Northern Rivers Echo
Last week I was pleased to announce that the 2017 Lismore Electorate Woman of the Year is Julia Harpham from Mingoola.
Mingoola is a small township on the NSW-Queensland border which like many rural communities over the years has seen a dwindling & ageing population. The local primary school closed and local farmers were unable to find labourers to help with manual work.
Following the flood in 2011 the Mingoola Progress Association resolved to implement a Community Action Plan to rejuvenate the area.
Julia Harpham & the community undertook this project with vigour and enthusiasm.She came into contact with Emmanuel Musoni from the Great Lakes Peace Development Association, who was helping east African refugees, now Australian citizens, from rural and agricultural backgrounds, settle into their new homeland.
From there Julia and Emmanuel have worked together to bring three families (29 members) to the Mingoola area to live and work. This has meant the school has reopened and farmers have permanent seasonal workers.
This social experiment is a huge success and is looking at being replicated in other Australian communities.
Julia is a warm hearted and lively person who loves people from all walks of life. She thrives on diversity and has no problem relating to people and is always happy to give a helping hand wherever it is needed.
On presentation of the award, Julia was quick to recognise her husband Philip and the Mingoola community.