NSW Councillor Profiles

  2017/18 ICPA - NSW Council

NSW State Council 2017

Back Row (Left to Right) -- David Butler, Bruce Paynter, Kate Treweeke, Irene Lund, Helen Ponder, Claire Butler  Front Row (Left to Right) -- Tanya Mitchell, Rachel Brindley, Nerida Healy (and baby Zoe), Jennie Shrimpton, Skye Bragg. ABSENT -- Kate Herring


Bruce Paynter

Bruce PaynterBranch.  NSW/Vic Lone Members

Background: Bruce has an extensive background in education and has been a familiar presence at the State Conferences, which he has been attending over many years as a Lone Member.

Bruce began his educational journey as a boarder. He achieved his Diploma in Teaching, Technical with Honours in Practical Teaching and Psychology in 1981. Then became a TAFE NSW Trade Cabinet Making teacher before joining Knox Grammar School in 1987 as an Industrial Arts Teacher. In the ensuing years Bruce recorded a high level of involvement in all aspects of teaching and boarding school life. He gained significant experience in budgeting, financial reporting and property management in his capacity as Property Manager, before taking on the role as Rural Liaison Officer. Bruce and Marianne will be retiring in the near future, and look forward to being more involved with ICPA NSW.  Involvement in the Army Cadets, Australian Rugby and the NSW Rural Fire Service adds to the mix of experience Bruce brings to ICPA-NSW.

Bruce was elected onto State Council at the 2016 State Conference in Griffith where he took over the role of Secretary and then in 2018, at the Mudgee Conference, he was elected President. Bruce is married to Marianne who is also involved in the educational sector, and they live on a property at Gloucester where they run a small cattle stud.  Bruce and Marianne have two adult sons who are self employed tradesmen, who live near by with their families.


Kate Treweeke

Branch: Lightning Ridge/GoodoogaKate Treweeke

Portfolio: Tertiary Education

Background: Kate lives on a family farming enterprise with her husband, Michael and his parents, Joan and Rory Treweeke. Their property is situated north of Lightning Ridge and 20 kilometres south of the Queensland border. Kate and Michael have two children: James, 19 and Zoe, nearly 16, who were educated in a small rural school just over the border and finished/finishing their secondary schooling in Victoria. James had a gap year at home and commences an Agricultural/Law degree at Armidale University in 2016.

Kate became involved with ICPA because of the historical family involvement in ICPA that was always present in conversations all year round. One day she became Secretary then President of the local branch, Lightning Ridge/Goodooga and it was in 2011 that she joined State Council. She is not sure why she was asked but now that she has been on Council Kate knows how the process works in recruiting councillors and feels privileged that Council thought of her.

Somewhere along the line Kate started as the Publicity Officer and Top Wire Editor for three years as well as stepping up to Vice-President (all without actually a holding portfolio). She found herself, at the beginning of 2015, President of ICPA-NSW. Kate feels she has learnt much over the years from the meetings attended, the people she meets and the Councillors she gets to mix with while she is on State Council and feels it is very rewarding when ICPA has successes and can see some way ahead.


Nerida Healy


Nerida HealyBranch: Wentworth

Portfolio: Early Childhood

Background: Nerida grew up and attended school in the small Victorian town of Robinvale, most notably known for its multiculturalism.  With her husband Laurie and their four young children, she now lives on a mixed enterprise farm on the banks of the Lower Darling River.  When not busy with sheep and cattle, tractors are ploughing dirt for cereal crops or spraying table grapes.  The children have just started their journey with Broken Hill School of the Air, and baby Zoe attended her first ICPA conference in Bourke this year. 

Nerida is currently President of the re-formed ICPA Wentworth Branch which came out of recess in 2016.  There are many young families in the area who knew the importance of ICPA in helping parents educate their children in rural and remote areas. The branch has now attended two conferences and is looking to further establish their presence in the Wentworth area. 

After the closure of the small Pooncarie School, Nerida has also helped in establishing the Pooncarie Outreach Children’s Service (POCS), of which she is president.  POCS provides a fortnightly outreach program offering a classroom experience and extra-curricular activities for the isolated children of the Pooncarie district.   Nerida considers access to quality early childhood education vitally important for all children in Australia, and is keen to explore creative ideas to achieve this for rural and remote children.  


David Butler

 David Butler

Branch: Nyngan

Portfolio: Travel

Background: David and his wife Michelle, are from a grazing property in the Nyngan district where David is currently President of the Nyngan Branch. Their families have been involved with ICPA for as long as they can remember. They have three adult children – Jacqui, Rachel and Mitchell. The children were educated at a small isolated school, Marra Creek and then, for Rachel and Mitchell, in Nyngan for the last couple of years so Michelle could pursue work opportunities. This meant travelling 160 kms each day for the children to get to and from school.

