Vale Noeline Ikin.
Vale Noeline Ikin.

I heard very sad news this weekend about the death of Noeline Ikin.

The passionate rural advocate and former political candidate lost her battle with a malignant brain tumour at around 11.30am Saturday morning, according to her daughter Gabriella Gross.

I’ve only been in this part of the world barely a year so I never had the fortune of meeting Ms Ikin. 

I did speak to her briefly on the phone early in 2016 as she explained to me how she regrettably had to pull the pin on another challenge for the seat of Kennedy.

She sounded like a very determined and likeable woman in our brief conversation.

Ms Ikin was battling a brain tumour and was realistic to know she would need every ounce of energy for that fight and so reluctantly called a halt to her election campaign.

There were many tipping her to win the seat last year in what would have been her second tilt at federal parliament.

In 2013 Ms Ikin ran for the LNP for the first time against the apparently unassailable Bob Katter.

Mr Katter had held the seat for two decades, winning seven times straight, mostly with ease, and most recently in 2010 with a whopping two-party preferred majority of 68-32, taking twice as many votes as the rest of the field.

No one gave Ms Ikin a chance and she stunned pollsters, and probably Mr Katter himself when she outvoted him by a massive 10,000 votes in first preferences.

In the end Mr Katter clawed over the line on Labor preferences in a 52-48 Two Party Preferred vote.

Ms Ikin had achieved a phenomenal swing of 16 percent, probably surprising everyone except herself.

Noeline Ikin had strong belief but was also a dedicated servant of the people and communities of North Queensland. 

She was a former Etheridge Shire Councillor, long serving CEO of Northern Gulf NRM and though living and working in Georgetown, she was a passionate advocate for all northern issues and industries.

Her departure leaves a void that will be hard to fill.

See more tributes to Ms Ikin in Thursday’s paper.