ABC Heywire winners

ABC Heywire has announced the winners of its annual regional storytelling competition, which puts young Australians at the centre 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 major cities, through written stories, photos, videos or audio recordings.

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

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

The 2022 ABC Heywire cohort include Friend, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who lives in Wodonga, on the Victoria-NSW border.

“For me, being a Heywire winner feels absolutely incredible,” she said.

“Telling my story to the world has always been my dream and Heywire gave me that chance.”

Judith Whelan, ABC Director Reginal & Local, congratulated this year’s winners on their engaging and authentic stories.

“We are seeing once again the very best storytelling talents og young Australians and the power their stories have to bring positive changes to their regional communities,” she said.

“2022 is going to be an exciting year for ABC Heywire and for the ABC in regional Australia. We will be embedding more journalists and teams in more regional locations, which will allow us to put even more focus on the stories and issues impacting young people who live outside major cities.”

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

“The winners of this competition have opened their lives and hearts to the rest of the nation,” said Minister McKenzie.

“The stories that are shared through this competition shine a spotlight on the variety of experiences, great achievements and positive outcomes of young Australians. I am heartened by the strength and resilience shown by all winners.”

The 2022 ABC Heywire winners include radio announcers, pianola players, LGBTQI+ advocates, farmers and disability advocates – all of whom are proud to champion life in regional, rural and remote Australia.

“I’ve learned that I shouldn’t be ashamed to share my story and to share who I am, said Liam, an out and proud gay man from Launceston, Tasmania (Palawa Country).

“Others might be going through the same experience of navigating their sexuality. I hope my story helps them build self-confidence.”

ABC Heywire winner Ashley, from Springsure, Queensland (Gayiri Country), recorded his story after a long day working at a mine site.

“It was a little odd recording and listening to my voice but Heywire is a chance to give others a small peek into the opportunity and goodness that is out here,” he said.

“It’s great to gift a voice to the minority that is the young Australians living outside our cities.”

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

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

Winner Town/State Synopsis of their story
Charlotte Warakurna, WA Life in the bush is great, except for the camels!
Emma Geraldton, WA My favourite beach is covered in rubbish – let’s do something about it.
Georgia Australind, WA I’m proud of the work I’ve done to overcome depression.
Bettrina Broome, WA I have a deep connection to my country in the Kimberley
Jade Corrigin, WA My community does everything it can to keep the hockey club alive
Veejay Shark Bay, WA I’m not leaving my small town for the city
Joji Woden Valley, ACT My school’s environment group lets people think about climate change differently
Eleanor Bellawongarah, NSW Climate change is here. It’s affecting my mountain home
Imogen Inverell, NSW Smashing the “city vs country” debate for good
Dottie Deniliquin, NSW I’m overcoming the stigma of being a “foster kid”
Janaya Dubbo, NSW I’m the first ever Cultural Captain at my school
Janet Grafton, NSW I’ve got a rare disorder but it’s not who I am. I am an artist!
Ruby South Pambula, NSW As the Bega Valley has diversified, I’ve been able to accept myself
Tenille Woodville, NSW I have selective mutism. I want to change the way students in special education 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’m a station hand and studying to be a vet nurse
Reece Elliot, NT I’m going to be one of the first people in my family to graduate school
Ashley Springsure, QLD I’ve 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’s nothing better than crayfishing, even though I’m allergic to them!
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
Alanah Murray Bridge, SA Finding a deep love for my culture and learning to fight for it
Savannah Riverton, SA I was lost when my sister left home. She helped me find my feet again
Rafiki Mount Gambier, SA The first time I stepped into an Australian supermarket was overwhelming
Gabrielle Streaky Bay, SA From rural Indonesia to leader of rural Australian school
Aldriech Broken Hill, NSW How can I add my voice to those standing up against discrimination?
Grace Hobart, TAS I’ve had to learn a lot about OCD
Liam Launceston, TAS I had great support from my family when I came out
Gabriel Ballarat, VIC I’m legally blind but won’t let that stop me volunteering
Julia Bendigo, VIC Public housing isn’t “dodgy”, it’s home
Amber Bairnsdale, VIC Caring for an unexpected sibling
Friend Wodonga, VIC Living in Wodonga after being a refugee from the Congo
Aydan Swan Hill, VIC I want to take over grandad’s farm
Lloyd Murtoa, VIC I’ll play you a song because I’m the pianola man!
Beth Simpson, VIC Practising musicals in a pandemic is hard. But we did it!

More here.

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