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Avenue Range

Written by Samantha Edwardsimage – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

“So, where are you from?”

As a boarder (at boarding school), this is probably the question I’m asked most. Once you’ve answered a question that many times, you develop a go-to response. Mine is pretty vague, because only people who live there know the geography of my area.

“Umm, in the South East. Lucindale?” At this, I’m often met with a blank look. So I broaden my boundaries. “Naracoorte? Kingston? Yeah, in that area.” If this still doesn’t ring a bell, I make it really broad: “Hmm, about an hour and a half from Mt Gambier…”

In reality, I don’t even live in Lucindale. But, let’s be honest, if people don’t know where Lucindale is, they sure won’t have heard of, or know anything about, Avenue Range.

It’s a town, I guess. We have 80km/h signs on the four roads into the town. Granted, the signs aren’t much more than 200 meters away from each other, and not many people actually slow down. There’s a fire shed, and a post office, currently housed in a shipping container, and open on weekdays, between 8:00 and 8:30am. We even have tennis courts, used every once in a while when people feel like a hit, and club rooms to go with them. The club rooms are used maybe twice a year, when the community meets for the annual pumpkin-growing competition, and again for the Christmas party and Christmas lights judging. There’s a beautiful old school building on a hill overlooking the town, if it wasn’t for the trees. We used to have a small general store too, but that didn’t last.

The town might be small, only five or six houses within the boundaries, but the community certainly isn’t lacking in numbers. We extend way beyond the borders of the town, welcoming anyone who wants to be involved. It’s a strong, supportive group of people, who really care about your wellbeing. When they ask after you and your family, they genuinely care about your answer. They’re people you look up to, people who get involved and make a difference.

It’s a great place to live, small or not.

Why Fight the Feminist Fight in 2016?

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 8.20.03 PM (1)Written by Ellecha Thorp – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

All too often, when meeting people in settings that require the discussion of ideological values, the question arises: “are you a feminist?”.

I am a strong believer in equality across genders, so of course I am a feminist. Unfortunately however, we’re not all there yet. The word feminist is still spat off tongues and stamped on by many and it is not until we come to a relatively collective realisation that feminism is the way to go and that equal treatment regardless of gender, is a necessity in order for society to progress.

So, in 2016, why fight the feminist fight?

  1. Gender Pay Gap:  As much as we have progressed, the gender pay gap is still going strong with the average woman (in Australia) earning $277.70 per week less than the average male.
  2. Gender Stereotypes: The presence of rigid gender role stereotypes still exist strongly amongst society.  Stay-at-home Dads are questioned over their choices, women in STEM fields aren’t taken as seriously as men.
  3. Unequal distribution of positions in power:

The cycle of majority males in top employment positions has not yet been broken with only 5% of CEO’s being females.

It’s important to note that to fight the feminist fight does not involve bringing males down. Feminism is about empowering women and lifting them until the equalisation of playing fields is achieved. Imagine raising our next few generations of girls, to aspire to work in any field they like, without having to be paid less than their male colleagues. What if they could live without the fear of being told they weren’t ‘acting like a proper woman’ or that males aren’t told they’re being a ‘pussy’ if they talk about their feelings.

The certainly winding road to gender equality is progressing well, and society is driving forward along that path. However our journey still has a long way to go, but hopefully if everyone jumps on board to fight the feminist fight, we will turn a corner and our destination will be in sight.

Gender equality is the way to go. It is a very pressing and important issue, and that’s why I will continue to fight the feminist fight.

The Impact of Social Media

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

What is something that the people in this world can’t live without? Internet.

Most of the population of the world thank the wonderful minds that created social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other social accounts are taking the world by storm! But what do they really mean to us? I know it is an easier way to communicate with just a couple of touches on a phone or clicks on a screen. I mean, without social media, how would we cope with not telling everyone what we are eating for dinner, what we are wearing on a daily basis, our relationship status, photos of kids, or where we are going or a holiday.

But… There’s a but… What about all of the companies trying to promote their ads for their products on social media, what method do they use to sell their product? Skinny, pretty and fit models of course.

