Australian Geography Competition


2022 International Geography Olympiad

L to r: Ioanna, Jessica, Justine, Lucy

Students from a record 54 countries took part in the 2022 International Geography Olympiad. Unfortunately it had to be held virtually, so instead of going to Paris, the Australian team gathered on the Gold Coast from 11 to 18 July. Representing Australia were:

Lucy Schwarz, Arden Anglican School, Sydney, NSW

Justine Thomas, Comet Bay College, Rockingham, WA

Ioanna Vaughan-Jones, Walford Anglican School for Girls, Adelaide, SA

Jessica Wang, St George Girls High School, Sydney, NSW

The Olympiad programme usually consists of three separate exams, poster presentations, a cultural function and visits to places of geographical interest. For the poster presentation, teams prepared a poster in advance on the theme of microplastics, the effects in their country and possible solutions. They shared these online and met virtually in small groups to discuss each other’s posters – not quite the same as a large noisy crowd of students engaged in face-to-face conversations!

During the cultural function, teams participate in hands-on learning about some aspect of our host country’s culture. The French hosts came up with the smart idea of teaching everyone to cook a classic French omelette. A list of ingredients and equipment was supplied in advance. Not all teams were able to access a kitchen, but some could. It was no problem for Australia as the team was staying in a large house. So, with web cameras on, the students got cooking.

As a small compensation for missing out on exploring Paris and the surrounding region, the students explored the Gold Coast and its hinterland – on the water, in the air and on the land.

We are proud of the achievements of all four students but special congratulations to Ioanna who was awarded a bronze medal, and Lucy on her gold medal.


The Olympiad was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I will never forget it.

The 2023 International Geography Olympiad will be held in Bandung, Indonesia. The whole Olympiad family is hoping it will be in person. Australia’s team has been selected from students who participated in the 2022 Australian Geography Competition, via Geography’s Big Week Out.

Geography’s Big Week Out and Australia’s participation in the Olympiad are supported by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the University of Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales.