GEORGIA O’Sullivan was still in kindergarten when she set her sights on becoming Australia’s first female prime minister.
She had reached year five when Julia Gillard took the top job after the leadership spill and brought Labor to the 2010 election, which led to a hung Parliament.
“It was the worst moment of my life,” Georgia joked. “I decided then I’d be the first to be elected by the people.”
Fast forward 12 years and Warners Bay High school captain Georgia is preparing to sit her last Higher School Certificate exam, economics, on Monday.
She plans to move to Canberra to study political science, international relations and law.
The Newcastle Herald has followed Georgia and her twin sister Jacinta since they started in the same Eleebana Public class as twins Kristan and Tiani Kolbas and Maxine and Alexis Regan in 2005.
Everyone except Georgia has finished their final exams, while Maxine left school in year 11 and works for Aurecon.
The Herald reported when the twins finished year six they had swapped classes on April Fool’s Day to trick their teachers.
The girls – all now 18 – said while they were still occasionally mistaken for each other, being a twin had taken on a new meaning as they started forging their own paths.
Maxine and Alexis’ parents decided at the end of year 10 it was best for them to move to two private schools.
The girls were adopted at five months old from Papua New Guinea and are each other’s “wingman”.
“They wanted us to have our own separate identities, not as twins,” Maxine said.
“I am more laid back and it didn’t bother me going with Alexis’ decisions, but they wanted me to start making my own decisions.”
Alexis said the sisters had gone to school, socialised with the same friends and lived together, which had caused some arguments.
“But that first day getting up and putting on a different uniform to Maxine was so hard – she’s my backbone, when issues arise she’s the person I go to.”
Maxine said they had “completely different personalities”.
“You annoy each other, but you don’t want that spot filled by anyone else,” she said.
“I was okay with it, but worried if something went wrong I would not be there. When I left my school to start work I knew if she was in trouble, I could be there in a heartbeat.
“The people you grow up with become your family...but being adopted means our only bloodline here is our twin.”
Meanwhile, Jacinta said she didn’t like being a twin.
“You don’t have your own personal identity, it’s not ‘Jacinta’, it’s ‘the twin’,” she said, although she said having a sister for support, motivation and to study with through the HSC was invaluable.
Georgia said comparison was constant.
“There’s always ‘Who is the smarter one, the clumsier one, the hotter one.”
The sisters aren’t fazed about being separated. The longest they’ve been apart is two and a half weeks, when Jacinta was in South America and Georgia in New York.
“But I think we had better conversations when we were apart,” Georgia said.
“We were Face Timing and actually cared about what each other was doing.”
Kristan said she had considered moving to Sydney, but was unsure if she could leave Tiani.
“I love being a twin,” she said.
We’re always together and she’s always there for me, like my best friend. We’re the same person. We used to get the same scores on the same tests.
Their relationship deepened around the trial exam period, when Kristan developed a mystery rash she said could have been brought on by stress.
It covered her body and required a week in hospital, followed by another week of in-home care and disrupted her study preparation.
“Tiani couldn’t bear to see me crying,” she said.
“I wanted to leave school but I got through because of her and my family and friends. I can’t believe I did it.”
The girls said they were sad to leave school – Georgia said she “cried the entire graduation day” – but ready for the future.
“I’m keen as,” Jacinta said. “I’m keen to do something I love, for responsibility, to be an actual adult!”
“Rev head” Maxine said she thinks often about her dream to be a V8 driver – she has a certificate three in automotive qualification.
Alexis is considering the emergency services; Jacinta is planning to study architecture; Kristan is deliberating between nutrition and dietetics or personal training while Tiani wants to operate her own business, perhaps in interior design.
“We'll see each other every few years and be able to pick back up where we left off,” Tiani said.