ACU Debating Challenge Cup


Heats: Monday 26th – Friday 30th July 2021
Semi Final: Monday 16th August 2021
Grand Final: Monday 23rd August 2021

Entries are now closed for 2021

Prizes: Best Individual Debaters across Primary & Secondary ages vary between $40 – $70, proudly sponsored by Ballarat Zonta Club and East Ballarat Rotary Club.

ACU Challenge Cup 

Debates, Essays, Elocution, Readings, Lectures, and Recitations formed an integral part of the South Street Young Men’s General Debating Society when it was first established on 10 July 1879. The Society met every Friday night to indulge their passion for debating literary and musical items and these quickly became a central focus for South Street’s first Eisteddfod, which took place in 1891. Fred Barrow won the first debate, ‘The Best Means of Coping with the Liquor Traffic. Through the 1920’s and 30’s topics tended to feature the political and social issues of the day.

Given the popularity of debating and impromptu speeches – with several of our future Prime Ministers including Alfred Deakin and James Scullin, the Society’s most vibrant supporters – it was surprising to see debating deleted from the 1940 Competitions. It made a triumphant return in 1977.

In later years debating continued to grow and was further strengthened with the introduction of a Primary School Section in 2002. The Australian Catholic University commenced its association with the Debating Section in 2015, creating the ACU Debating Challenge Cup. The association was continued in 2018 when the arrangement was renewed for a further 3 years. That year also saw the event hosted at ACU Connors Hall, which is a truly magnificent venue. Hosting the event at Connors Hall gives both primary and secondary students the opportunity to visit the ACU Ballarat campus.

In 2019, we had a hugely successful ACU Debating Challenge Cup with 78 teams and 300 competitors from 16 schools across the Ballarat and surrounding districts, including strong presentation from Catholic, private & state schools.

2021 we look forward to seeing more schools entering from across regional Victoria and Melbourne as we celebrate our 130th year of competitions and being Australia’s oldest running Eisteddfod.


Royal South Street is thrilled to announce the continuation of our partnership with the ACU Aquinas Campus as sponsors of the ACU Debating Challenge Cup. Campus Dean Professor Bridget Aitchison has confirmed the sponsorship until 2021 which will enable RSSS to run the most prestigious debating competition possible with some of the best adjudicators in the business.


For further enquiries please email:

All our competitions will adhere to current COVID guidelines to ensure the safety of our competitors, teachers, coaches, adjudicators, audience,  staff and volunteers. Please check our website and social pages as we approach competitions for further updates.

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