ABC Heywire winners showcase regional Australia’s best young storytellers

Winning entries ‘tell it like it is’.

Thirty-eight regional young Australians have been announced as the winners of the ABC’s Heywire storytelling competition today.

Over 20 years Heywire has become an increasingly powerful place for regional and rural people, aged 16 – 22, to share their stories, and make a difference in their communities.

This year, almost 700 people entered, and the winners were chosen for ‘telling it like it is’ about life in their part of the country.

The winners paint a diverse picture of Australia.

Their stories range from fleeing a war in the DRC and finding a home in Mount Gambier; to describing the hectic pace of harvest time on the family farm; to rebuilding the Dingo Fence in the outback; and growing up LGBT+ in the country.

There was also a record number of Indigenous winners this year, who shared stories of pride in culture, and overcoming challenges to find success.

Muriel Hunter, from Broken Hill, said “When I won I was kind of surprised and happy at the same time”.

Her winning story was about her journey to become a nurse after struggling in school.

“If you put in the hard work, you get rewarded. If you do your best, good things will come your way,” she said.

Winners are told earlier in the year about their success so they can work with ABC Heywire to professionally produce their stories. This content then reaches millions of people through ABC Radio, TV and digital platforms, giving audiences an incredible insight in to life in regional and rural areas.

Director of ABC Regional, Fiona Reynolds congratulated the competition winners on their stories.

“The stories told by this year’s winners are powerful, courageous and diverse,” she said.

“We are very proud to share them with audiences across the country through the ABC. Regional Australia is in good hands with young people as passionate and articulate as these.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and Acting Minister for Regional Development, Darren Chester also applauded the successful entrants. 

“Heywire is a fantastic initiative that the Federal Government is very proud to support.

“It is such a unique opportunity for our young people in rural and regional areas to start conversations about what is happening in their communities, and what affects them and their friends.

“I look forward to meeting these impressive winners in Canberra and hear first-hand about their experiences, and ideas to make their communities even stronger.”

In February, the winners will attend the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra. During the week-long summit, the winners will meet with Members of Parliament and community leaders, to develop ideas to strengthen their communities.

Head here for the full list of winners.