensland, commencing operations in 1897. In 1997 the Hermitage Research Facility celebrated its centenary year. The competition was developed as an activity that schools could participate in to help celebrate our centenary year.

After the success of the first competition (which attracted approximately 20 schools from the Queensland Southern Downs region), we decided to offer the competition to schools each year.

To date over 110,000 students throughout Australia have participated in this competition and have gained a better understanding of topics like soil health, the paddock to plate process, photosynthesis, weeds, pests, and plant genetics. Students have also developed further skills in scientific method and understanding, report writing, mathematics, English, teamwork, communication, art, and technology.

The competition is designed with an awareness of Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) requirements. The agricultural science-themed topics, experiments and activities link well with the science curriculum across the 3 strands (Science Enquiry, Science Understanding and Science as a Human Endeavour).

The aims of the competition are to:

  • stimulate an interest in science and agriculture in young people and promote agricultural science as a rewarding, long-term career choice
  • provide students an opportunity to interact  with Department of Agriculture and Fisheries scientists and staff to learn about plant science research projects conducted at the Hermitage Research Facility and the wider department
  • encourage children to think about issues affecting the environment around them
  • familiarise students with the concept and interpretation of scientific experiments
  • foster an awareness of our department, industry (supporters) and the community (schools) working together to develop young peoples' interest in science.