Meet the 2019 Rural Ambassador finalists

Meet the 2019 Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador finalists

Life & Style
 The 2019 Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador finalists.

The 2019 Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador finalists.


Eleven young people will represent their communities as part of the Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador Awards at the Ekka.


The Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador Competition is conducted by Queensland Ag Shows. Each year entrants compete at local shows and then at sub chamber finals to represent their region in the state final held at the Ekka.

Successful entrants are given the opportunity to meet and network with like minded representatives from around the state, around the country and around the Commonwealth.

Rural Ambassadors get the opportunity to meet state and federal decision makers and leaders in agriculture and education, be able to input their point of view, ask the hard questions and make important contacts.

They do not have to be a 'university graduate', they just need to have the desire to stand up for rural Australia, have a basic agricultural and rural knowledge, and be prepared to 'have a go'.

Here are the finalists and their stories.

Matthew Castino.

Matthew Castino.

Matthew Castino - North Queensland Sub Chamber, Cairns Show Society

Matthew Castino, Cairns Show Society, is representing the North Queensland Sub Chamber.

Matthew has extended his role within the agricultural show movement from a competitor in the stud arena to an associate judge and also as a steward and announcer at a number of local shows across northern Queensland.

Matthew is no stranger to Queensland ag show competitions - in 2011 he was the state runner up in the prime cattle judging and has also previously represented North Queensland Sub Chamber as their Rural Ambassador in 2014, and was lucky enough to be awarded the South Australian exchange program.

Matthew currently works for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as a farmhand, working alongside scientists assisting with various research/trials and farming operations.

Outside of work, Matthew has an interest in breeding and presenting quality cattle that meet the market requirements - especially genetic trends that will continue to evolve and transform the herd. Matthew hopes that this competition will further develop his public relations and marketing skills to promote rural shows across Queensland.

Leonie Nichols.

Leonie Nichols.

Leonie Nichols - South Burnett Sub Chamber, Blackbutt Show Society

Leonie Nichols, Blackbutt Show Society, is representing the South Burnett Sub Chamber.

Leonie is currently working as a property hand at The Valley, Blackbutt. This role has allowed her to expand her agricultural skillset through helping with the day-to-day running of the property, as well as working as a bartender at the local Radnor Hotel.

Leonie's agricultural passion is showing and breeding stud Droughtmasters and in 2014 she established Cambroon Park Droughtmasters. That year she was also lucky enough to win the state finals of the young judges at the Ekka, and went on to represent Queensland at the national finals in 2015 were she placed third.

She hopes to use the title to work within the community, especially the schools to encourage youth to get more involved in the shows. She is an active community member attending local events such as the Blackbutt Avo Fest, Anzac Day services and of course the local show.

Roisin Dunne.

Roisin Dunne.

Roisin Dunne - South East Queensland Sub Chamber, Beaudesert Show Society

Roisin Dunne, Beaudesert Show Society, is representing the South East Queensland Sub Chamber.

Roisin has been involved not only within Queensland agricultural shows but also Maffra Show in Victoria. She was fortunate to compete in a number of Queensland ag show competitions, from Queensland young judges to the Miss Showgirl awards.

Her agricultural passion is in the dairy industry, in particular cattle genetics and the importance of pursuing the ideal cow for productivity, profitability and confirmation.

She carries this passion over into her career where she works on the family farm as well as being a field officer for Norco Cooperative. She hopes that this competition will allow her to extend her knowledge of what other show societies are doing to innovate and reinvigorate the show movement.

Roisin would like to be a Rural Ambassador because she sees it as another step to continuing to strengthen the show movement. She believes that the competition is an important part of succession planning for the future of our shows.

Hamilton Walker.

Hamilton Walker.

Hamilton Walker - Darling Downs Sub Chamber, Bell Show Society

Hamilton Walker, Bell Show Society, is representing the Darling Downs Queensland Sub Chamber.

