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Graduation Day

FullSizeRender (15)Written by Kelsey Price – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

Graduation day… the day that every high-school student cannot wait for. The day we get the freedom we wanted. But how prepared do we need to be? Being in Year 12, the realisation hits… the realisation being that our adult life starts, with job searching to do, and the growing responsibility on our shoulders.

No more of worrying about grades, or how many weeks you have left of school; before the holidays start, or even not worrying about going to assemblies, or uniforms. But with graduating, comes some sadness, of how lonely we are going to be when all of our class mates are moving away to pursue their careers or going to university. Although we have made many cherished memories, we will also never forget the bludging that we did instead of doing allocated class work. Report cards are what haunted us throughout these years and still influences us after graduating. The stress that we took on, to make sure that our report cards were of a high standard, so we can get jobs that we wanted.

The frequently used term ‘The Real World’ gets used in any common Year 12+ conversations. Are we not in the real world already? Or do people just add the word ‘real’ to say that the world gets more challenging; as in paying our own bills, moving out of home and being independent. We watch TV, we are on social media, we know what is happening with the world, is this what they mean by ‘the real world’… knowing about what is happening, being able to vote and pay bills. We may not have experienced these new adventures yet but we certainly know how to deal with them.

Another question we get frequently asked is ‘what are you going to do when you are finished school?’. For me, I have no idea, it is a confusing time – to try and figure out what I am going to do. I have so many things I’m interested in, am I meant to generate a career based on my interests or how much the job pays? I feel like I am never going to get a job that I would truly enjoy, because the income influences everything. Why should we have to know what we want to do, after all, we haven’t experienced the so called ‘real world’ yet. What if we don’t want to settle in one place, what if we want different jobs that take us all over the world. In the end, if you chose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.

So school is basically a life preparer, in which we learn deadlines, goal setting, and achieve a social life, to graduate, and do it all over again. Should we be scared to graduate… or excited? Are we ever going to be ready for ‘the real world.’ After all, no one knows what their future holds. So how can school prepare us for what is going to happen?

Nooria’s C2C Experience: “A Trip That is Everlasting”


Nooria Muradi was the Northern Territory winner of the 2015 Country to Canberra Leadership Competition. You can read her essay here.

I began counting down to the Country to Canberra Power Trip and as each day went by….. I felt my heart race at the thought of the experience and all the amazing people I was going to meet.

On Monday, the last day of November – the day before my trip, I came home and noticed there was letter addressed to my name. I was wondering who sent it.  Slowly, and carefully I opened it and began to read. Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Senator for South Australia had sent me a letter! I read it over and over again, each time I read it, I felt this force inside me that was bolting with joy.

My most exciting memory from the trip was when I sat in Tanya Plibersek’s office chair. It was so intriguing.  All the politicians had so many words of wisdom, and I felt very fortunate to have met such astounding women. Question Time in Parliament House was eye-opening, and walking around, I saw so many people who had various jobs yet the public did not know about them. The history and structure of Parliament House was educational and the Ned Kelly object and its symbolism was captivating.

The girls I met on the Power Trip were amazing, as they each brought something special with them. The trip would not have been as great as it was without their presence. It was fascinating to hear stories from each state of Australia – I think that’s what made the power trip so powerful, as I gained so much insight.

My most empowering moment on the trip was at the Powerful Women’s Breakfast, when one of the influential female leaders asked me to read the poem I wrote in my entry essay. As I read it out loud, I felt liberated. It was like my confidence increased by a thousand percent.  

To speak your mind is something, but to be heard is rather something that is much stronger.

The Power Prip dramatically changed my perspectives and views – from politics, to freedom, and most importantly, gender equality. Having met a number of prominent female federal politicians, I feel motivated to aim high and reach my goals. For once, I feel as a woman, I can do anything I want! Of course, with the right effort and determination. The person who had a major impact on me was Country to Canberra founder, Hannah Wandel. The world needs more women like Hannah. If she did not set this organisation, then I could have never experienced the Power Trip.

