Family writings describe Blanche Elliott Watson (Sydney, 9/5/1863 - 27/3/1919) as a good artist by the age of 17. It records how she beat close on a thousand competitors in "black and white" (pencil sketching?). Where could I find information about these exhibitions?
The reference to "in black and white" seemed sufficiently distinctive to use as a search term. Since Blanche turned 17 in 1880, the period 1875-85 seemed appropriate.
From The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 12 January 1882 (page 5)
Note however that on Friday 13 October 1882, there was a (very) similar announcement with a January closing date for entries. It is possible that these were regular events in Sydney's art circles.