• Molly Hunt and Jennetta Quinn-Bates (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Two young Aboriginal women will be making their way to Sydney this month to gain experience in city newsrooms, after receiving the inaugural Walkleys Young Indigenous Scholarship.
Keira Jenkins

3 Mar 2020 - 2:43 PM  UPDATED 4 Mar 2020 - 2:55 PM

This month Molly Hunt, a Balanggarra and Yolngu woman from Wyndham, Western Australia, and Jennetta Quinn-Bates, a Baakindji and Yorta Yorta woman from Muswellbrook, NSW will head to Sydney for 12 weeks of experience with Junkee Media and 10 News.

The two women have won the Walkley Young Indigenous Scholarship with Junkee Media and 10 News First, supported by BHP.

Ms Hunt said she didn't believe it when she first heard she'd won.

On a plane when she missed a call from the judges, Ms Hunt said it took her some time to work up the courage to call them back.

"I was a bit worried," Ms Hunt said.

"In my heart I was like, 'okay Molly, you're not going to get this, how are you going to prepare yourself, how are you going to feel, don't get too upset about it'.

"I went home, sat in my room, hyped myself up a bit like, 'okay, ring them back, but you're not going to get it so just be cool about it'.

"When I rang her and she was like, 'you did good, the judges thought you did good in the interview', and in my head I thought she was going to say 'but unfortunately you didn't get the scholarship', but she was like, 'and they want to give you the scholarship'.

"A massive grin spread across my face and I was excited, I was beaming, I was happy. I went out and I told my family and everyone was quite excited for me."

Ms Hunt has worked in radio for a number of years as the ABC Kimberley Breakfast presenter and most recently with the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association in Darwin. 

When she was growing up in Wyndham, Ms Hunt said she never thought she could be a journalist. Now winning the scholarship is a dream come true, she said.

"I grew up in an area where I didn't see many journalists that looked like me," she said.

"It wasn't really a dream of mine because it was quite unrealistic. My goals growing up were quite simple, go to school, graduate and get a good job.

"Also I spoke broken English, my English wasn't great. My writing wasn't even good. So juxtaposed from that community girl, I'm now in media, I'm on radio, I'm a presenter, which is awesome."

Jennetta Quinn-Bates also said there weren't enough Indigenous faces on TV when she was growing up, and wants to have a role in changing that.

"There needs to be more representation of Aboriginal people in mainstream media and on TV in general," she said.

"Just to be that extra level of inspiration to our next generation, to make them see that they're capable of those kinds of roles and those roles are available to them if that's something they want to work towards.

"Being able to tell our stories from an Indigenous point of view is really important as the education that I got in school really contradicted what I was taught by my family with my dad being part of the Stolen Generations.

"I found my place in the media. Now I'm just loving the journey."

Ms Quinn-Bates has spent the past 12 months in Alice Springs, working as a reporter for the ABC.

She was at work when she was told she'd won the scholarship, and said she couldn't contain her excitement.

"I remember thinking 'oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting this call just yet,'" she said.

"Excitement came over me and I went and took the call, and she said 'congratulations'. I think I said to her she'd made my day, my week, my year, which it really did."

Ms Quinn-Bates said she's excited to meet new people, and learn more about the media industry, and this scholarship will enable her to do just that.

"Networking is paramount in this industry," she said.

"I'm just really excited to meet more people in the media industry, obviously learn from some amazing people in the industry.

"They obviously do a lot more TV so that would be really interesting to get a lot more experience in TV. Compared to the last 12 months where I've literally been in the middle of nowhere, it's pretty exciting to think that I'm going to be in the middle of the city with everything at my feet.

"It's scary but exciting."

While for Ms Hunt, moving to the 'big smoke' to experience a Sydney news room will be a chance to learn even more.

"I started off in the media in regional areas so I started a cadetship with ABC when I was 19, and then I worked my way up to Saturday brekkie and from there I became the ABC Kimberley Breakfast presenter," she said.

"I did that for a while and I feel like I've become a bit of a success in regional areas, I made an impact, I've made some connections, I've done a few stories that I'm quite proud of and I thought maybe it's time to take a crack at mainstream, I want to see how it's done in the city.

"I want to learn, I have a lot to learn. I want to come from a regional area and come into a big city like how do they do it, how can I learn."

New scholarship enabling Indigenous students to help their communities
A number of Aboriginal students in Western Australia have been awarded an inaugural scholarship to help them with their schooling many decided to go into the field of psychology to help decrease the impact of youth suicide.