ABC Heywire winners celebrate life stories across regional and rural Australia


ABC Heywire has announced the winners of its annual regional storytelling competition, which places young Australians at the center of the conversations that shape their communities.

Hundreds of Australians aged 16 to 22 from regional, rural and remote areas entered the competition by ‘telling it like it is’ about life beyond our big cities, through written stories, photos, videos or audio recordings.

This year’s 38 ABC Heywire winners feature stories of courage, resilience and hope, including stories of escaping the war in Afghanistan, keeping a local hockey club alive, taking leading your community in the face of climate change and finding language and treatment for mental illness.

The winners worked with the ABC to produce their stories for radio and online, the results of which are available through the ABC Heywire website.

The ABC Heywire cohort of 2022 includes Friend, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who lives in Wodonga on the Victoria-NSW border. “For me to be a Heywire winner is absolutely amazing,” she said. “Telling my story to the world has always been my dream and Heywire gave me that chance.”

Judith Whelan, Regional and Local Director of ABC, congratulated the winners of this year’s competition for their engaging and authentic stories. “We are once again seeing the best storytelling talents of young Australians and the power their stories have to effect positive change in their regional communities,” she said.

“2022 is going to be an exciting year for ABC Heywire and for ABC in regional Australia. We will integrate more journalists and teams into more regional locations, allowing us to focus even more on the stories and issues impacting young people living outside of big cities. “

Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Regionalization, Regional Communications and Regional Education, said ABC Heywire provided young Australians with a platform to share their stories.

“The winners of this contest opened their lives and hearts to the rest of the country,” said Minister McKenzie. “The stories shared in this competition highlight the variety of experiences, great accomplishments and positive outcomes of young Australians. I am heartened by the strength and resilience shown by all of the winners. “

ABC Heywire’s 2022 laureates include radio announcers, pianists, LGBTQI + advocates, farmers and disability advocates, all of whom take pride in standing up for life in the regions, rural and remote areas of Australia.

“I’ve learned that I shouldn’t be ashamed of sharing my story and sharing who I am,” said Liam, a proud and proud gay man from Launceston, Tasmania (Palawa Country). “Others could have the same experience of navigating their sexuality. I hope my story will help them gain self-confidence.

ABC Heywire winner Ashley of Springsure, Queensland (Gayiri country) recorded her story after a long day’s work at a mine site. “It was a little strange recording and listening to my voice, but Heywire is a chance to give others a little taste of the opportunities and the goodness that is here,” he said.

“It’s great to give a voice to the minority of young Australians living outside our cities.”

ABC Heywire winner Amber of Aramac, Queensland said she was passionate about helping build thriving regional communities. “Once the small towns and the surrounding agricultural regions succeed and prosper, so does the rest of Australia,” she said.

“Young people in the region know this and by speaking out they can make positive and rewarding change. “

ABC Heywire is supported by: the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications; Department of Health; Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment; Ministry of Education, Skills and Employment; Department of Social Services; and AgriFutures Australia.

The full list of ABC Heywire 2022 winners and their stories are here:

https://www.abc.net.au/heywire/winners/. Photos of the winners are also available.

Winner City, state Summary of their story
Charlotte Warakurna, WA Life in the bush is great, except for the camels!
Emma Geraldton, WA My favorite beach is covered in litter – let’s do something about it.
Georgia Australian, WA I am proud of the work I have done to overcome depression.
Bettine Broome, WA I have a deep connection to my country in the Kimberley
Jade Corrigin, WA My community is doing everything it can to keep the hockey club alive
Veejay Shark Bay, WA I don’t leave my little town for the town
Joji Woden Valley, ACT My school’s environmental group makes people think differently about climate change
Eleonore Bellawongara, NSW Climate change is here. It affects my mountain house
Imogen Inverell, New South Wales Definitively break the “city versus countryside” debate
Dottie Deniliquin, NSW I overcome the stigma of being a ‘foster child’
Janaya Dubbo, NSW I am the very first cultural captain of my school
Janet Grafton, NSW I have a rare disease, but that’s not who I am. I’m an artist!
Ruby South Pambula, NSW As the Bega Valley diversified, I was able to accept myself
Tenille Woodville, NSW I have selective mutism. I want to change the way special education students are treated
Aaliyah Bowraville, NSW Wheelchair basketball changed my whole life and gave me a family
Flynn Darwin, NT Being a barista helped me manage my anxiety and autism
Eliza-May Allambi Station, NT I left school because of my dyslexia, now I am a post office clerk studying to be a veterinary nurse
Reece Elliot, NT I will be one of the first people in my family to graduate
Ashley Springsure, QLD I embraced life in the bush with my trusty old ute
Chad Charters Towers, QLD When I lost my eye I gained a new way of seeing the world
Naseli Bamaga, QLD There is nothing better than crayfish fishing, although I am allergic to it!
Shontay Doomadgee, QLD I want to become a doctor for my remote community
amber Aramac, QLD Life in the bush is busy but you can carve out your own place
Mahsa Toowoomba, QLD I’m 17 and the voice of the local Afghan migrant community
Alain Murray Bridge, SA Find a deep love for my culture and learn to fight for it
Savannah Riverton, SA I was lost when my sister left home. She helped me find my marks
Rafiki Mount Gambier, SA The first time I walked into an Australian supermarket it was overwhelming
Gabrielle Streaky Bay, SA From rural Indonesia to the head of a rural Australian school
Aldriech Broken Hill, NSW How can I add my voice to those who oppose discrimination?
Grace Hobart, TAS I must have learned a lot about OCD
Liam Launceston, TAS I had great support from my family when I went out
Gabriel Ballarat, VIC I’m legally blind but that won’t stop me from volunteering
Julia Bendigo, VIC Social housing is not “shady”, it is the house
amber Bairnsdale, VIC Caring for an unexpected sibling
Friend Wodonga, VIC Living in Wodonga after being a refugee from Congo
Aydan Swan Hill, VIC I want to take over grandfather’s farm
Lloyd Murtoa, VIC I’m gonna play you a song because I’m the pianola man!
Beth Simpson, VIC Performing musicals during a pandemic is difficult. But we did it!

For more information:
ABC Heywire producer Katie McAllister
[email protected]

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