2019 Australian Delegation

SWY Australia is proud to introduce the Australian Delegation to the Ship for World Youth 2019.  We are excited to have this amazing group of young people representing Australia and bringing their knowledge, culture, passion and commitment to the SWY program.  

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Regan Ashley

National Leader - WA

Regan participated in the 28th Ship for World Youth in 2016 as Assistant National leader and will return to the ship as the Australian National Leader in 2019. Regan is excited to be leading a group of amazing young individuals on this life changing international program.


Regan is a project manager with the Western Australian Department of Health where he currently leads on a project to increase access to healthcare for rural and remote patients through the use of telehealth. Regan has also worked across many sectors including aviation, tourism, industry associations and agriculture.  His diverse career has allowed him to live overseas, including in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.


Regan studied a double degree of Economics and Politics & International Studies at Murdoch University and also studied Chinese Politics at CityU in Hong Kong through a Federal Government Scholarship. 


Regan is committed to serving others and is an active volunteer in not-for-profit organisations. He is currently President Elect of the Rotary Club of Crawley, District Chair for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and on the Australia Japan Youth Cultural Exchange committee. Regan was elected to the SWY Australia Executive and has worked to build awareness and the capacity of the Australian alumni organisation since 2016.

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Anna Parker

Assistant National Leader - QLD

Anna grew up in Maryborough, Queensland, where she began studying the Japanese language at age 11. Her passion for the Japanese language and culture culminated in Anna spending ten months abroad studying in Fukushima, Japan, as an Australian Institute of International Understanding (AIIU) exchange student in Year 10 (2009). As a result of this experience, Anna has become passionate about sharing her love of the region in which she lived, given the impact of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters on this area.


Having completed a Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations, Japanese)(University of Queensland), a Certificate in Social Sciences and Humanities at Sciences Po (Paris), and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) (University of Melbourne), Anna returned to North East Japan in 2016, where she accepted a permanent teaching position in the fields of English and Social Science, in the city of Sendai. During her time here, she was a volunteer at a children’s care institution, and with Special Olympics Miyagi ballroom dancing and tenpin bowling teams. Anna also coordinated her school’s peace education project through the Australian National Maritime Museum’s War and Peace in the Pacific 75 program, assisting her students to meet with and interview Japanese survivors of the Sendai Air Raids. Consequently, Anna chaperoned Japan’s representatives of the program to Hawai’i, where Australian and US participants met for a week-long friendship program in December, 2017. In April 2018, Anna returned to Australia and has since completed her Master of Teaching (University of Melbourne), having researched the policies addressing educational access for Japan’s Indigenous Ainu people. 


Anna’s love of foreign cultures, languages, and history led to her interest in participating in the Ship For World Youth program. She is most looking forward

to the educational opportunities provided not only through the array of courses

on-offer, but also from rich discussion and relationship-building with all participants onboard.

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Otis Heffernan-Wooden

Assistant National Leader - VIC

Otis is currently in his third year of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics & International Studies and History at the University of Melbourne. Otis is passionate about improving relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, an interest that has included periods of working for Reconciliation Victoria. 


Otis received a New Colombo Scholarship that allowed him to study at Udayana University in Indonesia, an opportunity that emphasised to him the importance of Asia in Australia’s future. Through Ship for World Youth, Otis is looking forward to immersing and familiarising himself with Japanese culture, as well as the cultures of the other nine nations onboard. 


Otis also has a strong belief in the need to acknowledge the history of war and received the 2014 Spirit of Anzac Prize and the 2018 Armistice Tour. As the Ship for World Youth will visit Darwin in 2019, Otis believes that this is a key opportunity to commemorate all those who fought during World War II, as well as a chance to celebrate new friendships and continue to strengthen international relationships. 

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Tegan Brooks


Tegan currently works at the Queensland Department of Transport, where she works on public transport service contracts. In her four years with the Department, Tegan has had the opportunity to work across a number of areas, from managing aviation services for rural and remote areas of Queensland to planning public transport services for the Commonwealth Games.


Previously, Tegan was enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy as an Electronics Technician, maintaining and repairing all communications equipment both on-board ships and at shore establishments across Australia. While deployed on international operations, Tegan had the opportunity to visit and learn about unique cultures in a number of countries and counts these opportunities to understand Australia’s international relations better as a highlight of her time in the Navy.


In recent years, Tegan was afforded the opportunity to participate in, then go on to coordinate and manage, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) youth leadership program. Tegan led a team of ten volunteers in planning for and facilitating the week-long program, aimed at developing the interpersonal and professional leadership skills of promising future leaders. RYLA helped Tegan realise the benefits of creating networks across communities and ignited her passion for helping others to realise their potential.


