TOP 70: Northern Rivers' Most Influential #41-50

41. Nicholas Hamilton

Nicholas Hamilton.
Nicholas Hamilton. Marc Stapelberg

THIS Alstonville teen star was born in Lismore in 2000 and has quickly become a rising star in cinema.

His first claim to fame was winning the best Actor award at Tropfest 2013 for the short film Time.

He is known for portraying Rellian in Captain Fantastic (2016) and Henry Bowers in It (2017).

Hamilton has just finished shooting Danger Close, a film about the 1966 Battle of Long Tan during the Vietnam War, where he plays Private Noel Grimes. He will also be on flashback scenes of the upcoming 2019 sequel to It.

Last year, Hamilton launched Nic Hamilton Charity Apparel, an online apparel fundraising initiative, with portion of proceeds supporting Stomp Out Bullying.

 

42. Jenny Dowell

Jenny Dowell.
Jenny Dowell. Lyn McCarthy

JENNY Dowell was the popular mayor of Lismore for eight years from 2008 to 2016.

She became a prominent spokesperson for the town with an unflagging ability to promote Lismore's unique characteristics.

She dedicated herself full-time to the role and was a reliable presence at events around the town.

She was always noticed wherever she went thanks to the distinctive red "Lismore - Come to the Heart" logo printed on the mayoral sedan.

She was socially progressive, and keenly embraced Lismore's LGBTIQ community and the arts.

One of her signature campaigns was finally getting a new art gallery for Lismore, which took years of lobbying.

Mrs Dowell received an Order of Australia medal in 2017 for services to local government and the Lismore community.

 

43. Lismore bishop

The sixth Bishop of Lismore, Gregory Homeming.
The sixth Bishop of Lismore, Gregory Homeming. Cathryn McLauchlan

ORDAINED during a challenging time for the Catholic Church, there's no doubt Father Gregory Homeming knew his role would have its challenges.

But as predicted by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisherm he has brought light into the Lismore community.

Father Homeming was ordained as the sixth Bishop of Lismore in February last year.

Six weeks later, he was helping those who lost their bedding in the floods.

He was ordained as a priest in 1991 and in the position of Major Superior, frequently visited the Carmelite nuns at Goonellabah long before he came to be based on the Northern Rivers.

About 400 people, including 30 bishops, from across Australia gathered for his ordination as head of the Lismore diocese.

 

44. Michael Balderstone

Michael Balderstone.
Michael Balderstone. Marc Stapelberg

HE IS one of the most prominent activists and spokespeople to have emerged from the town of Nimbin in the last 40 years.

He is also one of the nation's most outspoken advocates of medical marijuana and has spearheaded many of the initiatives to decriminalise the plant.

Mr Balderstone is the Australian HEMP Party president, the Hemp Embassy president, and founder of the Nimbin Museum, as well as a co-founder of the well known MardiGrass festival.

He organises many of the Medican workshops in town, where people from all walks of life gather to share their stories and expertise on medical marijuana.

In 1992, along with a group of friends and artists, Michael also helped transform his shop into the Nimbin Museum which held much of the town's extensive history following the 1974 Aquarius Festival. The museum was later destroyed in a fire.

 

45. Tamara Smith

Tamara Smith.
Tamara Smith. Cathy Adams

ELECTED in 2015 on a wave of support following the broadly popular outcry across the Northern Rivers over the coal-seam gas industry, Ballina MP Tamara Smith is also the first Greens member elected to a regional seat in any Parliament in Australia.

In 2015 she dominated voting patterns in Byron Shire, winning by an overwhelming margin across all booths. In Ballina the Greens didn't win but had enough primary votes to get them over the line to oust the Nationals from what was once a safe seat.

A fourth generation Northern Rivers resident, Smith resides in Alstonville.

She was a secondary school teacher for many years and became a solicitor in 2012, working across social justice, aboriginal issues, and public education advocacy.

 

46. Jimmy Keogh

Jimmy Keogh.
Jimmy Keogh. Marc Stapelberg

IT'S a gig that has the best views, but can also be fraught with heartbreak.

But from breathtaking rescues to absolute tragedy, Jimmy Keough has pretty well seen it all.

As duty officer for Surf Life Saving on the Far North Coast, Mr Keough has long had a watchful eye over those in our surf.

Whether it's a warning about dangerous conditions or major incidents along our coastline, chances are he will be rallying the troops to ensure beachgoers get home safe.

When coastal incidents have resulted in a loss of life, Mr Keough has been quick to help push public safety information in a bid to prevent further tragedies.

He's also dedicated time to the community as a crew member of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

 

47. Michael Timbrell

Michael Timbrell.
Michael Timbrell.

ST VINCENT de Paul's Lismore executive officer Michael Timbrell has slept rough to raise money for the homeless and headed the Vinnies NSW flood appeal to assist Northern Rivers which helped hundreds of locals in need.

For more than six years he's been a man for the local people in crisis to help them recover by providing financial assistance and food, clothing and household items.

Previously, Mr Timbrell was chief executive of the Lismore Turf Club, ending a 17-year career with the racing industry.

 

48. Robbie Gambley

Robbie Gambley.
Robbie Gambley. Marc Stapelberg

ROBBIE Gambley's voice was among those who have called for the State Government to join a redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

And it's made a real difference. The National Redress Scheme began on July 1 this year.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse estimated 60,000 people had been abused as children in institutions across Australia.

Mr Gambley, who was assaulted by his science teacher in Bonalbo as a child, previously told The Northern Star the State Government's eventual decision to join the scheme would mark a fresh chapter for victims.

Shortly after Mr Gambley slammed the State Government for stalling on redress in March this year, NSW decided to join the scheme.

"It means people who have suffered for so long can live with some dignity," he said at the time.

In April, he received an apology over the phone from then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

 

49. John Mundy

John Mundy.
John Mundy. Contributed

JOHN Mundy was appointed as CEO of The Buttery in August 2014, continuing its long-standing reputation as a leader in therapeutic community model of drug and alcohol treatment.

Mr Mundy reports to the company directors and has day-to-day responsibility for the management of The Buttery.

He has held CEO positions in not-for-profit organisations in youth, community development and environmental sectors.

Last year, The Buttery joined 20,000 social enterprises in Australia in the roll out of its Buttery Private venture, a fee-paying wellbeing program which uses anevidence-based community therapy model.

Mr Mundy said they had developed a social enterprise to help more people in need and to generate additional income to help safeguard the future of The Buttery's free programs.

 

50. Niall Mulligan

Niall Mulligan.
Niall Mulligan.

COMING in at number 50 is the man responsible for a dedicated team of volunteers literally primed ready to save people's lives every day on the Northern Rivers.

Since starting at Lifeline, Northern Rivers Crisis Support Centre manager Niall Mulligan has answered numerous calls from people in varying degrees of emotional and psychological pain.

He is most definitely responsible for saving lives of people experiencing suicidal tenancies.

He tirelessly fund raises in the community as Lifeline Northern Rivers is responsible for generating over 60 per cent of its own operational costs through its retail stores and community fund-raising.

The Lismore centre answers about 21,000 calls a year of the total 850,000 calls taken by Lifeline nationally.

Mr Mulligan also organises and runs Suicide Prevention Training for Local Indigenous Communities.