Boarding school in Sydney was the place for secondary education. Jacqui has completed a Bachelor of Policing at the University of Western Sydney, Rachel has just finished a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Sydney University and Mitchell has finished his first year of a Bachelor of Agribusiness at UNE Armidale. These experiences mean David is very familiar with what it takes to educate a child and the difficulties you can encounter along the way. As a State Councillor, David believes he will enjoy working with fellow councillors in their endeavours to try and close the gap between the costs of educating children in rural areas compared to their city counterparts.



Helen Ponder

Helen Ponder

Branch: Louth

Portfolio: Distance Education / Rural Schools

Background: Helen along with her husband, Waldo, live on 'Avondale', located 200kms west of Bourke and 100kms north west of Louth in western NSW. They run a sheep/ wool enterprise. Their three daughters completed their primary education via distance education through the Bourke Walgett DE Centre and later on, the Dubbo School of Distance Education. For the main part Helen was the home tutor, helped along the way by a terrific governess who worked for she and Waldo while the three girls were all in the school room at the same time (about 2 ½ years). They remain great friends. Helen also had the benefit of a wonderful VISE tutor who, with her husband, visited the family for about a month each year for three years. Helen’s appreciation of the VISE network is second to none!

Helen herself grew up in western NSW and completed her education via correspondence, as it was referred to ‘back then’. The method of delivery was leaflets in the mail and cassette tapes with about a six week turnaround of the lessons from Sydney. Things have changed! Similar to herself, her girls went onto boarding school for their secondary education. Kate completed her HSC in 2014 and in 2015 took a gap year working on a cattle station in Western Australia before starting at Armidale uni studying a Bachelor of Education.

2015 sees Anna and Jennifer in Years 9 and 7 respectively and coping with life in a boarding environment well. At least that is to say they have not beaten their parents home yet! After 13 years in the school room Helen is now enjoying helping on their property. She is looking forward to time on ICPA-NSW State Council and hoping she might have some valuable input for such a dedicated body supporting the education of rural and remote students.




Tanya Mitchell

Branch: Bourke

Portfolio: AllowancesTanya Mitchell

Background: Tanya and her husband Scott manage a property 40km north-east of Bourke on the Darling River. They have four children, 3 of which are currently at boarding school and one still at home who attends one of the local schools.  Both Tanya and her husband were educated via distance education until going off to boarding school for their secondary education.  After school Tanya travelled overseas, attended UNE Orange and lived in Sydney before eventually returning to Bourke. Tanya works as the Administrator for 2WEB Outback Radio and jointly owns ‘Carole’s of Bourke’, a shop in the main street of Bourke with three other local ladies.

Scott’s father was one of the founding members of ICPA and both the Stephenson and Mitchell families have been involved in various ways ever since. Tanya is currently the Bourke Branch President and looks forward to giving back to ICPA as without it she would not have had the education she received, nor would her children have the opportunities they experience now.

Despite the difficulties of distance and costs of educating children in the bush, Tanya believes it is still a great place to raise a family.



TREASURERRachel Brindley
Rachel Brindley

Branch: Balranald

BackgroundRachel lives at Magenta Station, a sheep property between Balranald and Ivanhoe with her husband Tim and two boys, Noah, 5 and Archie, 3. Noah has just begun schooling via Broken Hill School of the Air.

Rachel grew up in Melbourne with little idea of life outside metropolitan areas. In her late teens she travelled extensively and for many years worked as a chef at ski resorts, thoroughly enjoying the small community life that exists outside of the tourist season. Although Rachel had always thought she would end up back in Melbourne, she began to realise that city life wasn’t for her, and so made the drastic decision to work for a year as a jillaroo on a Northern Territory cattle station, Moolooloo.  Rachel loved working as a jillaroo and felt she had finally found her place in the world … she was also fortunate that she met her now husband Tim.

Tim and Rachel moved to Tara, Barcaldine to help manage a cattle and sheep property and from there to Noorama Station, Cunnamulla. Rachel began a small business in rural employment whilst there which still occupies much of her time. The family then moved to Magenta Station between Balranald and Ivanhoe where they still reside.  

Whilst living on different properties across NSW, QLD and the NT, Rachel has seen the many and varied difficulties that confront families in isolated areas; from not enough data for schooling, frequently dropping out landlines, mobile resource units facing closure to difficulties in accessing preschool and many other issues. It is because of these inequities that Rachel has decided to become involved in ICPA and why she feels the changes that ICPA are pushing for are vitally important for the future of all rural and remote kids.


