The Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network (QRRRWN) together with their partners and sponsors are proud to announce the winners of the annual awards program. The awards program is one way of celebrating the success of RRR women and the men who support them, and we applaud all the entrants for their contributions to RRR communities.  

 Award Categories
 QRRRWN Small Business Owner of the Year

Julie Brown grew up on a cattle property in Central Queensland. At 17 she moved to Brisbane to begin a part-time Bachelor of Business at QUT and search for full-time work. After graduating Julie moved to Rockhampton for the Mater Hospital and The Heart Foundation, and then back to Brisbane for The Phillips Group as a communications consultant. There she learned invaluable lessons in communication and community consultation.  But the bush beckoned.  In 2000 Julie moved to Longreach to take on the role as Promotions Manager for Longreach Pastoral College.   Thanks to new friends Longreach felt like ‘home’.  In 2003 she assumed the role of Associate Director – Corporate Services.  Julie now lives on her family property with husband Adrian and their 2 children.  Julie started her business Coola Cozzies as a result of the drought, a need for income and a belief in herself led to the start of a new adventure. 

 QRRRWN Professional (RRR) Woman of the Year

Kayleen Freeman feels that she has the great privilege of being an educator of future generations. Kayleen has been a practicing rural secondary Teacher, for 27 years where she has had significant influence over the growth and development of youth. For the last 6 years Kayleen has co-ordinated the Girls’ Aspiration and Resilience program in her school. In 2015 Kayleen instrumented the inclusion of a number of girls from the South Burnett area to attend the 2015 QRRRWN conference in Biloela. Two of these young ladies went on to receive NQCW bursaries. Kayleen was nominated by 2 separate people for this award. 

 QRRRWN Leadership Award

Jane Williams has been involved in Health Care in Central Western Queensland for 23years.  In 2012, - the early days of the drought, Jane and a number of health colleagues at the coal face(or dry paddock)so to speak, could see the problems and needs of rural families, and that action needed to be taken.   There were a number of issues identified, 1) coordinated service delivery of multi-agency drought relief and Mental Health Training, 2)Dispelling of rumors,3)Capacity to refer people who needed immediate help to a variety of providers.  Areas of assistance included financial advice, health and well-being assistance, financial assistance with bill payment, Paperwork for drought and Household assistance, education on Mental Health and Well Being to communities and providing a direct pathway referral to where assistance was required.   The Central West Rural Wellness Group was born.

 QRRRWN Volunteer of the Year
RRR Story Teller of the Year

Alyssa Venning and Amanda-Lyn Pearson are otherwise known as the Crack-Up-Sisters, and that name if perfectly apt. The Crack-up Sisters have been telling stories for the past 7 years. They have bring laughter, fun and joy to country Australia with different stories of different places. The Crack-up Sisters are country born sisters who have created characters to share stories of rural, regional and remote women. The characters, Twiggs and S.T.Ruth collect stories from rural towns and retell them through comedy, knockabout acrobatics and whip cracking.

The Crack-up Sisters are comedic representations of all women from all walks of life. They promote women getting in and giving it a go, the feats, the failings and the reality of women on the land. They take their stories around Australia to remind everyone to not take life to seriously and to get in and have a go – no matter how silly it may feel.

Alyssa and Amanda-Lyn are proud to promote RRR women through their storytelling and art. They support fellow RRR women, helping out with exercise classes and telling their personal stories to help keep positivity thriving among country women. Along with the show, The Crack-up Sisters tow a 20ft trailer as their stage, set up a 8mt high rig and pull it all down after each show. They drive over 60,000kms each year to make sure their stories reach anyone who needs to hear them. This in itself promotes and showcases the energy, hard work and dedication of RRR women.

 QRRRWN's Inspirational Woman (65+)

 Inspiring Young Women's Leadership Awards
 QRRRWN Young Woman with a Vision (under 16 years)

Carmen Sowden and her younger sister own, care for and show cattle under their stud name of 5 Star Limousins. Carmen works with people in the cattle industry showing and preparing animals for the local shows and Ekka. Last year in the 2015 she had an outstanding year showing cattle. She won a number of awards at local shows but the highlight was when she won at the Ekka. Carmen’s vision is to educate younger people about showing cattle. She is creating goals for herself and reaching them. She believes that showing isn’t about skill but it is about the exhibitor’s mindset. Carmen plans to work with some of the greatest in the industry and in the world. She is a full time student, works with her cattle and has on off farm job to save for her trip to America to continue her education in showing.

 QRRRWN Young Woman with a Plan (16-19 years)
Jessica McNamara has a goal of being a teacher and has set her plan on how to get there and what she needs to do along the way. Working with children, educating them and bringing joy to their faces every day is the main reason she is pursuing this career. As Vice President of Student Council and Student Council Class Representative at her school, a member of the school Peer Skills Program, Assistant dance teacher, Bronze Duke of Edinborough Participant, volunteer with Relay for Life and Blue Care Door Knock Appeal, Jessica has little spare time. Part of her plan includes taking extra classes through the school of Distance Education and fitting these in around her full time schooling. Jessica is becoming a regular at QRRRWN events, she attended the Biloela conference in 2015, the Ekka High team in 2016. The data drought and recovering from illness have impacted Jessica’s schooling, but she will not let that hinder her broader education. Jessica believes that location is not a barrier if your vision is clear and strong. Her main aspiration is to become a part of her local community (no matter where it is) to make a difference by educating the future generations.

 QRRRWN Young Rural Women's Award (20-30 years)
Jessica Kerr fits the old saying ‘you can take the girl from the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl’ perfectly. In 2009 Jessica graduated from Charleville State High School, was awarded Charleville’s Rural Ambassador in 2013 where she went on to represent South West Sub Chamber at the Queensland Royal Show (Ekka), and received the people’s choice Award. Jessica has a string of awards and recognition for her work in RRR communities, including being crowned the Charleville Shows Showgirl and Miss Charity, and runner up at regional finals for South West Sub Chamber in 2014. Last year Jessica graduated From University of Queensland (Gatton) with a Bachelor of Applied Science. In 2014 Jessica became a member of Queensland Shows Next Generation committee, of which she is now secretary. Jessica is working hard to ensure both herself and ‘Next Generation’ keeps growing the connections with organisations throughout Queensland, to allow the development of relationships between city and country.

For more information on QRRRWN’s Awards Program phone 1300 795 571.

To enquire directly about the awards process, please email fiona@qrrrwn.org.au

2015 Award Winners

Business Category

Joy McClymont

Community category

Heather Ellis

Professional Category

Leanne Kruss

Volunteer Category

Kiri Broad


Sally Cripps

PO Box 1568

Toowoomba, QLD 4350
Phone: 1300 795 571

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