​​Media release

GenZs in regional Australia, it's not all hashtags and filters - Heywire 2014 Winners Announced

16 December 2014

The best young story tellers from across regional Australia were today revealed as the 2014 Heywire winners.

A total of 40 young people, the youngest aged at just 16, will have their voices heard across ABC Radio, TV and Online and take centre stage at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra.

Sharing their take on the issues affecting them, their communities and wider Australian society, these young people will meet with politicians and community leaders in Canberra and develop ideas to make regional Australia an even better place for young people.

Director of ABC Radio, Michael Mason, says that this year’s winners show the future of regional Australia is in safe hands.

“Every year we’re blown away by the calibre of entries and 2014 is no exception, with 700 young Australians sharing their stories.”

“Heywire offers our young people a unique opportunity to be heard, make real change in their communities, and develop as future leaders in regional Australia,” Mason said.

From sporting triumphs to unemployment, drought to agricultural show victories, the 2014 Heywire winners shine a light on the diverse array of issues affecting teenagers and young adults in regional Australia today.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, congratulated the winners, along with all participants in this year’s Heywire.

“It’s refreshing to see young Australians from right across the nation so passionate about their communities and willing to share their stories to drive change or raise awareness about the issues affecting them,” Minister Joyce said.

“I’m especially encouraged by young people from our regions that have positive stories to tell about Australian agriculture, particularly at a time when people are increasingly unaware of how their food is produced”.

About Heywire

After 17 years and nearly 10,000 entries, Heywire gives young people across regional Australia a platform to tell their story, their way. Each year people aged 16-22 submit stories in text, pictures, film or audio, and share their experience of life in a regional community.

Winners from each State and Territory have their story featured on ABC and travel to Canberra for the Heywire Regional Youth Summit at the Australian Institute of Sport. During the week-long summit, participants have leadership training, network with members of Parliament and community leaders, and develop ideas to make regional Australia a better place for young people.

Thanks to the Australian Government who continues to be a major supporter of the Heywire initiative through the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

​Heywire Winners 2014

​​First name​Surname​Town ​StateStory​

​Hayward​Kempsey​NSW​Finding the unusual twin passions of agriculture and lighting got me back on track
​Claire​WilliamsWollongong​​NSWLearning what it means to be a young carer in Wollongong​
​Emma​Mott​BegaNSW​​At the Deniliquin Ute Muster I feel like I belong, at last
Lincoln​​Finch​Armidale​NSW​Finding work and purpose after unemployment in Armidale
​Michaela​Hague​Lake Cargelligo​NSW​Every animal has a paddock, every grain has a place to be, but where do I fit?
​Richard ​Knight​Coonabarabran​NSW​Coping with drough on the family farm in Coonabarabran
​Taihla​Lavelle​Murwillumbah​NSW​I will teach my children to be proud of their Aboriginality and to respect single race
​Thandiwe​Chindove​Newcastle​NSW​Coming to Newcastle as an international student and standing up to racism
​Ezekiel​Morton​Ampilatwatja​NT​Becoming a proud stockman like my grandfather Banjo Morton
​Kimberley​Cunningham​Tiwi Islands​NT​Even going to school is an adventure on the Tiwi Islands
​Preston ​Harrison​Ngukurr​NT​I want to be a community policeman so I can help people get home safe
​Britteny​Hunter​Bundaberg​Qld​Coming face to face with homelessness
​Charles​Harris​Longreach​Qld​The Longreach races embody the spirit of rural
​Daniel​O'Brien​Wamuran​Qld​Dreaming of becoming a surgeon: my first task was to wash a naked person
​Hannah​Brown​Bogunda Stn​Qld​The lengths we go to keep our herd alive during the drought
​Jack​Cooper​Biloela​Qld​Reviving the mighty Bilo Panthers rugby league team
​Jake ​Hoffmann​Crows Nest​Qld​Isolation and online dating: from Crows Nest to California
​Jessica​Carolyne​Main Beach​Qld​Moving to get better psychological care and rebuild my life
​Justice​King​Mount Isa​Qld​Dad and I putting our lives back together and taking on the world
​Kelly​Brebner​Sarina​Qld​Sarina may be a sleepy town, but it's crucial part of a massive international trade
​Melissa​Kelly​Ravenshoe​Qld​Dirt bike riding in Ravenshoe helps me relax from the pressures of school
​Ella​Graham​Melrose​SA​Rebuilding after losing our home and farm in the Mount Remarkable bushfires
​Emily​Secker​Port Lincoln​SA​Boarding in Port Lincoln means I have forty brothers and sisters
​Georgi ​CornfordKeith

​SA​Dad would be proud of who I've become
​Hafiza​Akbari​Renmark​SA​The hardest thing about immigrating from Pakistan, was leaving my best friend
​Hannah​Schofield​Broken Hill​SA​The stars in Broken Hill help me remember my brother
​Micah​de Smit​Margate​Tas​From being a bully, to fighting against it
​William​Egan​Perth​Tas​Dispelling the misconceptions and confusion surrounding diabetes
​Megan​Anderson​Bendigo​Vic​I raised over $20,000 for youth mental health in Bendigo
​Natasha​Banks​Ararat​Vic​Overcoming isolation the family farm and building resilience through volunteering with the Country Fire Authority
​Olivia​Carmody​Wodonga​Vic​The most passionate member of the Barnawartha Football and Netball Club
​Shuarnee​Craig​Mildura​Vic​Drugs almost ruined my life, but I turned a corner for my mum
​Teyen​Key​Stratford ​Vic​Gippsland is a great place for me to follow my passion for extreme sports photography
​Zali​Brown​Hopetoun​Vic​Mixed feelings when two rival sports clubs merge
​Brittany​Reinke​Esperance​WA​The Reinke family tradition: working in the shearing sheds with my dad
​Eloise​Skoss​Manjimup​WA​Women are the real heroes of country footy
​Katie​McAllister​Albany​WA​​Our debating team is putting ​​
​Tekura​Irvine​Beacon​WA​​Finally finding the school for me: agriculture college
​Trent​Caldwell​Broome​WA​A severe accident taught me what it really means to be tough
​Ingrid​Brett​Canberra ​ACT​Learning about identity via an online friendship
​Sobri​Ibrahim​Christmas Island​Our volleyball team shows the mainlanders that Christmas Island is more than a detention centre