As part of the Ship for World Youth, Tegan is looking forward to learning more about other cultures, gaining an understanding of issues being experienced on a global scale and discussing the part that young leaders can play in our future.

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Riley Dolman


Riley is a young indigenous man, currently living in Perth, Western Australia. Riley’s mob are the Arrernte from Central Australia. on his father’s side


Riley recently graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Sports Science and Exercise and Health. In 2019, Riley is planning to commence further study and looks forward to continuing learning and developing himself in this area of passion.


Currently, Riley volunteers with Fair Game Australia; a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve access to sports and healthy lifestyle choices in under-serviced communities throughout rural and remote Australia. Riley is passionate about the Australian Football League (AFL) and enjoys travelling to these communities, engaging with youth and kicking a footy around to support them make healthier choices.


Riley supports the concept of “global citizenship” and is passionate about volunteering as he believes that both the recipients of the generosity as well as the volunteers themselves gain invaluable experiences that they may not have otherwise had. Riley also believes that it is sharing through this generosity are priceless and are key in working towards reducing inequities around the world.


As a delegate on the Ship for World Youth, Riley is looking forward to building connections and learning more about the other participating nations. He looks forward to sharing his own culture and exploring the differences between other cultures participating in the program.

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Catherine Gorham


Catherine is a primary school teacher in her home town of Cowra. She is involved with coaching the school soccer team, NAIDOC public speaking teams and learning the piano. Catherine is inspired to support quality access to education, particularly for students in rural and remote areas to enable them to reach their full potential. Catherine completed a Bachelor of Primary Education at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. During this time, she volunteered in the, ‘Refugee Action Support’ program tutoring refugee students in the Wagga Wagga community.


Catherine has been thoroughly involved in the Agricultural industry. She grew up on a fine wool sheep property near Cowra where she worked for a year after finishing school. Catherine later represented the Central West through the Royal Agricultural Society as a rural youth ambassador. She is now completing a Certificate III in Wool Classing to better understand the wool industry.


After completing her teaching internship in Katherine, Northern Territory, Catherine worked at Clyde Fenton Primary School and enjoyed working with indigenous students and the strong school community in Katherine.  She then spent two years working in stock camps for Heytesbury Cattle Company at Flora Valley station in Western Australia and Mt Sanford station in the Northern Territory. She particularly enjoyed mustering cattle on horseback and working with people from the local Aboriginal communities and across Australia.


Catherine is as passionate about children’s health as she is about youth education. In 2016, Catherine volunteered as a teacher in rural India for five weeks and implemented a school wide health program to reduce tobacco use and promote dental hygiene. 


Catherine has been involved with Japan’s culture and history through growing up in Cowra where a Japanese breakout occurred in a prisoner of war camp during WWII. She is now teaching her class in Cowra about Cowra’s connection with Japan, the World Peace Bell and the Cowra Japanese Gardens. She is looking forward to learning about other cultures, networking with youth leaders from around the world and discussing local and global issues aboard the 31stShip for World Youth.

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Anirudh Suthakar


Anirudh is currently a student at the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Finance. On top of his studies, Anirudh works as a tutor in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the university. Basketball is among the great passions of his life, and he has coached, and played competitively for over a decade.

Anirudh would describe himself as fundamentally curious. He is eager to learn about people – their stories, motivations and culture. This curiosity developed from his upbringing, which bridged the gap between a traditional Indian household and an Australian childhood. He has sought out opportunities to satisfy this curiosity, in whatever way they have presented themselves. Anirudh has spent a semester living and studying in Korea, where he played an active role in organizing Korea University’s annual International Student Festival. He has also enjoyed shorter programs studying economics, commerce and innovation in Taiwan, China and Japan. Beyond academia, he has tasted professional life as an intern at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in New Delhi. In this role, he worked to understand trade policy in the ASEAN region and its impacts on Indian industry. He also focused on building deeper business-to-business connections between India and Australia, a process that culminated in a book highlighting the opportunities available in both nations.

Anirudh strongly believes that, regardless of outward differences, people across the world all want similar things. Connecting with each other and building relationships to develop an understanding of this fundamental truth is the first step in building a more unified, better world. This is precisely the mission of the Ship for World Youth. He is incredibly excited to play a part in this ambitious initiative, and to have a lot of fun along the way!


Zoe Macpherson


Zoe is a proud Wiradjuri woman, who is involved in the Indigenous community in various ways. Since 2011, she has been involved with the Close the Gap Campaign - a campaign launched by Oxfam to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She was a member for her high schools St Mary’s Star of the Sea College Wollongong,Indigenous Students Committee for six years and led this committee between 2011 and 2016. She has also performed the Acknowledgement to Country at various events including the CEO Vincent De Paul Winter Sleep-Out and for Dame Marie Bashir - the former and second longest-serving governor of New South Wales. Zoe is also an executive member and the secretary of Australian Indigenous Oztag, where they are currently getting ready for the 2018 Tag World Cup.