His involvement in his local show began a few years ago when his family moved to the Bell area. Both Hamilton and his father assist with grounds maintenance and setting up for the annual show.

Hamilton believes that because social media continues to grow and expand, shows, especially the smaller ones, need to increase their online presence to ensure that they are reaching the younger generation.

Hamilton hopes to use the awards as a way to provide a truthful and insightful understanding of political policies affecting rural Australia.

Hamilton has graduated from the Ventura College in California USA with three associate degrees and only recently moved back home to Bell, where he is currently working at the Dalby Saleyards.

He enjoys breeding Santa Gertrudis cattle and playing tennis and is currently working towards becoming a competitive player and coach.

Sarah Scarffe.

Sarah Scarffe.

Sarah Scarffe - South West Queensland Sub Chamber, Wandoan Show Society

Sarah Scarffe, Wandoan Show Society, is representing the South West Queensland Sub Chamber.

Sarah graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Communications and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Public Relations, Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Since graduating she was fortunate enough to work on a cattle property in Saskatchewan, Canada. She has now returned home to Queensland and has started working for Western Downs Regional Council as a library programs officer.

In this role, she coordinates marketing and social media content for the libraries within the council.

Sarah is no stranger to the Ekka and has previously represented the South West Sub Chamber as a finalist in the Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl Awards in 2014.

Her show involvement doesn't stop there, she combines her skills in communication with her passion for the agricultural show movement, especially her local show, to assist with social media and website content.

Sarah loves reading and is an avid podcast listener. She has an interest in politics and policy and enjoys consuming content that both informs and challenges herself.

James Warren.

James Warren.

James Warren - Central Highlands Sub Chamber, Clermont Show Society

James Warren, Clermont Show Society, is representing the Central Highlands Sub Chamber.

James grew up around the Clermont Show and spent most of his childhood competing in anything from show jumping to junior cattle judging, and has also tried his hand in the pavilion with the arts, lego and photography competitions.

In recent years, James has become more involved in the committee and is currently the bar steward. James works as a station hand at Wilmot Cattle Co where he is expanding his knowledge on the benefits of regenerative of grazing.

James aims to utilize this knowledge to help expand his own business in contract mustering.

James has a number of hobbies including scuba diving, sailing and spending time with the tools of his trade - dogs, horses and drones.

James' passion for drones doesn't stop as a hobby and you can often find a drone assisting with the cattle work.

James wants to be a Rural Ambassador to help promote the rural areas and the opportunities that are available both in agriculture and living rurally.

He aspires to be an approachable advocate for agricultural shows and industries, and encourages the next generation to become a part of and embrace these opportunities.

Olivia Lindley.

Olivia Lindley.

Olivia Lindley - Central Queensland Sub Chamber, Marlborough Show Society

Olivia Lindley, Marlborough Show Society, is representing the Central Queensland Sub Chamber.

Olivia believes that the Rural Ambassador Awards is just the start of a bright future in the agricultural industry and hopes that she can become a strong leader for younger generations.

Olivia currently works for Blue Ribbon Stockfeed, where she coordinates and runs the warehouse as well as doing their marketing.

In recent years, Olivia has increased her exposure to the agricultural show movement, especially around the Rockhampton region. She competes in a number of local show events including the Australian Stock Horse Challenge, hack events, cattle showing and even modelling for local shops on show day. She has also assisted with penciling and judging activities.

She currently studies Animal Science majoring in Vet Nursing as well as Animal Reproduction and Nutrition.

Olivia isn't a stranger around the campdraft and cutting arena, and has won multiple competitions around the region.

Olivia has two main hobbies; sewing, where she creates her own clothing that she wears to social gatherings, and playing sports, which keeps her fit and healthy.

Brianna Hockey.

Brianna Hockey.

Brianna Hockey - Burnett Sub Chamber, Monto Show Society

Brianna Hockey, Monto Show Society, represents the Burnett Sub Chamber.