Skye Bragg

Branch: Bourke

Background: Skye and her husband, Murray live on Beemery Station, between Bourke and Brewarrina in far western NSW. They have been in the Bourke district for 22 years and have raised their three daughters on the station.  All three girls completed their preschool years through Dubbo School of Distance Education, before attending primary school in Bourke where they travelled 150kms a day on the school bus.

Their three daughters all attended boarding school in Toowoomba.  Twin girls Ali and Sophie left school in 2015 and in 2016 both worked in boarding schools in Oxford in the UK. Ali is now at UNE in Armidale studying Animal Science and Sophie is at Sunshine Coast University studying Paramedic Science. Their youngest, Georgia is in Year 11 at Fairholme College, Toowoomba.

Skye believes that living and working in far west NSW has provided many opportunities and affirms that it has been a great place to raise their family.  In addition to the station, Skye runs a small jewellery business from the shearer’s quarters and enjoys the ‘simple things’ in life.

Skye has been involved with ICPA for many years, first starting with the Louth Branch whilst living in the area and since 2011 has been the Bourke Branch Secretary.  Skye is looking forward to being a part of State Council in the role of NSW Publicity Officer and is passionate about improving educational opportunities for all bush kids.


Annabel Strachan 1

Annabel Strachan

Branch: Louth

Portfolio: Rural Schools

Background: Annabel and her husband Jim live on a property 120kms south west of Bourke and 70kms west of Louth and have lived there for 34 years. They have three children Ben 33, Alec 31 and Lachlan 23.  Ben and Alec started schooling at Bourke Distance Education Centre then moved to Louth Public School travelling 150kms each day by private vehicle as there were no buses.

The three boys attended boarding school in Sydney.  Ben is a qualified carpenter and spends six months in Australia and six months in Scotland, where he plays cricket for Falkland.  Alec is a qualified mechanic but decided to change careers and is currently studying Business and Commerce at University in Western Sydney.  Lachlan is studying Primary School teaching in Sydney at Notre Dame University.

Annabel is very involved in the Louth Public School and has been the School Administration Manager there for 16 years.  She has been a member of the Louth branch of ICPA since its inception and has helped co-convene two ICPA State Conferences, one in 1998 at Cobar and more recently in 2017 at Bourke. 

Annabel has seen many isolated families benefit from the hard work of ICPA and looks forward to contributing towards helping ensure education equity for all isolated students.




Katelynn Herring

Kate HerringBranch: Broken Hill

Portfolio: Special Education

Background: Kate met her husband 12 years ago in Broken Hill while studying accounting at a local firm. She continued to maintain her career in accounting while her husband Wesley managed Glenora Station 110km east of Broken Hill for 5 years. They then went back to Wesley's family place Gum Park Station 120km NW of Broken hill in 2010 where they took over the family business. Kate then became a Jillaroo for her husband for 2 years. She had their son Angus in 2011 being born at 29 weeks which shocked them all and they soon discovered what being a parent was about.

All of her experience and knowledge with special education has come from her personal journey with her son Angus who was diagnosed with ASD in 2014. The diagnosis changed her as a mother, and as person, realising how different things were going to be with him, and them as a family. Over the last 3
years Kate has tried many different types of therapies and googled many different topics.

Every day is different in our world of ASD and I look forward to working with the special needs portfolio with great passion. 


Irene Lund

Branch: NSW LonesIrene Lund

Background: Irene has been involved in education most of her  life. Both parents were primary school teachers and her early life was spent in one teacher schools in rural NSW before she later moved to Sydney.  Irene trained as a Maths teacher and after marrying Andrew, they moved to Canberra and now have three children and four grandchildren.

When their youngest child was 6, Irene returned to teaching and spent 20 years teaching Maths in mostly Year 11/12 colleges as well as some time in the central office.  Andrew and Irene retired in 2007 and 2008 and became volunteers with Outback Links, the volunteer arm of Frontier Services.  Together they have completed a number of placements, mostly in Queensland but also in WA, doing such things as property sitting, schoolroom help, general domestic duties and general property duties.

It was on one of their early placements that Irene discovered a pile of ‘Pedals’ magazines and was introduced to ICPA.  On subsequent placements with different families Irene heard about involvement in ICPA and in 2012 was challenged to join.  Since then, Irene has attended the State Conference in Cooma as an observer and in 2015 attended the Federal Conference in Brisbane as a Lone Members’ NSW delegate. Irene is committed to equity in education for rural and remote children.