How does it reflect on us, as women, with all different shaped bodies? Everyone says to love your body, to be confident with your body! But how can we if we have to compete with all of these model types of girls? The self-confidence in girls these days has dropped dramatically. We are always constantly trying to perfect ourselves to ‘fit in’ to this image that social media has portrayed of females.

Most of you know that there are famous people that have plastered videos or explicit photos on their social media accounts, and their body types are all the same; skinny, tanned and facially pretty.

In the end, people have to accept that we all look different; we all have different body shapes and personalities.

Although we have come to know that the world is not perfect, there are still people out there trying to make it the best it can be.

Reflection: Kate’s Unforgettable Country To Canberra Experience

IMG_5334Kate Jenkins was the 2015 Country to Canberra Essay Competition winner, representing Victoria. You can read her winning essay here.

Kate’s Power Trip was generously sponsored by the National Rural Women’s Coalition. 

Lucky enough to have been selected as a winner of the Country to Canberra Essay Competition for 2015, I jetted off to Canberra at the end of November last year for the amazing ‘Power Trip’ prize. In this short blog, I will take the opportunity to share a little bit about my time in Canberra and how it has so greatly impacted me.

One of my most favourite parts of the trip was the Powerful Women’s Breakfast. Every woman at the table, including my fellow Country to Canberra young women, had a unique story and perspective that enriched and diversified the conversation. From our discussions about careers and family life, feminism, rural living and politics, I feel as though now more than ever I have confidence in my ability to accomplish my highest goals and even dreams. Listening to the stories of success and accomplishment of other women, who have come from similar paces as to where I am coming from, has inspired me immensely.

This breakfast was also an opportunity to receive honest advice about the obstacles and disadvantages which face women in business, politics and when striving for positions of influence, and how they can be overcome. From the incredible individuals on this morning I learnt that confidence and determination are the most important qualities in the face of challenge; and from the lovely Dr Pat who sponsored my trip, that it is important to always do your homework, even that which is not for school.

On top of this empowering breakfast, being able to explore Parliament House, meet politicians and watch Question Time were huge highlights of the trip. However, most of all it was the amazing connections made with the other likeminded women that has given me great confidence in myself, and inspired me to reach out and connect with people who are also passionate about creating change. I am still in contact with the other girls and wish them the very best of luck in all their exciting endeavours, which I am sure we will share over the years.

The Country to Canberra experience has definitely encouraged me to further advocate for what I believe in and to know that I have a voice that can be heard. I think it is especially important for all men and women to understand the gender inequalities that still exist in our society, and to know how they can stand for equality in their own lives. I think the Country to Canberra organisation is a really awesome initiative in this regard, giving to the female youth of rural Australia a voice to speak to their communities and beyond.

I am so glad that I entered the competition as it was a really unique experience and one that will be impossible to forget! I cannot give enough thanks to Hannah the Country to Canberra CEO, and everyone else who make the trip as incredible as it was.

The Freedom of Rural Living


By Sandy Bauer – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

Well this is my first ever blog as a member of the ‘Country to Canberra’ blogger team. I have spent the last few days thinking about what I would write about first, there are so many topics close to my heart!

To put it simply, what I am going to do is – “attempt to paint a picture using words, I say ‘attempt’ because I am more of a picture speaks a 1000 words kind of girl.”  My name is Sandy Bauer and I am a photographer and a jillaroo from the Northern Territory.

I appreciate a good image which has good composition, colour and focus. Especially focus, I truly believe that there is nothing more important in life, than focus. I tend to live off the idea of ‘A dream is not a dream without a goal, and a goal cannot be achieved without the will to focus on the steps to achieve that dream.

After hours of thinking while I was out in the paddock doing the usual bore run with dad, I decided my first blog topic should be ‘Rural Living Provides a Sense of Freedom.’ 

This particular day was the kind where you can’t help but look out the window into the open spaces, we had one song on repeat in the ute because it just completed the scene. None of the lyrics were even relevant to our rural lifestyle that we have lived for so long, but that didn’t matter.

That exact moment was topped off when dad turned from looking out the window to face me, saying ‘This is my favourite time of day, I just love it.”

