2016/17 ICPA Federal Council


 2016 ICPA Federal Council

Back Row: Emily Gardner (Assistant Secretary), Judy Sinclair-Newton (Immediate Past President), Kate Gray (Treasurer), Amee Porter, Lynise Conaghnan, Joanna Gibson, Nikki Macqueen (Publicity Officer)
Front Row Jane Morton (Secretary), Kate Thompson (Vice President), Wendy Hick (President),  Beck Britton
Absent: Sally Sullivan, Jean Cashmore, Jane O'Brien


Wendy Hick

wendy-3sBranch: Mount Isa Branch of the Air, QLD

Background:  Wendy and her husband, Lloyd, live on their family owned and run cattle property “Thorntonia Station”, approximately 110 kms north-east of Camooweal near the Queensland/Northern Territory border.
Their two sons began their schooling with distance education through Mount Isa School of the Air with Wendy as their home tutor. The boys then went on to boarding school and are now studying at university.

While her children were learning via distance education, Wendy was involved in Schools of Distance Education Alliance (SODEA), The Materials Development Forum (MDF) and the Strategic Planning Team (SPT) in Qld.
Wendy has been involved with ICPA since her sons were a very young age and she looked forward to the day that her children would finally start formal schooling so that the family would receive a School of the Air radio, which enabled her to finally join in the Mount Isa Branch of the Air ICPA meetings. Wendy was the President and Secretary of the branch for several terms and was on the Sports for Bush Kids Committee, helping run the sports week for rural and remote students which the branch organizes each year.
Wendy became a Queensland State Councillor in 2010 and she held the position as one of the Qld State Council Vice Presidents for four years. Wendy joined Federal Council in 2015 and was elected as the Federal President at the 2015 Federal Conference in Brisbane.


Kate Thompson

Branch: Midlands, Tasmaniakate-thompson-2015

Portfolios: Tertiary (Leader), Boarding Schools & School Term Hostels

Background:  Kate lives north east of Oatlands in the Tasmanian midlands, with her husband David, on a mixed farm of merino sheep, fat lambs and Angus cattle. She works part-time as a community health nurse in their local area. Their two sons, were educated at the local rural school until grade 6 and then attended boarding school in Launceston until year 12. They both had gap years working on ski fields, vineyards and farms before heading to university. One has finished university and has returned to rural Tasmania to work.

In her spare time Kate enjoys her garden, reading and catching up with family and friends. Over the years she has been on various school and community committees including the local childcare centre and housing units for the aged, sporting, nursing, and the boarding school Country Parents and of course, ICPA since her boys were little.



Jane Morton

20160812_121333-2Branch: B/B/B (Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville) QLD

Background: Jane immigrated to Australia in 1977 after completing her nursing training in Birmingham, UK. Since then she has nursed in Birdsville, Marree and Oodnadatta, before marrying and running the family cattle station Pandie Pandie Station, on the Birdsville Track.

She supervised her three children whilst they studied by distance education for their primary school years, after which they attended boarding school in Qld.

Jane has been involved with ICPA in executive positions at branch level, (initially inspired by the Qld State Conference in Birdsville in 1989), also the Birdsville Social and Racing Clubs. After Pandie Pandie was sold, she moved to the Darling Downs where ICPA once again became her focus, especially since she now has two grandchildren growing up on Pandie too.


Judy Sinclair-Newton

20161109_165744-2Branch: Walgett, NSW

Portfolio: Curriculum (Leader), Distance Education

Background: Judy recently moved to Dubbo, NSW after spending much of her life living near Walgett in North Western NSW, running a mixed farming business.

Her three children all travelled by bus into Walgett for their primary schooling and then boarded away for their secondary schooling.

Judy has enjoyed being involved in many different organisations in her local community and joined Walgett Branch while her children were in primary school. As President of the Branch she convened the NSW ICPA conference in Walgett in 2007. Judy was awarded life membership in 2012 and is a patron of Walgett Branch.

