Media Release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D9 - 17 October 2003

Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Awards 2003 Recipients Announced

Two students from the University of Canberra were presented today with the Department’s 2003 Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Award.

They are Daphne Bennell, a Ngungar woman from Albany, WA who is a mature age student studying law, and Mark Halloran, a Ngunnawal man from Tumut, NSW who plans to study management/law.  They will each be presented with awards of $1,000.

The Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Awardis made to the most promising Indigenous students studying the semester Foundation Program at the University of Canberra.  It assists Indigenous students who have come late to tertiary studies or are improving their qualifications before embarking on a degree.

The award was launched in 2001 in the memory of Roni Ellis, an Indigenous DFAT officer 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 ways, values and history among her many friends and colleagues in Australia and overseas.

The award, which is presented annually on 17 October, is an incentive for Indigenous students to follow her example to achieve their goals.  17 October is the birth date of Roni’s mother, who was an Elder of the Yindjibarndi people (Western Australia).

Three awards have been made previously to Indigenous students from the University of Canberra.  Andrew Horne (2001), from Queanbeyan, NSW is studying Information Technology.  Melita Berthaly (2002), from Coonamble, NSW, is studying a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) degree.  Jillian Omosigho (2002), from Thursday Island, Torres Strait, moved to Canberra to study a Bachelor degree in Primary Education, with the ambition to be a primary school teacher on Thursday Island. English is her third language.

Mr Doug Chester, Deputy Secretary, DFAT, will present the awards.

At today’s ceremony, donations totalling $2,400 were made to four non-profit groups.  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 2003.

Media Inquiries: Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02- 6261 1555