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 aging 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.
Julia and the Mingoola Progress Association’s model successfully connects refugees to regional Australia, breaks misconceptions of migrants, and shows hope to other deteriorating regional communities. Julia’s commitment to her community has most recently been recognised through being awarded REX Airline Regional Woman of the Year.