Judy Walters

Karumba resident Judy Walters is Karumba's 2012 citizen of the year.

Judy fell in love with the tiny Gulf of Carpentaria township when she and English husband Dave first moved there in 1993.

"I was born in Gunnedah in NSW, which is where my mother is from," she said. "I lived there and Charleville and Cunnamulla and went to school in Gunnedah.

"We always lived in shanties down there, and it was just normal to us kids. A Christian mob came up in about 1965, when I was 14 or 15, and built a couple of Aboriginal houses.

"My family was one of the lucky ones that got one of them. That was my first house. It was a luxury to have your own yard and a bedroom and a kitchen.

"Mum and Dad were pretty strict on our manners. Even though we lived in shanties, she was spotless. My mum always had this saying: she would say 'You know the Queen? You remember she has blood in her veins like us, she sleeps like us, she eats like us and goes to the loo like us. You're just as good as the Queen. You look people in the eyes and don't do wrong by your family'.

"I was born in 1950 and left school when I was 15. That's what you did. You got a job and helped support your family."

Judy said this work ethic stayed with her as she and Dave chased work through NSW and up into Queensland. Even now, beyond retirement age, the pair still works part-time.

As a sideline, Judy is involved in community work that includes the Karumba Progress Association, the Karumba Beautification Signage Committee, the 2011 Beef Barra & Bulldust Festival and the Karumba Katch Seafood Festival.

Her efforts were recognised in the 2012 Australia Day awards when she was named Karumba's citizen of the year and took out its senior cultural award as well. One of the fundraiser she helps organise, the Karumba Cancer Cuppa, was named as the town's event of the year.

DESCRIPTION: Judy Walters, passionate about Karumba