Months forward, I am the Vice-Captain of my school. The Power Trip gave me so much opportunity to develop, to believe in myself and in my dreams. Not to mention, I have an incredible mentor who is so supportive and uplifting. I am starting an Action Group at my school, which was inspired by my Country to Canberra experience. Coming back home to Alice Springs, I wanted other girls to experience what I had during the Power Trip. Therefore, I wanted to create a medium for students at my school to develop individual and leadership skills. The Power Trip can be summarised in one statement: a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change your perspective forever.

The Names We Use and the Labels We Choose


We are super lucky to have Sarah Burr back with another guest post for us this month.  Sarah says this post was inspired by an article we shared on the Country to Canberra page a while ago about Magnolia Maymuru, a Yolngu woman competing in Miss World. The article was written by New Idea and the title of the article (“the first Aboriginal to run for Miss World” …Aboriginal what?) perpetuated outdated terminology when referring to Aboriginal people.  So Sarah has written a ‘how-to’ on the correct way to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and why certain labels are preferred over others.  We thought that seeing as today, August 4, is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (Children’s Day), it would be good timing to share this great advice from Sarah.

Sarah Burr is one inspirational lady! She has a B. Environmental Management in Sustainable Development (Hons) from the University of Queensland, a Grad. Cert. in Public Administration from the University of Canberra, and a Master of Agribusiness via distance through the University of Melbourne. Sarah works full time at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Indigenous Affairs, is a member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Advisory Council, a foundation member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Canberra Hub, a YMCA Canberra Board Member, and plays the violin in the National Capital Orchestra. Sarah believes women can do anything.

The names we use and labels we choose – dismantling racism one word at a time.

Written by Sarah Burr

The words we use to describe each other matter a lot. While many people profess to shun labels, the naming of a person or collection of people is very useful in identifying groups within society for myriad reasons. Self-identification with a label is even more important, as it demonstrates a person’s preference for the way the world recognises them. The intricacies of identifiers, and the subtle differences between supposedly synonymic labels, can be both a hazardous path and a pathway to greater understanding.

An excellent example of the confusion that abounds in correctly naming a group within Australian society is with regards to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Notice I didn’t use the word ‘Indigenous’ just then. ‘Indigenous’ is a word that can cause offence, as it is a colonial term applied to First Nations people all around the world, and generalises various ethnicities and cultures into one. However, the use of the word ‘Indigenous’ is commonly used in the media and by the government so if you must use it, the accepted syntax is the use of a capital ‘I’ for Australian Indigenous people, and a lower case ‘i’ for indigenous peoples in a global context.

The hazard of labelling groups, especially as an outside observer, is the capacity to cause offence by choosing and using the incorrect term. As young women reading this, I’m sure you are aware of all the words that can hurt you or make you feel excluded. It doesn’t have to be obvious gender-based name calling or sexist jokes that upset you (although, understandably, these will); often it is the unintentional or uninformed language choices that cause insult.

So, how do you correctly refer to a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without causing offence? The first step is to understand the correct use of collective terms for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Using words such as ‘Aboriginals’ can cause offence as it is another colonial term like ‘Indigenous’, and in the interests of correct grammar, it is actually an adjective. You can say ‘Aboriginal people’ or ‘Aboriginal person’, and, as with Indigenous/indigenous, should capitalise the ‘A’ when referring to Australian Aboriginal people in order to differentiate from other aboriginal peoples around the world. You should also reference Torres Strait Islander people separately to Aboriginal people, because people from the Torres Strait identify strongly with their islands, and have cultural traditions that are distinct to them. Using ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ instead of ‘Indigenous’ is preferable as it allows for the separate recognition of each major collective First Nations cultural group in Australia. These preferences and conventions are mostly used in formal communications and written language, for assignments or essays as I am demonstrating here, or by people such as journalists or politicians.