Zoe is passionate about dance and trained in all styles including classical pointe technique until the age of sixteen. Zoe has had the opportunity to travel to the United States of America where she danced and performed at Disneyland, California Adventure Park, Hollywood Boulevard and Universal Studios. Zoe has also been involved in her local Life Saving Club where she achieved both her Surf Rescue Certificate and her Bronze Medallion Award. Zoe has also achieved her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Medallion.


Zoe loves learning about different cultures and customs, and is excited to be immersed in Japanese culture as well as of the cultures of the other delegate nations. She is also excited to be able to share her Indigenous heritage on an international level.

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Mary Pilkinton


Mary is passionate about social and environmental justice and is currently studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Human Geography at the University of Wollongong. She sits as a Student Councillor on the Geographical Society of NSW, and is the Secretary of her university’s Human Geography Society.


Having loved wildlife since a young age, Mary began volunteering at Taronga Zoo in 2013. In 2015, she moved into a paid position in Operations and Community Conservation. Mary is also a member of Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). As an NYLC member, Mary works with other youths from across Australia to coordinate national campaigns around wildlife and environmental issues. Mary also loves volunteering for wildlife surveying projects, and has participated in surveys on the Great Barrier Reef and in Tasmania.


Mary has also worked as a Young Carer advocate to share her story of caring for her father and brother and raise awareness about the caring responsibilities many young people undertake. Mary has also directed a short film raising awareness for Young Carers and served for two years as the NSW representative on the Australian National Young Carer Action Team.


Mary is very excited to be joining the 31stShip for World Youth as she looks forward to meeting international delegates and exchanging skills and ideas with them. She is also looking forward to sharing what she loves about Australia with the international delegates when the ship visits Darwin and Brisbane.

Lachlan Ryan


Lachlan is a proud Kamilaroi man from New South Wales and is actively involved in programs to help Indigenous youth. Lachlan is passionate about politics and law and he is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and International Studies at Griffith University.


Lachlan is fuelled by his passion for understanding various cultures and how policy and the law may impact various people. He would describe himself as curious and is always eager to learn about different cultures through various formats, such as stories. Lachlan’s passion developed from his upbringing as an Indigenous child and seeing how policies and laws not only affected him and his family, but the different cultures around him as well. Lachlan has sought opportunities to further his knowledge around this passion by undertaking various internships during his university studies with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, the Queensland Government, and Allens Linklaters which has allowed him to further explore his passion. Lachlan also currently interns with the in-house legal team in one of Australia’s leading global producer of sustainable distributed energy.


Lachlan believes that regardless of your background, we are stronger as a united force. He believes that by participating in the Ship for World Youth Program, he can continue to learn about impacts of policy and laws on global cultures while also discussing common global issues. Lachlan is incredibly eager to build strong networks among the delegates from around the world and explore new cultures along the way. 

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Jessica Bennett-Hullin


After receiving her degree, Jessica worked as a costume and set designer in Perth, Western Australia. Jessica enjoyed the hands-on team work in theatre but wanted to pursue her interest for helping others in a more meaningful way.


Through a friend, Jessica began volunteering in the disability services sector by facilitating camps for children living with disability. As a passionate and collaborative leader, Jessica leads a small team of diverse volunteers and is actively involved in other community projects.


As a result of her work within disability services, Jessica is currently completing her Masters of Public Health as she wants to make a positive impact on the lives of others.


Jessica is excited to bring her experience in the disability services sector and her interests of engaging others through theatre to the Ship for World Youth. She is looking forward to engaging in open and inclusive conversations about disability and health, while learning from the challenges that other international delegates face in their countries. 

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Laura Crossfield 


Laura currently works with refugee and asylum seeker children and youth within Australia’s immigration system. Within this role, Laura plans and implements programs and activities that target the developmental, physical, intellectual and social needs of the children, while ensuring programs promote self esteem and capacity building. This experience has developed Laura’s cross cultural skills, a skill set she hopes to further develop through Ship for World Youth. 


Previously, Laura working in the Darwin region for the Palmerston Council in the library sector as a children and program officer, creating program content for the Palmerston communities children and families. Laura’s experience living in Darwin means she is thrilled and honoured to be able to show the participating youth around Darwin when the Nippon arrives there as one of its port of calls. 


On SWY, Laura is looking forward to learning more about each of the participating countries cultures and traditions, sharing ideas on tackling global issues and making international friendships.


© 2019 by Ship for World Youth Australia Incorporated

ABN: 67 955 417 158

Ship for World Youth Australia Incorporated is a registered charity with the Australia Charity and Not For Profit Commission 

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