After that I just couldn’t stop smiling. I think I found the true reason as to why I love rural life despite the many downsides set out to challenge us. The reason I truly love rural life is because it is the most beautiful thing you could possibly ever witness.unnamed2

Despite the 5am wake ups and the endless jobs and challenges presented, the idea of getting to wake up an hour earlier to live an hour more always plays over in my mind. I believe that I am truly one of the luckiest people on earth. I get to witness every sunrise and sunset and I get to work every day giving to an industry that I am passionate about. I get to literally, live a dream.

I am a city girl by birth and country girl by heart. I moved to Brunchilly Station situated in the centre of the Northern Territory when I was just six. My parents wanted to pursue the lifestyle that my dad was brought up in – one where every sunrise was cherished, one where you were always surrounded by animals, and one where you had to learn to use your brain and all your skills to get a job done.

I am truly grateful for their courage to chase their dreams and this year represents our 11th year here and also our last year. In May my parents are moving to a property in Queensland called Springvale, which is situated next door to where my sister is working at Davenport. As for me, a year 12 completer who is not yet ‘finished’ with my time in the Northern Territory, I’m off to another station which is a little more isolated and run by a different company. After all, where else would you rather be when you have a good home, fantastic job and open plains for you to ride horses and motorbikes whenever you please???

From the age of six I have been lucky enough to watch an entire station, owned by Sidney Kidman & Co which runs approximately 32,000 head of beef cattle; grow, change and develop into the iconic property it is today.

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to participate in many different trials that have been run throughout the station such as a phosphorus trial and the cash cow project, both of which have helped to develop how the station is run today.

I am a strong believer and advocate for the fact that growing up on a station, or even just working on a station can provide you with valuable life skills. In just one year you learn things about cattle husbandry, fencing, general station maintenance, right down to leadership skills – cause let’s face it, sometimes you have to work alongside people you don’t particularly like. You know what, that’s life. You learn how to modify yourself to work alongside people that try out your patience and knowledge.

One of the biggest life skills you will ever learn is having to witness the deaths and struggles of the livestock which we take care of each day, 24/7, all year. We have to be the ones to decide their final fate when they are struggling for their lives and we have to weigh up the pros and cons as to whether that particular individual is strong enough to struggle through a few more weeks with the chance of possibly getting better, or if it would be better to put it out of its misery. That is not an easy choice.

I have had so many people come up to me and say I’m too remote and I needed to go to boarding school to be able to achieve my dreams and to be able to achieve anything in life. To be honest, I don’t believe this is true and I will say it over and over again. The only limitation to any dream is yourself, you build your own brick walls. If anything, living remotely has helped me to shape myself into the person I am today, and it has helped me to appreciate every small detail in life – even if it is through the shutter of my lens.

To me I will always feel a sense of openness, because I believe rural living provides a sense of freedom that I couldn’t get anywhere else.


8 Things I wish I knew before my first year of University!

IMG_7151Written by Madalyn Wallace – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

First Things First

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone’s finally recovered from O-week, made some new friends and now settling into the routine of university life.  Before you start madly cramming for your first round of uni exams and then heading home for a quick break with the family for Easter, here’s some food for thought.  I’ve put together 8 things I wish I knew before embarking on my first year of university – hopefully you will use them to have an amazing year!

1. Ask for help

Whether it’s learning how to use the university library, signing on for classes, or even where to catch the bus – your university has many facilities at your disposal which provide both information and services. Don’t be too proud to use them – they’re there for you.

2. Be yourself

If you’re hoping to become a queen/king bee when you get to university by faking it until you make it, I’m sorry to tell you, but this will always end in disaster – take a note from Kady in the movie Mean Girls and just be you. University is a whole new ball game and is nothing like high school. It’s a place where you can express your views and be treated like an adult. There’s no need to try to be someone you’re not to fit in, because nine times out of ten, the people you try to fit in with won’t be people who’ll support and love you like real friends.