As with other groups in society, self-identification terminology is very important and nuanced in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The words Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use to refer to themselves all depend on context. In formal situations, as mentioned above, it is obviously more appropriate to refer to oneself as an Aboriginal person, or a Torres Strait Islander person, or in the case of individuals with mixed heritage or a group of people of either background, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person/people. In less formal situations, such as personal conversations or more relaxed gatherings, people may prefer to reference their collective geographical background, such as Murri in Queensland, Palawa in Tasmania, or Koori in New South Wales. Others again, may wish to refer to their language group or mob only, such as Gunditjmara (country in western Victoria) or Kuku Yalanji (country in Far North Queensland). The use of terms such as ‘blackfulla’ and ‘black person’ are usually only used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people referring to themselves, and shouldn’t be used by those outside the community unless permitted to do so due to the potential for negative racial connotations. Racist terms such as ‘half-caste’ and ‘abo’ have no place in contemporary Australian society as they reflect the trauma caused by assimilation policies like child removals. Similarly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people come in all shades, shapes and sizes, (often due to the aforementioned assimilation policies) so if someone refers to themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or Nyoongar or Yolngu, questioning their legitimacy to claim their heritage based on appearances can be very hurtful. It is best to accept people’s self-identification and let them tell you their story if they wish to share it.

The pathway to greater understanding begins when conversations are had, relationships are forged, and questions are asked. If you don’t know what label/s a person prefers, ask them. A polite “who’s your mob?” is an easy conversation starter that demonstrates you have an awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. By respecting the wishes of the individual you are speaking with or referring to, you are making them feel included and valued. You are also helping to dismantle the subtle racism that remains in our community today; by perpetuating the use of inappropriate words and names, we allow racism to fester, and continue to exclude people from mainstream society.

Let’s Talk Politics

Han WorsleyWritten by Hannah Worsley – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

Now that the dust has settled on the 2016 election and we finally have a new prime-minister, I want to talk about how minority and marginalised groups in Australia are used as pawns at election time. I believe that this explains a great deal of the ‘apathy’, ‘disinterest’, and ‘disengagement’ we are seeing in Australia surrounding voting and politics in general.

Especially when we step outside election time, Australians that fall into such groups are beginning to feel a little disillusioned -they slip under the radar, or are pushed under the radar, for years of a government’s term of office. When they emerge, or are dragged unceremoniously from their forced hibernation, the surrounding discussion is insensitive, focussed on the short-term, and guided heavily by the media.

Calls for a removal of the ridiculous tampon tax are either ignored, or even worse, met with a complete lack of understanding by the male-dominated cabinet.  It’s almost like they’ve never actually realised that women not only have, but pay for their periods. Discussions of domestic violence and the negative discourse encouraged by sexist jokes are dismissed as “hysterical”, by cisgender, heterosexual, white, middle-aged, privileged men.

The Safe Schools Program is targeted not only by hate-mongering community groups, but also by prominent political figures and groups who frankly should know better than to fall victim to actual hysteria. Penny Wong explaining that a plebiscite is simply going to create a detrimental cocktail of backward religious lobbying, harmful community views on same-sex relationships, and legitimised discrimination in word and action, is simply met with the aforementioned privileged males saying “well yeah, but same tho”.

Targeted responses to rural mental health are few and far between, and there’s a whole lot of talk about ‘farmers, farmers, farmers’ and how they’re the backbone of Australia, only to be met with poorly researched free-trade agreements and strange claims of abuse in the wool industry by organisations such as PETA. We are a group represented by a bunch of blokes in Akubras (I’m looking at you Bob Katter and Barnaby Joyce), misrepresenting the amazing determination, intelligence, and diversity in our rural communities. For the backbone of Australia, we might as well be paralysed.

