Earlier this year, senior student, Timmy Watson travelled to Canberra as a winner in the ABC’s national Heywire competition for 2011. Winners are selected on the strength of their written entry in the competition, giving them a chance to raise and discuss issues affecting young people in regional and rural Australia. Timmy’s strength of character is not only a testament to his commitment to education but an inspiration to others, who, like Timmy, are often torn between two countries – two worlds. Timmy’s winning entry is reproduced below.
I grew up in Hodgson Downs but have to board hundreds of kilometres away in Alice Springs during school term.
Being a teenager back home in the top end is really good.
You can have lots of fun playing sport, hanging out with friends and spending time with your family going fishing and hunting.
Sometimes we’d drive for two hours to Katherine for shopping, I love living at Hodgson Downs.
But there is a problem.
If you want to finish your education then you have to leave your family and community to go to a senior college hundreds of kilometres away.
When I finished year 10 at the school in Hodgson Downs, I went and did a one year course at the cattle station we call Wallabaroo near Minyerri.
We did nearly every kind of cattle work and started learning other kind of work like engineering and mechanics.
I was getting really good at the cattle work by the time I graduated last year.
After that my mother sent me to St John’s College in Darwin but I quit after two terms.
So I went to board at Yirara College in Alice Springs but boarding in central Australia, you sometimes get homesick and you miss your family.
There’s only one thing that can change your homesick life and that is to go and do something that’s not boring.
When you do that you can enjoy yourself but when you’re doing boring things then your homesickness will get worse and worse.
This is my life now, living at two different countries but when I finish senior college I want to go back home and work on a cattle station.
Being a cowboy you do so much more that just cattle and horse work.
You learn first aid, go out bush, build dams and poison dingoes.
Every time we go back home for holidays, Dad and the station manager come to the community and pick me up. They take me to the cattle station so that I can make money to pay for my school.
I love it out bush. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, live with my family and work with cattle, like my dad and grandpa.