3. Take safe risks

As a college freshman, I experienced everything this new life had to offer in O-Week. From events with new friends to boot camps at 5:30am, I gritted my teeth and went outside my comfort zone. In saying this I was never pressured by my college leaders do anything unsafe and nor should you. Ever. Although some harmless hazing occurred (and the leaders do seem pretty scary when they’re screaming at you to get your chin to the ground during push ups!) they are there to help you in anyway they can. Your first year at uni is about trying new things and bonding with your peers: so suck it up freshers and get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable and do some laps!

4. Get involved

I may have covered this a little in the previous point but participation needs to be emphasised. You won’t get very far in life in any area if you don’t participate and try new things. You may suck at sports, but you’ve got lungs so use them and support your uni at sporting events. You may be really shy and hate public speaking, but engage in class discussions during lectures and don’t be afraid to ask questions that’s what your lecturers are there for. Sign onto clubs and societies, make some friends and volunteer. Surprise yourself, if you don’t try you’ll never know, so get around it and participate people!

5. Manage your time

After the week long (or in some cases – weeks long) festival that is O-Week 😉 its time to get serious and embrace the workload. University is different to high school, you won’t get nagged to do your homework, so if you fail, it’s on you. Don’t leave your assignments to the last minute because your grades directly reflect your effort. So bingeing on Netflix then catching up on 12 weeks of lecturers in three days is frowned upon, right? Make a study timetable and plan your assignments day by day, the same goes for exams, a little every day makes SWOTVAC a whole lot easier and GO to lectures! But it’s all about balance, so throw in some time for Ben and Jerry’s and Modern Family too!

6. Keep up the routine

You might notice that by this point of the first semester, your study planner has gone into hibernation at the bottom of your draws and still has the dregs of the first week’s plan on it. There’s no time like the present, so get out the diaries and get back to your routine.

7. Call your parents

For those of you who don’t have the luxury of living with your parents a few extra years, it’ll get a bit lonely moving out of home. With teen depression on the rise it’s important to keep in contact with that person who’ll just listen and make you remember how awesome you are. By the way, they miss you too so it’s okay to touch base once every week at least.

8. Enjoy your first year you only get one

Live it up, you’ve done the hardest part already: you sent in an application and made a minimum three year commitment. From experience, your first year goes by so fast and before you know it, you’ll be throwing that graduation cap and holding that degree high!

So, they are my tips for having the BEST first year at uni – does anyone have a few more to add to the list?

Why Rural Girls Should Learn to Program

Rachel Alger Country to Canberra photoWritten by Rachel Alger – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

We live in a digital age, where most aspects of our lives are influenced in some way by technology. This is a super exciting time – through technology, we can bring the future to us. Unfortunately, many young women aren’t excited about this, because they’re hardly ever depicted as the future’s pioneers. While there’s no quick way to condition out sexism from our society, we can increase the number of females in tech and expose technology to young women. And you can make a start by learning to program.

Programming, on the most basic level, is the process of writing sets of instructions to a computer in order for it to complete a task. In a world where computers and the internet govern all, programming is only building in importance. The great thing is that everyone with access to a computer has the ability to program, and everyone with the ability to program has the potential to help change the world in some way.

Everyone should learn to program! Here’s why:

  • The problems encountered when learning to program force you to develop new ways of thinking, and you get into the habit of approaching problems from a different angle.
  • Programming is a helpful skill if you’re into science and technology, especially if you’re aiming for a career in these fields. It becomes a necessary tool in whatever you choose to research.
  • It gives you the opportunity to express yourself however you’d like! If you think art and maths are polar opposites and cannot possibly be combined.  Take a look at fractal art, made by programming by clicking here.
  • You can develop software to complement any of your other interests. Take, for example, Sarah Parcak, a space archaeologist whose tools to uncover lost cities include programming.
  • Programming is fun!

Okay, so programming is super neat! But why should girls in particular learn to program?

  • Because, generally, we don’t!

Some girls simply haven’t heard of programming before, but most are subconsciously discouraged by their current knowledge of what it involves. Most of what we know of programming involves socially awkward super-genius guys, and all the female reps are unnaturally quirky.

media representation

Most of us are not super-genius guys or unnaturally quirky, so why would we think this is something we should be interested in? Since this is the extent of programming’s media representation, it’s no wonder that girls aren’t excited. If more young women learnt to program, gradually these stereotypes would break down, stopping the subconscious reluctance to get involved.