What I’m trying to illustrate is that the tokenistic way minority and marginalised groups are treated and referred to, simply encourages a cycle of political disinterest.  The 2016 election tried to really hit home that ‘every vote counts’, but it seems odd that we almost have a tradition of wilful ignorance. It’s not easy to admit that our national cultural attitudes contribute to a society conducive to domestic violence. It’s not comfortable to talk about notions of sexuality that not too long ago were illegal. It’s far more simple to just accept that country people are ‘just’ country people, rather than to come up with innovative ways to support our agricultural industry.

We need greater representation of pretty much everyone besides the cisgender, heterosexual, white, middle-aged, privileged men. We need greater confidence when telling people like Steve Price that their views simply aren’t welcome anymore. We need innovative and agile health policies, not innovative and agile evasion of important but uncomfortable questions on the 7.30 Report.

For crying out loud, we’re a country renowned for our “mateship, courage, and loyalty”. Yet our political parties can’t even work together on issues like domestic violence, courage isn’t a word in the political dictionary when it comes to speaking out against sexism, and a simple lack of loyalty leads to a constantly changing leadership and a lack of interest from, well, just about everyone.

Backpackers Welcome

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBy Sandy Bauer – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

Whilst working on a cattle station you will almost always come across one or two backpackers who will fulfil certain roles on the station, generally of the domestic kind – mowing, cleaning and odd jobs.

If someone was to come from overseas as a backpacker and work in Australia part of their requirement is to spend some time working in a rural area. These requirements were some that Michelle our Danish/Irish backpacker who works with us, decided to take on.

Unfortunately Michelle’s rural work stint is a month from ending, from here she will explore numerous other places in Australia with her best friend before heading home early next year.

Just six months ago the original Michelle that I met was hella shy and would keep to herself.  Now you barely have five minutes where she isn’t joking around, talking and making everyone smile.

Even though she isn’t a permanent worker on the station she plays a vital part to keep the station in operation mode; from cleaning the guest quarters to mowing the lawn. At the end of the day everyone appreciates her for stocking the bar fridge!

Just to spice things up, in Michelle’s time here she was lucky enough to participate in the camp operations. This entailed riding a horse (after not having ridden for a year), mustering cattle and helping in the processing operations of our weaners. All jobs which usually involve hard work, sweat and determination.

So if you’re from overseas and wish to visit Australia, consider giving the station life a go!  To the Australian Government – please don’t raise the tax rates for backpackers – rural Australia needs these workers, they make up an important part of our remote workforces and help make things interesting here in the bush. People from other countries should be able to experience life in Australia and it is important they get to see what outback Australia has to offer too.

The Underestimated Power of Australian Youth

image-169x300Written by Louise Miolin – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

At the beginning of this month, I had a life changing five days.  As part of the Western Australian Delegation for the United Nations Youth National Conference (what a mouthful!) I flew to Brisbane for a week of eye opening workshops, incredibly engaging guest speakers, panels and model United Nations debates. In amongst all this, friendships were fostered, bonds were made, and I connected with people whom I know I will treasure for a lifetime.

UN Youth is an organisation run by young people, for young people, and that is what makes it so valuable.  As a young person, especially one living in a rural area, it can be very easy to feel as if your passion for social change, your views and your ideas are neglected. UN Youth however, brings together hoards of passionate and inspiring teenagers with powerful ideas and attitudes, and gives them a forum in which to nourish their concepts and interests.

So often, young people are precluded from political discussions and social decision-making. We’re told that we are the “leaders of tomorrow”, but our voices aren’t heard on issues that will hugely affect our future. As a result, it seems that young people are disengaged with the political and social system; we’ll mindlessly stick to the status quo, because we’re just kids, and we can’t make a difference, right?

Un Youth proves that notion entirely wrong. It is so refreshing to connect with a network of Australian youths who will be and are already becoming powerful advocates for social change. These are people who are exploring and helping solve societal issues in their cities and towns, and who are dedicated to working towards equality.

