Winners share in $50,000 in prizes as 2021 Heritage Bank Photographic Awards announced

1 September 2021

Outstanding Australian photographers have shared in a $50,000 prize pool as winners of the 2021 Heritage Bank Photographic Awards announced today  – one of the country’s richest and longest running photographic competitions.

Now in their 33rd year, the Heritage Bank Photographic Awards are a renowned competition in Australian photography circles.  They are open to all Australian residents, with no experience or qualification restrictions in place.

Taking out the title for the Open Category was Brisbane photographer Netal Lucas, who won the $15,000 prize for “Afternoon tea in lockdown”, a sentimental snapshot of kids covered in mud sitting on the front step, enjoying a snack during lockdown.

South Australia’s Lucia Staykov took home $15,000 for the other major prize in the “Helping Hands” Themed Category for her image “Family Hands”, a black and white portrait taken during a newborn photography session.

With the rising popularity of digital manipulation, Heritage this year introduced a new Illustrative Category that has no limits to post-production.  New South Wales photographer Colleen Price was awarded $5,000 as the inaugural winner for her Australiana-inspired image “Bush Clothes Drying”.

Heritage Bank CEO Mr Peter Lock said the competition’s versatility contributed to its longevity and success in attracting participation for over three decades.

“We had another amazing response this year. We received over 2,300 entries from across Australia, with all states and territories represented,” Mr Lock said.

“It really goes to show the depth of talent and creativity in our wonderful country.

“The Awards are all about fostering the art of photography and encouraging people to get creative.

“We’ve made it as easy as possible for people to take part; it’s free to enter, open to anyone across Australia, and you can take part no matter your age, or level of experience.”

Mr Lock said this year’s Themed Category “Helping Hands” offered the perfect opportunity for people to unleash their creative talents and reflect on the events of the past 18 months, particularly in light of the pandemic.

“Through this year’s Themed Category, we asked people to share moments that inspire hope through their interpretations on what helping hands means to them.  And that’s exactly what we got.

“Our judges had a tough time choosing from so many quality images. Thank you to each and every person who took the time to submit their entries. It’s an honour for us to shine a spotlight on your work and share your talents on a bigger stage.”

Once again, Heritage has acquired the top five winning entries – Open Category, Themed Category “Helping Hands”, Illustrative Category, CEO’s Choice, Mobile Phone Award - to become part of its corporate art collection.

The winners of all categories are listed below:

Open Category:  


Netal Lucas, Manly QLD “Afternoon tea in lockdown”


Jakob Kennedy, Joadja NSW “A Year of Contrast”

Themed Category: “Helping Hands”:


Lucia Staykov, Athelstone SA “Family Hands”


Peter Rossi, Mooroobool QLD “Farm Hands”

Illustrative Category winner: 

Colleen Price, Wangi Wangi NSW “Bush Clothes Drying”

Mobile Phone Award: 

Gary Beresford, Korumburra VIC “Around the Bend”

CEO’s Choice:

Zol Straub, Yamba NSW “Who’s there”

Youth Photographer Awards:

9 years and under:

Maia Barrett, Youngtown TAS “Big Green Hole”

10-13 years:

Ty Watson, Bayview Heights QLD “Wild Gouldian”

14-17 years:

Poppy Ward, Brunswick VIC “Leap of Faith”

Alwyn Kucks Memorial Award (entrants residing within a 50km radius of Toowoomba):

Margaret Kebble, Westbrook QLD “I will get it right”

Winner and finalist images can be viewed online via the Heritage Bank website, or in-person at the official exhibition at USQ Arts Gallery in Toowoomba from 1 - 22 September 2021. 

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