  • There’s also a massive underrepresentation of women in the IT industry and STEM fields.

According to the April 2015 Workplace Gender Equality Agency report, within the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services industry, only 28.1% of full-time workers are female. Young women aren’t going to be steered in this direction when the composition of the industry is 57.5% male. They’re more likely to see health care, for example, as an industry more suited to them, as 78.1% of the composition are female workers.

  • More of us should have the opportunity to pioneer the future, starting with programming and leading to anything!

We’ve established that programming is great and more women should get involved – so why rural?

  • Rural and regional girls in particular should learn to program because, if they turn out to love it, they can teach their friends and communities all about it.

Unlike in cities, there aren’t many opportunities or places to learn about programming in smaller communities. With rural girls demonstrating their programming skills, it increases female representation – even showing one ten-year-old girl that female programmers exist can influence her and make a difference. Introducing programming to your community is also an excellent way of letting people know about it – without the distorted stereotypes.

Programming is the basic tool underlying our everyday lives – we’re using someone’s programs in our phones, computers, and cameras. Cars. Calculators. Kindles. Someone had to program New Horizons and the Mars rovers. So many everyday things are programmed, and there are boundless possibilities of what you can innovate and discover with programming. You should give it a go – you’ll develop a new skill, exercise creativity, and have a lot of fun. In addition, just by learning, you’ll be taking the steps to increasing female involvement in an area that is super important to our society. That’s pretty fantastic. 

Country Women

Written by Louise Miolin – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

Sipping on tea and buttery slice, my mother and two of her friends sit at the kitchen table. My mother is the youngest of the trio, all of them with children all-grown-up (except for me, of course, the baby by ten years). As they sit and discuss everything from government policies to books they’ve read, to half price Bonds at Woollies, I emerge from my bedroom and smile to myself, basking in the radiance of these well rounded, exceptional women.

In a world still under the influence of domineering patriarchal values, I think it’s fair to say that strong female role models are of huge importance. I feel so lucky when I consider the women in my life who have proved to me that femininity does not equate to weakness; who have embodied in me a belief in myself and my ability to be my best at whatever it is I want to do – whether that be a scientist, a teacher, a mother, an artist, all of the above and anything in between.

As I look around my kitchen and hear these women laughing, I consider how far they have all come. Raised by their city dwelling mothers in a time where the expectations of a western girl were far more rigid than they are today, they have shaken off restrictions and adventured far from home.  Just like the Karri trees in our little rural town, they’ve formed strong roots and branched up and out. Between them, they’ve raised bundles of kids and grandkids, had hugely fruitful careers and overcome adversity in all shapes and sizes. They’ve found friendship with each other and within the community, and they’ve come to personify all the positives of rural life. These women are made of perseverance, of an aptitude to grow and learn, of humour, hard work, and love. They know how to be strong through softness, how to support, and how to lead.

It is with role models like these ones that we, the younger generation of country women, are able to achieve greatness. Often without realising it, they inspire us. They show us how to have a voice, and remind us that we matter. I sincerely hope that women like my mother and her friends realise just how important they are, and I know that all of their branches of kids, grandkids and friends scattered throughout the world – from rural Tasmania to Tokyo- are better people because of the immense strength embedded in them by their rural heroines.

“A Bachelor of Nothing from the University of Nowhere”


Written by Ellie Simpson – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

Oprah, Richard Branson and Coco Chanel.  All of these successful business people don’t have a university degree but made it to the top.

And now there’s me, Ellie. I have a Bachelor of Nothing from the University of Nowhere.

And I am proud.

I dropped out of school three months ago, which was a tough decision, and for the first time since then, I returned to the wonder that is high school. As soon as I got there, it was odd. For starters, I had to sign in as a visitor, and that’s strange enough. I had picked out one of my classic school outfits for my first day back and felt good about seeing everybody again after a very, very long time away. Mind you, I was only visiting to pick up some things I left behind, however, I wanted to make a good impression on my old peers. Walking around the school, listening to the latest gossip, admiring the fashion, wondering why the carpet still hadn’t changed from the 1960’s – it hit me that I actually missed it. I missed the hype of being at school every day, socialising five days a week and attending my favourite classes. I must admit, I wondered what university people wanted to go to and what they would study.