On the three and a half hour drive home from the airport last weekend, I was bursting with all sorts of emotions. Not only were there tears because I already missed the rest of my delegation so much (seriously, its uncanny how much you can bond in a week), but there was also a sense of renewed faith in Australia’s youth. Young people across Australia and across the world will change the world; we have the capacity, the passion and the means to. We don’t have to be just the leaders of tomorrow; we can be the leaders of today.


11262356_10206720360317866_1929929064_nWritten by Vanessa Sporne – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

Waking up to a morning kiss and lying in bed until noon, spending the evening strolling hand-in-hand along a golden shore, coming home to a bedroom smothered in rose petals and scented with lavender, then laying under the stars at midnight with only your heartbeats interrupting the silent night. It’s the fairytale. It’s the perfect, blissful life that is free of worries and troubles and stress and inconvenience. It’s a world where nothing can tear you down from your cloud of happiness that floats above what is classified as reality. How could anything go wrong when you’ve got someone to call ‘yours’?

When we’ve found someone, everything in our lives simply falls into place, right? All we need to do is find that one individual on this planet that is going to alleviate every wound we’ve ever suffered. A relationship will solve everything… right? At least this is what social media has been teaching me for the past 12 months; all I need to do is find a partner and BAM! I’ll never be unhappy again.

Pressure to be in a relationship is not a new concept at all, however, the emergence of the hashtag ‘#relationshipgoals’, has taken it to a new level. A constant stream of media floods my newsfeed, portraying the type of heterosexual relationship that I’m supposed to be yearning. Not only do Facebook and Instagram command what kind of relationship I should be in, but they also provide me with a convenient little format for my partner too! Not only should he have the jawline of a Calvin Klein model, but he must also be; showering me in pandora jewellery, surprising me with rooms full of puppies, taking me on surprise getaways to France, telling every single person, every single day about how much he loves me, and serenading me before bed each night (obviously he has to have the voice of an angel).

If we expect to be worshipped by our significant others, our romantic relationships will never last because that’s just not what they’re about.

It’s absurd that social media has risen to a level of power that allows them to dictate one of the most important aspects of being human: our intimate relationships. Facebook and Instagram are teaching us that we must look for this specific human being that they have constructed in order to feel fulfilled in a relationship, and that’s simply not true. Social media is claiming that they know what every one of the 7,407,703,424 people on this planet need in a relationship, and we believe them! The hashtag has become a way in which the image of the perfect relationship is propagated and promoted, with couples from around the world displaying their success in fulfilling the ‘relationship criteria’. 

Of course it is important for couples to be proud of what they have, but be proud of your uniqueness. No couple and no singular person fits the set of characteristics that social media has established for us. It’s a blatant lie.

Loving someone is about loving them for who they are, not whether they fit some idea of the perfect person. Relationships are about perseverance, determination and selflessness. They are an incredible thing that allows us to not only make a lasting impact on another person, but to also grow ourselves. They are an essential element of life, that social media is attempting to taint with fake notions of what constitutes love.

So don’t follow the criteria. We don’t need to be in a relationship to feel happy or fulfilled. Our partner doesn’t need to tick any boxes set for us by what we see online. Our relationships don’t need to be conventional, all they need to be is healthy for us and our partner. There are inevitable difficulties in being intimate with someone, and before we understand this, and stop believing the idealised lie of social media, it’s impossible for us to have lasting, beneficial romantic unions.

The Rise of Female Led Comedy

unnamedBy Vesna Clark – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

In recent years, there has been a considerable rise in female driven comedy with women such as Amy Schumer, Mindy Kaling, Melissa McCarthy and Chelsea Peretti starring in various films, television series and stand up comedy acts. Of course, there are the familiar faces of Tina Fey and Amy Phoeler who continue to produce hilarious content. This representation of women in comedy is an achievement in itself, however the topics that are covered in female led comedy often have a feminist undertone, such as Comedy Central’s Broad City and its uncensored but casual discussion regarding female masturbation, sex, drug use and menstruation, described as “sneak-attack feminism” by Wall Street Journal.

