JINDABYNE Central School (JCS) captain Molly Robinson has been crowned runner-up in the grand final of Rostrum ACT's primary school public speaking competition.
The Year Six student captivated her audience with the plight of the Brumbies in the Snowy Mountains, delivering a well-researched and balanced account of the situation surrounding the wild horses.
Molly, 11, was one of eight students who made it through a rigorous round of heats, quarter-finals and semi-finals to the grand final, which was held at the Australian National University in Canberra last week.
A total of 87 schools were involved in the competition, stretching from Boorowa to Jindabyne and included the ACT.
Molly was given a list of six topics from which to prepare a three-minute speech and opted for The Horse.
To ensure she delivered a balanced perspective of the issues surrounding Brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park, Molly interviewed Rob Gibbs from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Leisa Caldwell from Snowy River Horse Riders' Association and Colin de Pagter from Heli Surveys.
Molly said before she put the speech together she was unaware of the complexity of the issue.
"I really enjoyed the interview process and learnt a lot," she said.
Competitors were judged on their speech preparation, structure, entertainment value and expression along with appeal, vocal impact and visual impact.
Organiser of the competition Damien Hughes said Molly's passion was evident throughout her speech.
"Molly was able to capture the hearts of the audience with her topic on the Australian Brumby horse," he said.
"She was able to mix passion with politics and demonstrated a true love of the country that held the audience captivated."
Molly began her speech by taking her audience back to 1804 when Sergeant James Brumby was transferred to Tasmania.
"He couldn't take his horses with him so set them free," she said.
"Little did he know from that day onwards the wild horses in Australia would bear his name 'Brumbies'."
Molly then went on to explain the complexity of the issues surrounding the Brumbies and why many want them culled and others believe to do so is destroying an iconic part of Australia's history.
"The dilemma is that the horse riders have an emotional argument," Molly said in her speech.
"The environmentalists have a scientific argument.
"The final decision will leave a legacy. Will the community be remembered as one that let unique endangered species fade into extinction or will we be known as the community that destroyed a national icon?"
Molly said she perfects her public speaking skills by having heated debates with her brother.
The Rostrum ACT primary school public speaking competition was won by Noah Gorrell from Canberra Grammar School.