Miss Australia at Girringun 2016
Local girl Madeline Cowe, currently Miss World Australia, visited the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre recently.
Crowned Miss World Australia last July and runner up for Miss Universe in 2015 Madeline returned home briefly in between official Miss Australia engagements.
Madeline grew up in Murray Upper on a cane and cattle farm, just to the south of Tully.
“I feels very lucky to be able to grow up in the country side, surrounded by nice and friendly people,” Madeline said.
‘I grew up here in a region very close to my heart.
“One of my best memories is going swimming at the Murray Falls.
“I attended the Murray Upper School and have fond memories, especially learning about Aboriginal culture and songs in the local dialect.”
Madeline and her mum Sue, joined the Girringun artists for morning tea and for a casual chat.
The purpose of her visit was to choose an artwork to take to the Miss World International Pageant in Washington DC in December.
“Gifts from all the countries represented will be taken to the pageant by the competitors, Madeline said.
“Five of these gifts will be chosen, displayed on stage and auctioned for worldwide children charities during a gala.
“Australia is a new country in terms of white settlement but the Indigenous culture is so old.
“A gift coming from the artists working with the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre will so well represent Australia.
“I know it will be a hard competition in the US.
“So far, winning my Miss World Australia title is my biggest accomplishment.
“I worked so hard for it and have wanted to do it for such a long time.”
When she was very young, Madeline had no idea what she wanted to aspire to but later decided to study law, with child protection as a specific focus.
“I want to help, to make a difference.
“In remote and rural areas people can’t access such services.
“If you can make life better it is worth it.
“I’m a country girl.
“I can show where I came from and which opportunities I have had.
“I hope younger people will be inspired.’
Madeline’s dream wasn’t to be a model, but it was always in the back of her mind.
One day, ‘OZ next top model’ came to Townsville; she registered, got selected and moved to the next round.
She moved to Sydney for 2 months, started modelling and also began taking part in pageants.
“That’s how I got crowned Miss World Australia,” tells Madeline.
“Modelling is just showing clothes but with pageants you are able to be yourself and relay a message to the public.
“It is more fulfilling.
“It took a lot of dedication and I’m learning so much.
“It is the experience of a lifetime.’
“As Miss World Australia,” Madeline told us, “we visited Aboriginal communities with the Variety Children Charity.
“I went to Elcho Island, in Arnhem Land NT and the community was given a school bus for children with special needs.
The Murray Upper School will also benefit as Madeline will be providing a series of books, part of ‘The Honey Ant Readers’.
These are a series of learn-to-read books with complementary resources, developed for Australian Indigenous learners with traditional Elders, to make literacy learning relevant, meaningful, engaging and fun, using traditional language.