These women are all, in one way or another, challenging sexism and breaking down barriers that keep women silent, where they fear they may be crucified or shunned for discussing such topics. These female comedians vary in age, weight, race and religion, thus the degrading “too fat” and “too old” are gradually becoming phrases of the past with a variety of women dominating comedy.


Many female comedy acts and television series such as Broad City, provide a unique but effortless feminist lens that is comfortable and of course, entertaining. This type of feminism is relatable, reflecting how normal people behave and how feminism is incorporated into their everyday lives. Women speaking and joking about sex, menstruation and masturbation is comforting and very funny. This type of comedy challenges the notion that areas of discussion directly concerned with womanhood are taboo.

If you’re not familiar with Broad City’s main characters, Abbi and Ilana, they are the very best of friends, living in Brooklyn. This hilarious pair is always hanging out and if not in person, via Facetime. The show tracks their everyday shenanigans including Ilana’s three hour lunch breaks, rollerblading in Central Park to attend a dog wedding and a number of bizarre sexual adventures. Broad City can be seen as the female equivalent to another of Comedy Central’s popular television series, Workaholics, which currently is up to its sixth season. However, both cater to all sexes.

Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and Poehler and Fey’s Sisters has gained immense amounts of popularity and rightfully so, women are shinning in comedy and are utilising it as a platform to not only share personal stories but sending the message that females should be able to comfortably talk about topics central to their being and not be criticised or shamed because of it.


Broad City airs on ABC2 every Thursday at 10pm.


Our Country

We’re thrilled to have the amazing Sarah Burr as this month’s Country to Canberra guest blogger! She’s shared a brilliant post with us in honour of NAIDOC Week.

Sarah Burr is one inspirational lady! She has a B. Environmental Management in Sustainable Development (Hons) from the University of Queensland, a Grad. Cert. in Public Administration from the University of Canberra, and a Master of Agribusiness via distance through the University of Melbourne. Sarah works full time at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Indigenous Affairs, is a member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Advisory Council, a foundation member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Canberra Hub, and plays the violin in the National Capital Orchestra. Sarah believes women can do anything.

Sarah-BurrOur Country

Written By Sarah Burr

What do you think about when you hear the term ‘country’? Do you think of sunburnt land and sweeping plains as described in Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country? Perhaps you think of your family’s rural property with its paddocks, fences, and trees. Maybe you picture a particular type of person who lives on the land. But have you ever heard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people refer to ‘country’?

In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, the concept of country is integral to identity. In this sense, country isn’t an easily defined idea of dirt, rocks, plants, animals, fence boundaries, or buildings; it is instead both a physical and spiritual location to which people belong. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of country are constructed in the dreaming, defined by language groups, and determined by culture. In essence, country is very important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples because it represents cultural traditions, dreaming stories, physical locations, boundaries between different language groups, historical events, and hope for the future that generations yet to come will also be able to find an attachment to culture and community through the land and sea.

So, why am I telling you all this? This week is NAIDOC Week (3-10 July). NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, originating in the 1920s with Aboriginal groups seeking to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements, and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Australian society.

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2016 is ‘songlines’, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concept that is intricately connected to country. Songlines are the living story of the Australian landscape. During the dreaming, ancestral spirits created the earth, sky, people, animals, rivers, lakes, plants and land formations. As a result, dreaming tracks crisscross Australia and trace the journeys of the ancestral spirits who sung the land into life during the dreaming. For example, a song about a river details its creation from source to sea. Along the river’s route, it may encounter animals, plants, boulders and waterfalls, and each of these influences the direction and force of the river. The river’s songline is both its physical course (like a verbal or musical map) and its origin story from the dreaming.

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would only sing the songlines on their country, but the songline in one language might join up with the songline of the next language group over, who would continue singing it to the edge of their country, and so on. The most famous ancient trade route in Australia follows connected songlines and reaches from the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland, through Central Australia, to the Great Australian Bight in South Australia. Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still sing some of these songlines as part of traditional ceremonies, however, due to loss of language and culture (due to displacement, child removals, and other tragic social policies) many songlines have vanished.

