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Young winners speak out.

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BACK Home | Media Releases DAFF07/014PM - 7 February 2007

Young winners speak out

Inspiring stories told by young rural Australians, from mustering on a two and a half million acre cattle station to growing up Calabrese Italian in Cobram, have been celebrated in Canberra today.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, today congratulated 39 winners of the ABC Heywire competition for their insightful and thought-provoking stories of life as a young person in the country.

“The 39 winning stories cover a range of topics including isolation, triumph over adversity and connection to family and community in a mix of emotional and inspirational tales of what life is like in regional Australia,” said Mr McGauran.

Heywire winners are in Canberra for a week-long forum to share ideas and learn new ways to get their message across.

Mr McGauran commended the winners for reaching an audience across Australia through the ABC and encouraged them to keep speaking out about the issues important to rural and regional Australia.

“The voice of youth shouldn’t be lost in the crowd of people vying for the chance to have their opinions heard,” he said.

“This week is an important opportunity for me to hear first hand about what matters to young Australians, and their message is best delivered face-to-face and in their own words.”

Over the nine years of the competition, more than 4000 young people have submitted stories and Mr McGauran paid tribute to the quality of this year’s entrants.

The Heywire initiative gives young people living in rural and regional areas of Australia the opportunity to describe their lives and inform the wider population of the issues that are important to them.

The Australian Government has been a proud sponsor of the ABC’s Heywire initiative since 2003.

A list of the 2006 ABC Heywire winners follows:

New South Wales

Pria Vernon, 18 Gunnedah, NSW

Pria’s story… Establishing a youth café

Myfanwy Appleton, 16 Bellbrook, NSW Myfanwy’s story… Family home is the local surgery

Stephanie De Lyall, 17 Raymond Terace, NSW

Stephanie’s story… The world via the internet and the reality of day to day

Susanna Dunkerley, 21 Bathurst NSW Susanna’s story… Impact of voluntary student unionism on campus life

Mitchell Evelyn, 16 Eden, NSW

Mitchells’ story… Hidden treasures of the ocean

Patrick Gallagher, 17 Tumbi Umbi, NSW

Patrick’s story… Importance of family in loss of sister

Fiona McPhail, 16 Canyonleigh, NSW

Fiona’s story… Entertainment on the bumpy daily bus trip

Casey Northam, 18 Ulmarra, NSW

Casey’s story… Surviving your school bus years

Laura Shearman, 21 Leeton, NSW

Laura’s story… Speaking out about youth suicide

Northern Territory

Natasha Thompson, 16 Batchelor, NT Natasha’s story… Family business in the bush and relocating after 30 years

Kelly Casement, 22 Alice Springs, NT

Kelly’s story… New move as governess on a cattle station


Stephanie Antill, 16 Mt Tamborine, QLD

Stephanie’s story… Knowing about everyone else in a small community

Caitlin Bester, 16 Nebo, QLD

Caitlin’s story… Driver fatigue and tradegy

Jessica Bridges, 16 Crows Nest, QLD

Jess’s story… The local show supporting rural community life

Gabrielle Connolly, 18 Mitchell, QLD

Gabrielle’s story… Impact on the farm of government regulation

Letitia Irwin, 16 North Rockhampton, QLD

Letitia’s story… A regular and loved road trip to the coast

Rebecca McConnachie, 21 Ayr, QLD Rebecca’s story… Battle with depression turned into action for others

Paula Price, 17 Dimbulah, QLD

Paula’s story… Risky pursuits when there is no entertainment

Eileen Strohmeyer, 22 Bundaberg, QLD Eileen’s story… Commentary on child sexual abuse

South Australia

Lachlan (Locky) Rabbetts, 16 Naracoorte, SA Locky’s story… Dealing with communication difficulties

Katie Rose, 16 Wistow, SA

Katie’s story… Mustering cattle in the rain and mud

Bianca Halliday, 16 Pinnaroo, SA

Bianca’s story… Funny day for the family of a country copper

Stuart Krige, 17 Port Lincoln, SA

Stuart’s story… How to change behaviour around reckless driving


Jess Headlam, 18 Relbia, TAS

Jess’s story… Pecking order on the school bus

Martin McConnon, 16 Stonor, TAS

Martin’s story… The shrinking lake and its disappearing joys

Barnaby Roberts, 17 Flowerdale, TAS

Barnaby’s story… Life on the farm after Dad’s stroke


Letizia Nicosia, 17 Cobram, VIC

Letizia’s story… Pride and much fun in family culture and tradition

Samantha Reeves, 16 Sea Lake, VIC

Samantha’s story…Affects of drought on the local sporting oval

Erin Gordon, 22 Bendigo, VIC

Erin’s story… A country family wedding is funny for some

Sheldon Hayes, 16 Phillip Island, VIC

Sheldon’s story… Divorce makes home both Phillip Island and Kalgoorlie

David McPherson, 17 Streatham, VIC

David’s story… Young farmer standing up for all farmers and rural life

Stephanie Moyle, 17 Hopetoun, VIC

Stephanie’s story… Drought - what does one do or say?

Western Australia

William Forrester, 17 Kalgoorlie, WA

Will’s story… Mustering season on a 2.5 million acre cattle station


Moses Gibson, 19 Fitzroy Crossing, WA

Moses’ story… Reclaiming identity and making a better life

Kate Latham, 16 Ballidu, WA

Kate’s story… Choosing country life over a career in the city

Tanya Rennardson, 16 Derby, WA

Tanya’s story…Reflections on life changes of teenage pregnancy and available support

Wade Timmer, 16 Albany, WA

Wade’s story… Finding own ways to feel free and deal with tough times

Josh Yates, 17 Bunbury, WA

Josh’s story… Dealing with serious health issues

Australian Capital Territory

Sarah Ticehurst, 17 Hawker, ACT

Sarah’s story… Saved from fire by trusty dog


Further media inquiries:

Minister McGauran's office: Ben Houston 02 6277 7520

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