I think about it sometimes, too. If I stayed at school for my last year, would I have been an aspiring doctor? A psychologist? I figure that I will never know because I perhaps, I left behind my chance of attending uni in those school corridors. Either that or the ghastly carpet stole it from me. But, there’s always a but..

The ‘fear factor’ wasn’t enough to keep me in school. I would have been kicking myself (very hard) if I had stayed. As guilty as I sometimes feel about not going to university, I don’t know what I would even study there because it’s not aligned to my current passions. I’ve started a job in beauty, am blogging, and am doing something that I love for a living. Just because you fall outside of the status quo, doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful. You just need to make sure you’re working hard toward your ambitions. 

If you are at school and you want to apply for an apprenticeship or a full-time job, I say do it. There will be people (like your teachers and possibly your parents) that will not agree with you. But get them to read this piece and maybe they will understand. My mum did. Then there will be different people (like your friends) who will support your choice no matter whether you have a degree, or not. My friends did.

At some point in my life, whether that be three years from now or thirty years from now, there is such a thing as being a mature aged university student. I say it’s never too late to follow your dreams. And right now, it’s is 2016, and I am following mine. 

Book Review: A Little F’D UP: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word

unnamedBy Vesna Clark – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

Over the course of my last year of high school, I ordered and collected a large amount of feminist theory, from Mary Wollstonecraft’s, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)’, arguably the novel to spark the beginning of the First Wave of Feminism, to Naomi Wolf’s, “The Beauty Myth”. However, in such a turbulent time with exams and assessments coming from every direction, many books sat on the shelf untouched. Once the HSC exams finally came to an end I was back into reading, the first one on my list was Julie Zeilinger’s,  “A Little F’D UP: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word”.

Julie Zeilinger is the founder of, a blogging community for young women to express their concerns about gender inequality and to have their voice heard. Zeilinger has been named one of the “Eight most influential bloggers under 21” by Women’s Day Magazine and her writing has been published on a number of platforms.

I’ll start by saying this is not only a fantastic read for anyone who is new to Feminism, but also wonderful for someone who is familiar with feminist theory. I learnt a lot about the history of Feminism and the changing patterns within the various waves. Zeilinger spends roughly 70 pages giving the reader a step by step recount of not only the history of Feminism, but of gender inequality, pointing out where inequality began.

With the rise of religion and a shift in roles due to societal changes, women were no longer just gatherers, equal with their male hunter counterparts but also mothers, housewives and eventually becoming confined within the walls of their own homes, uneducated. She explains the goals of each wave of feminism, from First Wave’s primarily political and basic rights approach, to Third Wave’s goal of abolishing everyday sexism while simultaneously beginning a sexual revolution, acknowledging women’s sexuality.

One of the things I really loved are that there are textboxes scattered throughout the book, providing information concerning significant feminists, feminist causes and defining various terms. Thus, you will not find yourself lost within the pages, but further enlightened with a powerful understanding. Zeilinger takes us through a journey of her own experiences and what she has observed, particularly within her high school years, discussing bullying in a feminist context. She also eliminates myths and stereotypes surrounding Feminism along the way and provides shocking facts such as, “Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the United States”.

Zeilinger not only focuses on women’s issues within the western world, but devotes a whole section of her book to the horrific acts of female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, honour crimes and female feticide and infanticide. Again, she provides the awful reality, “More than 90 million African women and girls are subjected to female circumcision or other forms of genital mutilation”. I found I could relate to Zeilinger more than I could to Germaine Greer or Simone de Beauvior as she grew up in the same world, a part of the same generation. Through the variety of topics spoken about within this book, I believe the main point Zeilinger is making is that Feminism is a multifaceted, evolving movement and the need for it is everywhere, no matter where you live. Violence, oppression and war against women cannot be ignored and I believe by reading this text, you are beginning to educate yourself, inspiring change and action.