Putting country into Jacaranda
WITH her strong Aussie accent and her love of animals, Natasha Shannon is set to bring a touch of country charm to this year’s Jacaranda Queen Quest.
The latest candidate to nominate for the annual Jacaranda Festival contest is a self-confessed ‘cowgirl’, who spent much of her childhood growing up in the back of beyond.
Born in Grafton, Miss Shannon’s parents decided to move when she was in early primary school.
“They wanted my sister and I to see a bit of Australia before we settled down,” she said.
They took off to the north-west of Queensland, past Mt Isa, to a station called Lorraine – an area Miss Shannon remembered as ‘flat and red’.
From there they lived in the hills of Atherton and also on Bribie Island.
But it was their move to Walcha in the NSW Northern Tablelands, where Miss Shannon got her first job working on a sheep stud, that the country life became her passion. “That’s where I fell in love with it,” she said.
Returning to Grafton seven years ago, Miss Shannon has stayed true to her upbringing, owning her own horse ‘Rocket’ and campdrafting in her spare time.
Next semester, she will begin a Certificate II in Animal Care at TAFE and she has hopes of later joining the mounted police.
Currently Miss Shannon is not working due to illness, and said she hoped being involved in the queen quest would divert her attention to something positive.
“I thought Jacaranda would be something to keep my mind off things and keep me busy,” she said.
Miss Shannon’s fundraising plans have a distinctive outback flavour – a ute show plus a country music festival. She is also looking into a rodeo or campdraft.
“I want to get into the country side of things,” she said. “I want to do things people haven’t done before and get more people into the area.”
Miss Shannon described the Jacaranda Festival as ‘a lot of fun’.
“It’s great for the community and it’s an eye-opener for people who are visiting to see the trees, the parade and the dress-ups.
“You’ve never seen so much purple in your life.”
She had one tip for festival-goers: “Don’t park under the trees when they’re in bloom,” she said with a laugh.