Featured / Community / 15th December 2022
Heywire winner shares family story
Olivia Amiet was recently selected as a winner for the ABC Heywire competition, celebrating stories about life in regional and rural Australia.
Since its inception in 1998, the Heywire competition has become a powerful platform for rural youth, putting them at the centre of conversations that shape their communities.
Hundreds of Australians aged 16-22 from regional, rural and remote areas entered the competition, Olivia being one of only 39 winners selected.
Competition winners score an all-expenses paid trip to the Heywire Summit, designed to ensure their voices are heard in Canberra and around the nation.
Throughout the week, participants will undertake leadership workshops and meet with members of parliament, government departments and community leaders.
The ‘Heywirers’ work together in teams to develop ideas aimed at improving the lives of young people in regional Australia.
Olivia shared a very personal story about her parents’ separation through the lens of their family games’ night and how she is now “happier than ever”.
Olivia said that she felt nervous to share the story, but that she had never really heard anyone talk about divorce in any format of writing.
“I think divorce is a lot more common these days, so I think for kids especially, if they can read or listen to my story and know there is a happy ending, it can do a lot of good.”
Olivia said she was in disbelief when she found out she had won. She now plans to continue writing stories in the future.
“I would definitely love to write about other problems that our generation is facing,” Olivia said.
by Olivia Amiet
It’s family Games Night. The Monopoly board’s open on our stained and scratched coffee table.
I’m the dog. I’m always the dog. Dad’s the car.
My money’s neatly sorted in separate piles. My sister’s is a chaotic stack. She’s the boot.
Maddie reckons she’s cursed.
The dreaded Bond Street. She auctions it to the highest bidder.
With Geminis as parents, it’s competitive.
She’s always right and she always wants to keep playing. Now, she has Pall Mall.
Dad’s passed GO, however, bailing himself out is expensive.
I’ve been planning and watching my opponents, many on the verge of bankruptcy.
I’m the first to buy a hotel. I stare at my three family members, they know I’ve won.
When my parents invited Maddie and I onto the couch with tears in their eyes, we knew the happy family routine was over.
Mum moved out of the house and then the town. No more family Games Night.
I carried my duffle bag from my pink, familiar house, chauffeured reluctantly down the Newell Highway (the spine of the Warrumbungles mountain range), and entered an unfamiliar blue abode.
I had to be strong — I’m the older sister.
New town. New friends. New family. New school.
Every class had its own name; I was in a class of Brumbies and
then Explorers. The teacher told us Brumbies are resilient and we were all Brumbies now.
I was exploring places I’d never been, discovering the other side of the Warrumbungles and the side of me that could make new friends, and be brave.
I started playing handball and Connect Four with people at recess. Then, I settled down with a group
of people who I could call friends through high school and its games of chance.
We arrive at the next phase of our lives together. The games began to change — there’s more study, less handball these days.
But, I’m happier than ever. Past worries begin to fade. It’s going to be OK.
I walk behind my little half-sister, down the aisle. Luke Combs blares and fills the Royal Hotel’s shed.
I read out my original poem about Wedding Promises.
Dancing follows with laughter and delight.
Now there are two happy families.
There are new players around the dining room table.
Isabelle, even as a six-year-old, channels our mother’s Gemini traits.
What was previously a fun game, UNO became survival of the fittest. And we have a new Monopoly board. Maddie and I got it for Christmas a few years back.
The rules and characters are the same — I’m definitely still the dog.
Even though my family changed, and challenges surfaced I still love family Games Night.
Read more stories of courage, resilience, and hope in regional Australia by the ABC's 2023 Heywire winners.