Enter

Enter Entries open 01 March - 30 April

2024 ACU Debating Challenge Cup competition dates: 

  • Heats - Monday 22 July - Friday 26 July 
  • Semi Final - Tuesday 06 August
  • Final - Tuesday August 13 

Venue: Connor's Hall, ACU, Mair St, Ballarat

We have partnered with Stardom eisteddfod management system for entries and event management. Song titles, music files and DLPs can all be uploaded in preparation for the event.

A Stardom account is required to enter.

ACU Debating Challenge Cup

From the formal society debaters of the past to the proud and confident young public speakers of today! The Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod, ACU Debating Challenge, empowers young people to flourish.

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.

From then 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 associated 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 also gives both primary and secondary students the opportunity to visit the ACU Ballarat Campus.

The Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod, ACU Debating Challenge Cup now hosts around 80 teams and 300 competitors annually from all public, private and Catholic schools across the region.

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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.

1891

The first Grand Annual Competition is held in Ballarat at the Skipton Hall under the auspices of the South Street Young Men’s Debating Society and attracts 260 entries competing in music, poetry, elocution, essay and debating. Prizes worth 63 pounds were presented by the Governor of Victoria, Lord Hopetoun and future Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin.

1940

South Street celebrates its 50th year of competitions and for the first time in many years the “house full” sign is posted outside the Alfred Hall when the final night of the Calisthenics is held. Debating is deleted for the first time from the competitions, not to return until 1997.

The first busts to make up the Prime Ministers Avenue in Ballarat are unveiled including Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton.

The Sun News agrees to hold the Semi Final of the Sun Aria in Ballarat with first prize worth 130 guineas, second prize 30 guineas and third prize 20 guineas.