Judy was nominated and elected onto Federal Council at the Longreach Conference in 2009. 2010 saw her elected Vice President at the Perth Conference and elected President in Darwin 2011 amidst much celebration around ICPA turning 40. After her term concluding at the 2015 Federal Conference in Brisbane she now fills the supporting role of Immediate Past President.


Kate Gray

20160812_132105-2Branch: Southern Downs, QLD

Portfolio: Rural Schools / School Travel

Background: Kate lives at Texas, on the QLD/NSW border where she and her husband, Andrew, run a commercial beef herd.

They have four children ranging in age from 13 - 19yrs. All the children attended Texas State School from Prep - Yr 6 and then continued on to Boarding Schools in Toowoomba and Brisbane.

Kate currently has a son completing an apprenticeship, another studying at University in Brisbane and two children still at Boarding school. Equity in education and the access to high quality, diverse opportunities for all rural and remote students is her priority.

She has a B. Com and sits on the board at St Margaret’s AGS in Brisbane. Her interests include swimming, yoga, travel and catching up with family and friends.


Emily Gardner

20160812_132015-2Branch: Midlands, TAS

Portfolios: Early Childhood Education and Care (leader), Tertiary.

Background: Emily is from Tasmania, right in the middle, half way between Launceston and Hobart at Tunbridge.

Her families are on a mixed farm and grow poppies for morphine and barley for malting, wool, meat sheep, and recently started a dairy.Emily and husband Richard have three children, who are all at a Secondary boarding school in Hobart. Given their proximity to bus stops and local school her children attended the local school during their junior years.

Emily has been involved with State ICPA for about 6 years, and is currently Tasmanian State President. She has been involved in a number of local committees from school, Girl Guides to agriculture. Emily loves bushwalking when time permits.



Jane O'Brien

20151109_165724-4Branch: Walgett NSW

Portfolio: Tertiary

Background: Jane O’Brien’s association with ICPA began in 1986/7 when she joined the fledging Goodooga NSW Branch. She clearly remembers her first meeting in the back room of the Goodooga Pub, with talk revolving around forming an A.I.C. motion to present at the upcoming Conference.

Members were concerned the rate wasn’t keeping up with the cost of boarding school fees! Some 28 years later ICPA and AIC along with LAFHA, YA and myriad other acronyms are now well and truly a part of Jane’s life. In 1990 Jane and husband Jim moved from Goodooga to Walgett and became members of the very active Walgett NSW Branch and is currently the President.

 Jane grew up on a farm outside Warren in central west NSW, attended the local central school and continued to boarding school in Sydney. Their 3 children were educated at the local catholic school before attending a primary boarding school for year 6 then onto boarding school in Sydney until year 12.

Jane is an active community member and over the years has had roles in many community organisations as well as assisting at the primary and secondary schools her children attend.


Nikki Macqueen

20160812_152148-2Branch: Kindon, QLD

Portfolios: Boarding Schools and School Term Hostels

Background: Nikki lives outside of Millmerran with husband Bill and their three children.

She joined Kindon ICPA Branch in 2011. After attending one meeting she was so impressed by what this fabulous organisation was all about that she volunteered to attend Federal Conference in Darwin and even presented a motion!

Bill and Nikki breed cattle and grow crops on his family property and their children are now fourth generation. Their three children are currently all attending boarding school in Brisbane and Nikki sits on a boarder parent representative committee at the girls school.

In their spare time Nikki and her family enjoy water skiing and, when time permits, she loves to sew patchwork quilts.



Joanna Gibson

Branch: North West Branch SA joanna-gibson-2015

Portfolios: Communications (Leader), Distance Education

Background:Joanna lives on Wilgena Station (approximately 700 km north west of Adelaide) with her husband James and three children. The children were taught via Port Augusta School of the Air with either a governess (in the earlier years) or Joanna as their supervisor. Now all three attend boarding school in Adelaide.

