Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D18 - 3 December 2004 

Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Awards 2004 Recipients Announced

Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Doug Chester, will today present two students from the University of Canberra with the Department’s 2004 Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Award.

The recipients are Tarran Backhus, an Indigenous student from Amaroo in the ACT, who is studying for a Bachelor of Coaching Science, and Jessica Wanganeen, an Indigenous student from Kambah, ACT, undertaking a Bachelor of Education degree.  Each awardee receives a bursary of $1,000.

The Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Awardsare presented to the most promising Indigenous students participating in the semester-long Foundation Program at the University of Canberra.  The Program assists Indigenous students who have come late to tertiary studies or are improving their qualifications before embarking on a degree.

The awards were launched in 2001 in the memory of Roni Ellis, an Indigenous DFAT employee who died of leukaemia in 2000.  Roni joined DFAT in 1991, where she managed the promotion of Australia’s Indigenous culture and art abroad.  She was instrumental in building understanding of Indigenous culture and history among her many friends and colleagues in Australia and overseas. 

Five awards have been made previously to Indigenous students from the University of Canberra.  Previous recipients are Andrew Horne (2001), from Queanbeyan, NSW;  Melita Berthaly (2002), from Coonamble, NSW;  Jillian Omosigho (2002), from Thursday Island, Torres Strait; Daphne Bennell (2003), from Albany, WA; and Mark Halloran (2003) from Tumut, NSW.

Also at today’s ceremony, donations totaling $1,500 will be made to two Indigenous charitable organizations that support young Indigenous people.  They are the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation, based in Canberra, and the Kurbingui Youth Development Association Incorporated, based in Brisbane, Queensland.

The funds were raised by DFAT's Indigenous Employee Network at a quiz night during the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week 2004. 

Media enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison on 02 6261 1555