top of page

Hal Porter Short Story Competition 2018

winners announced

The winner of the $1000 prize for The East Gippsland Shire Council, Hal Porter Short Story competition for 2018 is Rob Johnson for his story titled The tree.

Download and read the winning story here


Rob Johnson is a writer, actor and comedian based in Sydney. He is a previous winner of the Best of Times Short Story Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2015 John Marsden and Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers. He was the head writer on original sketch shows The Recidivists (Red Line Productions) and Fat On Purpose (Giant Dwarf), and has written extensively as one half of comedy duo Mantaur. As an actor, he most recently appeared in the national tour of Calamity Jane.


The judges chose the winning story for the professionalism of its prose. This is a beautifully told story about the love between a father and his son, symbolised in the planting of a tree. The boy’s enraged reaction to his father’s death is to cut down the tree. The father is reflective and philosophical. The story goes into a second generation that mirrors the first. This is beautiful, clear writing with a gentleness that is profoundly moving.

 Rob Johnson, winner of Hal Porter Short Story Competition 2018

Rob Johnson, winner of Hal Porter

Short Story Competition 2018 for his story, The tree

Short listed stories …


The anonymous entries were read by one judge and shortlisted to 10 stories. Next the other two judges shortlisted to their top three. Discussion then took place. The shortlist from 165 entries:


The trouble with suicide by Elizabeth Kuiper (Vic.)

Live-stock by Liz Walkenhorst (Vic)


These writers receive book prizes donated by the University of Queensland Press. The judges congratulate and encourage the winner and shortlisted writers.                    

Peter Millard – Competition organiser


The Hal Porter Short Story competition began 25 years ago.

Australian writers are invited to enter a short story, written in any style for the first prize of $1000. Manuscripts must be original works, in English, and must not have been previously accepted for publication, which includes websites. Any style of story is acceptable. Shortlisted writers will receive UQP publications. Stories will not be returned.

Entries must not exceed 2,500 words and entry is on the basis that the short story is your own original work. Enter as many times as you like. Entry fee payable for each entry. Entries closed 10 December 2018

For queries, please contact Peter Millard on 0427 526 731

or by email to

Download previous years winning stories:

2017 Simon Rowe for his story

Crossing the Ditch

The judges chose the winning story for the professionalism of its prose. The story was clear, simple and direct. Told form a boy’s point of view, this story of migration showed the stresses that moving into the unknown hold for probably all migrants.

2016 RJ Tennyson

Tonight's the night I'm going to shine

RJ Tennyson is a writer of short stories (and unfinished novels) who has been writing for pleasure since 2015. He is based south of Melbourne, on the sunny Mornington Peninsula, where he lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and a pair of crazy cats. He considers himself a ‘social justice junkie’ and it’s from this space that he draws inspiration for his writing. When time permits, he co-authors the blog FlashFictionFanatics with a fellow writer and friend.

2015 Amanda Wilson

Mr and Mrs Hopper, Room Eighteen.

Amanda Wilson is a daytime Librarian and an evening wordsmith. She likes reading old erotic fiction and wandering her Spotswood neighbourhood at dawn, when the industrial rail yards look like sleepy river towns.

2014 Kerrin O'Sullivan Post-Partum

Kerrin is a Melbourne-based writer with a love of words and faraway places. She finds inspiration in, and is more than slightly in awe of, the intricacies of language, its nuance and mystery. Her published writings include short fiction and creative non-fiction and have appeared in various journals and anthologies including Southerly, Kill Your Darlings, the Victorian Writer, Write Now and Aesthetica

2013 Claire Aman Love me tender

Claire says she has always been a daydreamer and always liked reading. She hasn’t studied creative writing. She wrote a novel once. It wasn’t published but it taught her how to write. She loves writing short stories. She likes sifting through the lazy subconscious, pushing preoccupations around and coming up with things she didn’t know she knew.


2 Nicholson Street
Bairnsdale Victoria 3875
+61 03 5153 1988


Gallery hours:
Tuesday–Friday 10am–4pm
Saturday 10am–2pm
Sunday-Monday CLOSED

FREE Admission

bottom of page