Joanna has been an ICPA member since the children were young and has been active at both a branch and state level. Currently she is President of the North West ICPA branch and also involved in school committees and local events. Joanna remains committed to seeing that children in the bush don’t miss out on opportunities to further their education.


Jean Cashmore

20161108_0830531Branch: Beacon, WA

Portfolios: Rural Schools / School Travel (Leader), Specific Education Needs

Background: Jean was born and raised in suburban Auckland New Zealand .

In 1990 Jean moved with her daughter to the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia where she worked for the College and then the Mines.

In 1998 Jean met Tim a 3rd generation wheat and sheep farmer from Beacon in Western Australia. In 2003 they became proud the parents of twin boys and to celebrate they bought the neighbors farm where they moved to and where their boys grew up learning all things sport and farming. The boys are now 13 and are in their 1st of 5 years of boarding school in Perth

Jean brings to ICPA her passion for Agriculture and Education. In her community she has been secretary/ treasurer of Silver Chain, secretary of school P & C, and Community Representative of School Council. Since 2013 Jean has been a member of various lobby groups, and is now very proud to be working beside an astute group of women on ICPA Federal Council.



Amee Porter

amee-porter-2Branch: Alice Springs, NT

Portfolio: Distance Education (leader), Curriculum

Background: Amee was born in rural Victoria, and went to school in most states by the time she finished high school.

Last year Amee had the opportunity to return to the family property, Curtin Springs Station (near Ayers Rock) where they raise Murray Grey cattle, make paper from native grasses and run a substantial tourism business.

New to remote education Amee found it as much as a learning curve as her daughter did - Distance education, class rooms at home, In-Schools, and IDL's all seemed like concepts they would never be able to 'get'. Amee became involved in the Alice Springs ICPA and took on the Secretary role, both as a way to meet and get to know new people in the region, but also to get a better understanding of how remote education works, it's challenges and rewards and to have a voice in making sure remote kids get quality education and access to educational experiences.

Amee is excited about the opportunity to be a part of Federal Council, and brings her and her daughters experience of main stream schooling as well as managing a diversified pastoral and tourism business.


Sally Sullivan

20161108_0832191Branch: Katherine, NT                 

Portfolios:  Specific Education Needs (Leader), Training, Early Childhood.

Background: Since 1998, Sally and husband Rohan have lived on Cave Creek Station, a stone’s throw from the famous Mataranka Thermal Pools.

Sally joined the Katherine Branch of ICPA that year when the oldest of her five children was doing Preschool through Katherine School of the Air. She has held Branch and then State Council ICPA executive positions ever since then, as well as being heavily involved in the Mataranka Primary School Council.

In 2016, Sally now has two boys boarding at St Philip’s College in Alice Springs and between them, the three girls are working on getting a helicopter license, doing a Cert IV in Vet Nursing and studying Health Science at UQ. Having experienced the emotional, educational and fiscal challenges of many facets of regional education: distance education, a small rural school, boarding, tertiary and VET systems, Sally is very appreciative of those who have come before her in ICPA.

In joining Federal Council of ICPA in 2016, she seeks to maintain the ‘fight’ to preserve and extend gains and ensure regional students are not forgotten by policy makers.

In her spare time??!! Sally likes to paddle in the river in her canoe (salvaged, repaired and gifted by her children) and wet a line. Needless to say, Sally’s family mostly eats beef.


Lynise Conaghan

lynise-conaghanBranch: Clarke Creek, QLD

Portfolios: Boarding Schools / School Term Hostels (Leader) Communications, Specific Education Needs

Background: Lynise is from Clarke Creek, 215 kms northwest of Rockhampton, where she lives with her husband Phil on the Conaghan family owned and operated Barmount Station Feedlot.

Mother to Andrew, Regan and Tessa, Lynise has a vested interest in education. A teacher and former school principal, Lynise has represented ICPA QLD Council as head of the Small Schools portfolio.

She is an active community member and in 2014 was announced as a winner in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards, recognised for her work to advance access to children’s education and digital services for remote families in the bush.


<< Back to About