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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Here are 10 locals making waves beyond TNQ shores


    We may be small, but we are mighty!

    Size – not to mention being almost 2000 kilometres away from the nearest capital city – is proving no barrier for our savvy citizens, companies and organisations determined to make it big, make a change or make something great.

    We’ve got innovators and educators, businesses, artists, activists and athletes: all of them are making their marks on the national and world stages right now.

    Join TropicNow in celebrating the remarkable achievements of ten of our most go-getting locals.

    Did we miss someone or something great? Contact us here to let us know.


    Molly Steer
    The nine-year-old Edge Hill girl behind the reef-saving #StrawNoMore movement will make history later this year as one of the youngest people to ever deliver a TED talk.

    Molly Steer’s passionate, eloquent work on the campaign – which aims to rid local tuckshops of single-use straws – attracted the attention of TED organisers, who offered her the once-in-a-lifetime speaking gig with the potential to reach millions of people.

    Molly has also secured a pledge from Mother of Good Counsel to remove single-use plastic straws from their canteen, with another 15 local schools expressing interest in doing same.


    Thala Beach Nature Reserve
    The Oak Beach eco-resort has recently been recognised as one of just 127 Australian Green Travel Leaders by Ecotourism Australia.

    The honour is bestowed to Ecotourism Australia members who demonstrate a sustainable and long-term past, present and future commitment to ecotourism. Thala is one of just 20 tourism operators to recently reach the significant milestone of having ten years of Ecotourism Australia certification.


    Grace Lillian Lee
    The Cairns-based fashion designer, curator and mentor is one busy woman.

    Currently preparing for her repeat-role as Cairns Indigenous Art Fair’s WANDAN fashion performance, the RMIT Honours Graduate also works with remote ATSI communities to help locals develop their artwork into textiles.

    Ms Lee is steadily gaining a national name for herself, with a recent exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, a well-regarded curation collaboration at Adelaide’s Spirit Festival, and attracting rave reviews at the Virgin Melbourne Fashion Festival.


    Fang’s Chilli Sauce
    Watch out world: these locals have bite!

    The Cairns saucemakers are currently at the Hong Kong Food Expo – Asia’s leading food and hospitality trade show – showcasing their spicy sensations to a whopping 55,000 trade buyers from across the world, with hopes of exporting their locally-made hot sauce to a massive global audience.


    Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir
    More than 20 Cairns singers from the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir are currently in Europe with the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir.

    The choristers, aged between 10 and 17, left TNQ for Europe last Wednesday to kick off performances with Germany’s renowned European School, Slovenia’s Carmina Slovenica (one of the world’s leading vocal institutions) and to begin their ongoing collaboration with the acclaimed Vienna Boys Choir.

    The two choirs will perform a special show in Cairns in October this year.


    Gretchen Martins
    The managing director of Cairns boutique marketing and communications agency, The Social Set, has recently added another gong to her long list of international accolades, picking up a Gold Medal for her work on national anti-cyberbullying campaign, Rewrite Your Story, at Germany’s illustrious global WorldMediaFestival.

    Ms Martins’ work on the series of short films also nabbed The Social Set a Bronze in the Instruction/Education category at the New York Festival’s Film and Television Awards.


    Marinka Zanetich
    There’s more to Marinka than being TropicNow’s project coordinating whiz!

    Following her crowning as the 2017 Cairns Miss Show Girl in April, the multitalented Cairns woman came up trumps at last weekend’s North Queensland finals in Charters Towers, and will now be representing the region at the August finals at Brisbane’s EKKA.


    Kevin Ranger
    The Clifton Beach spearfishing champion is headed to Las Vegas this week to compete in the inaugural Freshwater Spearfishing World Championship.

    The 72-year-old Mr Ranger, who has claimed several national titles over his 52 years of spearfishing, will be one of just five Australians taking part in the global competition at Nevada’s Lake Mead, the first spearfishing contest to ever be held in freshwater. Go Kev!


    Cairns Regional Council (and friends)
    An award-winning study into Cairns’ tropical urbanism has been named Australia’s Best Planning Idea – Small Project at the prestigious 2017 Planning Excellence Awards.

    The study was a collaborative effort between Cairns Regional Council and a consultancy team including local firms Peddle Thorp, CA Architects and Total Project Group Architects. Cr Terry James said the project would ensure future urban growth would reflect the special character of the Cairns region.


    Allaro Homes
    The Cairns company is taking home building and design to the next level with its groundbreaking use of virtual reality technology that lets clients “walk through” their new home before it’s built.

    Allaro was recently awarded an almost-$100,000 Ignite Ideas grant for their innovative work with VR, a game-changing technology which business development manager Troy Cavallaro predicts will grow into a $33 billion global industry by 2021.