Jacaranda Queen's Party

2019 Jacaranda Queen's Party

Friendlies Discount Pharmacy

How long have you lived in Grafton: 22 years, born and raised.


What do you like about living here: I like having such a close-knit community, for example whenever there's tragedy, we all come together and support one another or whenever something good happens, like Jacaranda for example, we all come together and celebrate.


How do you spend your spare time: I enjoy quality time with family and friends, going on road trips, playing around with make-up and cuddling with my pets.


Why did you become a Jacaranda Queen candidate: For the experience, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I hope to learn and grow as a person during this time.


What would it mean to you if you were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess: It would be an honour and mean the world to me. It would prove to myself that with hard work and passion you can do anything.

2019 Jacaranda Queen

Ashton Blackadder

Sponsored by:

Goodstart Early Learning Grafton

How long have you lived in Grafton: 22 years, all my life.

What do you like about living here: I love that we are a close community, with a rich heritage and beautiful country.

How do you spend your spare time: In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the Clarence Valley, visiting local bushlands and beaches.

Why did you become a Jacaranda Queen candidate: I would like to gain new skills and confidence, and meet new people. 

What would it mean to you if you were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess: I would be very proud and honoured to be selected to be an ambassador for Grafton.

2019 Jacaranda Princess

Dana McKew

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Sponsored by:

Rotary Club of Grafton Midday

How long have you lived in Grafton: I have lived in Grafton my entire life (19 years).

What do you like about living here: I love how community-oriented Grafton is. I also love all of the wonderful nature that surrounds Grafton, such as the river, beaches and national parks.

How do you spend your spare time: I like to spend my spare time getting creative through art, sewing and photography. I also love to spend as much time as I can with both sides of my family.

Why did you become a Jacaranda Queen candidate: I have always loved the Jacaranda Festival and I have always wanted to get involved. I also think this journey will allow me to grow and develop confidence within myself.

What would it mean to you if you were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess: To be chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess would be a privilege that would allow me to represent our community that I know and love.

2019 Queen's Party

Zahli Stevens

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Sponsored by:

Village Green Hotel

How long have you lived in Grafton: Seven years.

What do you like about living here: I like that it is a small country town with a lot of history and a great family community which I'm proud to be raising my son in.

How do you spend your spare time: When I'm not at work you will find me spending time with either my son and family or at the gym.

Why did you become a Jacaranda Queen candidate: Originally I became a candidate to be alongside my dear friend Hayley Hedges, but more so for the opportunity to further increase my public speaking skills and to see what goes into making the Jacaranda Festival. Also putting myself out there to meet new people. 

What would it mean to you if you were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess: I would love the opportunity to represent Grafton, expand my public profile and be a role model for the younger generation.

2019 Queen's Party

Ashleigh Sampson

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Sponsored by:

Westlawn

How long have you lived in Grafton: Five years.

What do you like about living here: I love the tight-knit environment and the community involvement. The stunning beaches, rivers, towns and rainforests of the surrounding area. My favourite part of living in Grafton is the amazing relationships we formed since being here.

How do you spend your spare time: You will see me spending time drinking coffee, catching up with friends and family or just chilling out at home with my partner and dog.

Why did you become a Jacaranda Queen candidate: As I have not lived in Grafton for very long I believe it will be a great way to involve myself more in the community and to see another side to the Jacaranda Festival. I feel it will be a great way to meet new people and form new friendships.

What would it mean to you if you were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess: To me becoming queen or princess would be a great accomplishment - to become an ambassador for the town and attending community events would be a great honour and something to be truly proud of myself for achieving.

2019 Queen's Party

Hayley Hedges

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Sponsored by:

Southside Pharmacy

How long have you lived in Grafton: I have lived on the outskirts of Grafton in the village of Coutts Crossing for my entire life (21 years).

What do you like about living here: I like that Grafton is such a homely town. Not only have I lived in Grafton for my whole life but I feel as though I have grown alongside Grafton. Over time I have seen Grafton change substantially, almost always for the better, from years ago with the upgrade to the Grafton shopping centre, the highway upgrades, to the more recent changes with the new bridge being built, the Country University Centre which is about to open, and the new jail on the outskirts of Grafton bringing new jobs and life to the region. Grafton is the area where almost all of my family resides and we all have a very strong connection to the area. I love that I can walk down the street any day of the week and run into friends or family, and also be greeted by many people that I do not know as it is a very friendly town.

How do you spend your spare time: I spend my spare time in many different ways. During winter I am involved in netball at the Grafton Netball Association as an umpire and player. I also assist with coaching on the odd occasion. I play Oztag during the summer season. I enjoy going to the Saraton Theatre and enjoying the live entertainment provided in Grafton, whether it be at the Village Green, Roches, the Jacaranda Hotel or the Crown. I also keep a keen eye out for other events in Grafton such as Eat Street, markets, the show and speedway.

Why did you become a Jacaranda Queen candidate: I became a Jacaranda Queen candidate because of the close connection I feel to Grafton as my hometown. I would like to give back by supporting the Jacaranda Festival, which is the focal point of our beautiful town of Grafton. Having lived in the area my whole life I have a wealth of knowledge of the region and believe my personality embodies the Jacaranda Spirit.

I also feel that it is an opportunity for me to meet new people in the area and build on my skills in both public speaking and communication.

What would it mean to you if you were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess: It would be a great honour if I were chosen as Jacaranda Queen or Princess. I would be proud to represent Grafton in this way. It would embed my connection in the area and add my name to the history of Grafton, which would be a very proud moment for both myself and my family.

2019 Queen 's Party

Holly Hastings

Sponsored by:

Matron of Honour Suzanne Campbell's connection with the Jacaranda Festival is a long one - so long in fact it began before she was born.


"My parents met at the Jacaranda Festival in 1946 so it's been a big part of my life. It's a unique celebration of Grafton and has meant a lot to me and my family for many years," she said.

The retired high school teacher and community volunteer was looking forward to her official Matron of Honour role as part of this year's Jacaranda Queen Party.


"My daughter was Junior Queen in 1999, which was really good experience for her. It's a huge ask for young girls to step up and become the public faces of the festival and give prepared and impromptu speeches, so being there to help and reassure them is a big part of this role," she said.

Mrs Campbell said it was a great feeling to be involved with the girls so closely and watch their confidence grow in the lead-up the festival.


"It's very rewarding to see their social skills and attitudes towards life develop and grow. As an English teacher I always enjoyed helping students gain confidence in the public speaking and debating arena so it's nice to be able to put those skills to use again," she said.

Mrs Campbell said she hoped to see all the candidates be the best versions of themselves and become great ambassadors for the city.


"It will be a hard job for the judges to decide who will take out the crown," she said.

2019 Matron of Honour

Suzanne Campbell

Sponsored by:

The crown is the symbol of the Jacaranda Festival, the highest honour the festival can bestow on a young woman of this city.

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Copyright 2019 Grafton Jacaranda Festival Inc.

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