Brianna is no stranger to the agricultural show movement and currently holds a number of positions; she is a local member of Monto show where she is the Miss Showgirl and Rural Ambassador coordinator.

Brianna is also the Burnett Sub Chamber treasurer and secretary as well as the president of the Queensland Ag Shows Next Generation Committee.

Her job as a lawyer has seen her work both rurally and in the city. She has recently returned home to commence work as a lawyer for the Finemore Walters and Story firm in Childers.

Brianna has been involved with ag shows as long as she can remember, from entering baking with her grandmother to picking flowers to enter in the pavilion with her mum.

Brianna was also fortunate to represent Burnett Sub Chamber as their Showgirl in 2010. Even with a busy lifestyle, Brianna finds time to escape the office and takes time to enjoy the great outdoors as well as cooking.

Myles Newcombe.

Myles Newcombe.

Myles Newcombe - Near North Coast Sub Chamber, Gympie Show Society

Myles Newcombe, Gympie Show Society, represents the Near North Coast Sub Chamber.

Myles grew up attending local and Royal agricultural shows, exhibiting Charbray cattle for his family's stud.

Myles has utilised his skills learnt through exhibiting to lend his hand at judging both prime and stud cattle classes, including junior judges and paraders competitions at the odd show. He has also won his fair share of show competitions, including champion parader and young judge.

Myles is a keen believer in the correct utilisation, development and sustainability of the land. He enjoys developing country both with pasture and infrastructure.

Myles is currently the president of the Gympie Australian Stock Horse Branch, where the committee runs the annual futurity in August each year.

Myles wants to use the Rural Ambassador platform to promote and stimulate, not only the younger generation but anyone who wants to become involved in the agricultural industry. He would also like to promote his local region of Gympie and its productive land.

Allycia Bennett.

Allycia Bennett.

Allycia Bennett - Central and North West Sub Chamber, Longreach Show Society

Allycia Bennett, Longreach Show Society, is representing the Central and North West Sub Chamber.

Allycia's show involvement began in high school where she exhibited livestock from meat sheep, stud Merinos, flock Merinos, wool, dairy cattle and horses.

She was fortunate enough to represent Queensland at the 2011 national finals in the fleece judging competition.

In recent years, Allycia has been the steward for a number of different sheep classes at the Longreach Show.

It's safe to say that Allycia enjoys all things sheep, especially Merinos, but she also has an interest in beef cattle and training working kelpies. Allycia currently works as a station hand at Powella Station near Aramac.

Like a lot of people who are passionate about agriculture, Allycia's hobbies are based around her work, which includes training and trailing working dogs, campdrafting, challenging and show horses.

However, outside of this she also enjoys health and fitness, particularly strength training, CrossFit and competitive weightlifting.

Allycia hopes that the Rural Ambassador Awards will allow her to become further involved in the show movement, and to use it as a platform to educate and inspire the younger generation to become more involved in agriculture and agricultural shows.

Angela Gee.

Angela Gee.

Angela Gee - West Moreton and Brisbane Valley Sub Chamber, Boonah Show Society

Angela Gee, Boonah Show Society, represents the West Moreton and Brisbane Valley Sub Chamber.

Angela hopes that the Rural Ambassador Awards experience will allow her to act as an advocate and spokesperson not only for agriculture and rural Australia, but also the strong role that shows play in promoting the industry and uniting our communities.

Angela has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and went on to complete her Graduate Diploma in Education at QUT.

She currently lives in Toowoomba, where she is a high school teacher at Wilsonton State School.

Angela has a unique agricultural interest in apiculture, which is the technical term for beekeeping, and she hopes to grow her interest in this industry.

She is also hoping to increase the knowledge of the importance of bees in our society. Angela has had a large involvement in her local show, Boonah, during high school she would exhibit in the cooking, photography and vegetable sections.


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