The land on which you live, whether it is a rural property or in the middle of a city, has a songline. This NAIDOC Week, you might like to research the country you live on, and discover the dreaming and songlines which created it.

A How to Guide to Winning the C2C Power Trip

Rachel Alger photo

A How-To Guide to Winning the C2C Power Trip

by Rachel Alger

Rachel Alger hails from Port Macquarie and was the New South Wales winner of the 2015 Country to Canberra Essay Competition. You can read her winning essay here.


Dear Future Winners of Country to Canberra,

Welcome to the family – a family of friendships and connections that will help bridge the gaps between you and your goals in the not-so-distant future. Congratulations, as well, for you are about to undertake the experience of a lifetime. You’re probably doing a good job at winning. I’m going to help you do a great job at winning. I’ve prepared this handy guide for you to make the most of your Power Trip to Canberra.

Step 1: Get Hype BE EXCITED!

You just won a very cool important thing and will be representing your state for something you’re super passionate about! You’re about to meet a diverse mix of likeminded people – girls who each bring a fresh element to the table, girls who are keen to share their knowledge with you, and girls who are automatically your new best friends because you all share a passion for equality. You’re in for a top quality ride, entering an arena where you’ll meet dozens of strong, influential leaders – all of whom will assist you in becoming one yourself. So buckle up, because you’re in for a packed day.

Step 2: Pick a Favourite

Warning: You are about to overload on unique moments and unforgettable opportunities.

When you look back on your trip, there will be a rush of people, places, and things, and so much of the Power Trip will become a blur in your mind. This is why it’s important to pick a favourite moment, event, person, or conversation for you to look back on and reminisce about. For me, this was the Powerful Women’s Breakfast. The breakfast was simply an amazing opportunity to chat with influential women about their challenges, insights, and rewards in life. As the women at this event were leaders in their fields, my eyes were also opened to some organisations and occupations that I didn’t even know existed. It was great to share my ideas with those who similarly shared their experiences with us. It was, for me, the most inspirational and motivational event of the day.

Step 3: Be Famous, You Deserve It

Of course, by becoming one of Country to Canberra’s winners, you’re bound to have some new fans. I’m one of them – you’re neat and I want your autograph! But sometimes, these fans are the media! This is not the time to be self-conscious or to downplay your achievements – embrace the opportunity to express your ideas and goals from a public platform. While I was in Canberra, I had the opportunity to be featured on the radio alongside Kelsey and Ellecha. This was my first time on radio, and I loved every minute of it! It was incredible to voice my opinions and ideas, as well as share some of the day’s experiences. If you’re given a similar chance, take it – even if you’re not the most eloquent or the best public speaker!

Step 4: Live the Political Life

The VIP treatment at Parliament House is pretty great, even if you’re not super into politics. Question Time was certainly a highlight for me, as was going behind the scenes to some super secret places (e.g. media hideouts). Meeting those like Fiona Nash and Tanya Plibersek was a wonderful experience, as we were able to hear their stories and ask some pressing questions. For the evening, we were hosted by Senators Ruston, McLucas, and Lambie, who shared with us their inspiring stories of their paths to success. Without the Power Trip, this opportunity would likely never present itself to me in quite this way.

Step 5: Appreciate Every Moment

Country to Canberra is an amazing program, and the Power Trip is an incredible, unique experience you’ll remember forever. It’s therefore important while you’re there to really absorb every moment! Appreciate your companions – you’ll be leaving with brand new friends from all around the country. Learn everything you can about everything you can – everyone has something different to offer that could lead you to exciting places. Take advice from those who are more experienced than you, and offer your unique youthful perspective on today’s issues. The most important lesson I learnt from the Power Trip is to take risks and to grab every opportunity that comes my way. And finally, cherish your memories. You’ll never have an experience like this again.