Julia Harpham was the winner of the Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year Award at the 2017 NSW Women of the Year Awards.
School teacher, cattle farmer, refugee advocate and Mingoola community legend, Julia Harpham personifies civic leadership.
Her work with a vast number of local community groups in northern New South Wales saw her and husband Philip awarded Tenterfield’s 2017 Citizen(s) of the Year. Most notably, Julia championed a grassroots resettlement plan for African refugees that transformed her community and addressed the problems of an ageing and declining rural population. Julia worked with refugee advocacy groups and government organisations to locate refugee families, welcome them to Mingoola and provide the support needed to grow into the community.
Welcoming four families (29 members) to Mingoola has allowed the town to reopen its school and provides permanent seasonal workers for local farmers. Julia and the Mingoola Progress Association’s model successfully connects refugees to regional Australia, breaks migrant misconceptions and shows hope to other deteriorating regional communities.