Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

17 October 2006

Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Awards 2006 - Recipients Announced

The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Michael L’Estrange, will today present two students from the University of Canberra with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 2006 Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Award.

The recipients are Danielle Johnson, a young Aboriginal woman from Nyngan in mid western NSW who is studying psychology and coaching science and aspires to a career in health policy and administration. The other awardee is David Harley, a Pallawa man born in Tasmania who has recently returned to study after suffering a debilitating spinal injury. David is studying for a Bachelor of Creative Writing and hopes to use his degree it promote the understanding of Indigenous culture in Australia and overseas.  Each awardee receives a bursary of $1000.

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

Nine 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, and Tarran Backhus (2004) from Amaroo, ACT and Jessica Wanganeen (2004), from Kambah, ACT, Nathan George (2005) from Wellington, NSW and Paul Schmider (2005) from North Queensland.

The awards were launched in 2001 in the memory of Roni Ellis, an Indigenous DFAT employee who died of leukemia 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.

Media Inquiries:  DFAT Media Liaison on 02 6261 1555