2023 Jacaranda Matron of Honour Elect & Candidates
Matron of Honour Elect
DiMattia & Co
Grafton raised Renee Hankinson has always been interested in supporting our young citizens, and serving as this year’s Matron of Honour gives her the chance to take that passion into a new environment.
As a qualified youth worker with a background in high
school teaching, Renee brings a wealth of experience to the role of Matron and was looking forward to being there to support the candidates, sharing advice and offering encouragement where and when it was needed.
Renee was honoured to be nominated for the historical role and keenly embraces the diversity the festival promotes.
“I’m excited about Toby nominating as a Jacaranda candidate, and support the inclusion message the festival is promoting in the community.”
She is also keen to see all the candidates enjoy the experience and the opportunity to development new friendships as part of this special time in their lives.
Toby has lived in the Clarence Valley his whole life and when he’s not in real estate office you will most likely find him in a coffee shop or on a hockey field.
He said he nominated as a candidate to explore the unknown territory being offered for the first time in the festivasl’ history.
“When I found out it was possible to enter as a male I thought ‘why not’. I think it’s something a lot of guys would love to do but most are probably too scared to take the first step, so I was happy to do that.”
He said his favourite part of the festival would have to be
“Everything I take part in external to Jacaranda involves lots of people, which is great, so what better way to meet more people than by taking part in the biggest event on Grafton’s calendar.”
Toby said being a Jacaranda candidate was a massive opportunity to give back to the community by fundraising and promoting his hometown.
“If I can help the festival become bigger and better, even in the slightest way, then I think that’s a win. Plus everybody knows I can talk the leg off a chair one on one, but public speaking is a whole new ball game. Some personal growth in that area would be fantastic.”
AMMO Hair and beauty
Talissa or Tilly as everyone knows her moved to the Clarence Valley about a decade ago when she was 12. After trying Sydney life at 17 she moved back to her happy place in Grafton. “It never felt right being away.”
Talissa is nurse at Grafton Base Hospital and Queen Street Clinic where she gets to pursue her passion for nursing while giving back to the community as a frontline worker.
She was keen to run as a Jacaranda candidate as it offers a chance for her to contribute to building and creating a safe place for expression and creativity and give back to the community “while wearing a tiara.”
Her favourite thing about the festival is the “big, beautiful jacarandas” but also the impact the festival can have in supporting and encouraging the community to explore the things that make us uniquely individual.
“I want to connect with the community so that I can see first-hand how Jacaranda helps support and flourish all those involved. I’m also excited to just enjoy the ride with my fellow candidates, we have big plans, and I couldn’t imagine doing them with anyone else.”
Anytime Fitness Grafton
Sarah has lived in the Clarence Valley her whole life “and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
She decided to nominate as a candidate because she loves contributing to the community.
“I’ve been giving back and volunteering for Jacar anda events for the past few years. I’m eager to learn more about the community and meet new people, and being a candidate is going to be an amazing path of selfdiscovery, having push myself outside my comfort zone.”
Sarah loves nothing more than seeing the impact the festival has on the community and how people come together, and of course the gorgeous trees. Besides the personal growth and friendships she can’t wait to make along the way, she is also keen to increase her knowledge about the history of Jacaranda by being a part of it.
The crown is the symbol of the Jacaranda Festival, the highest honour the festival can bestow on a young woman of this city.