9 March 2017 

Two students awarded Freddy Fricke Scholarships 

A law student from the Hunter region and a medicine student from Tamworth have been awarded Freddy Fricke scholarships from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC). 

Sapphire Dawson and Russell Thompson will use the scholarships to help pay for university fees, text books and other course-related expenses. 

Sapphire, a Yuin woman, is studying law at the University of Newcastle, and hopes other Aboriginal students will be inspired by her academic journey. 

"Completing my law degree and becoming a lawyer is important to me. I have overcome many hurdles to get where I am today. 

"People told me I was not good enough for university because of my skin colour and heritage. After I became a mother at 18 years, I was also told I was destined to be stuck in the Centrelink cycle," she said. 

Sapphire said she looked forward to working in the community to help Aboriginal people negotiate the justice system. 

Kamilaroi man Russell Thompson is studying medicine at the University of New South Wales in Sydney but plans to return home to Tamworth to contribute to the local community. 

"Helping close the life expectancy gap is very important to me. At the moment, I'm actively involved in several organisations that promote Aboriginal health. 

"As a student representative of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, I've been involved in education and advocacy." 

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said NSWALC understood the need to invest in Aboriginal education through the Freddy Fricke scholarships. 

"We hope the scholarships will not just help students complete their degrees but also their home communities by acting as role models for other Aboriginal students," Cr Ah-See said. 

Since 2002, 49 Aboriginal university students have been awarded Freddy Fricke Scholarships. Applications for the program will reopen later this year. 

Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291