The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) will support three young Aboriginal university students this year under the Freddy Fricke Scholarship Program.
NSWALC received a strong field of applicants and selected Dunghutti and Gamilaraay man Jonathon Captain-Webb from Mortdale in Sydney, Worimi woman India Latimore from Newcastle and Barkantji man Leroy Bates from Wilcannia.
Jonathon, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law at the University of NSW said being the first in his family to attend university inspired him to use his skills to guide young Aboriginal people in his community.
“I have seen first-hand the barriers our mob face with education. I had many friends drop out of school and begin the cycle of criminality.
“That was the moment when I decided I would study law. My aim is to work with the Aboriginal Legal Service, particularly with at-risk youth.
“If I can change the life of a young Aboriginal man or woman, they can go on and achieve their dreams,” he said.
India, who is studying a Bachelor Medicine degree at the University of Newcastle, became passionate about her career choice after volunteering at an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS).
“I witnessed first-hand the difficulties faced by Aboriginal patients in accessing culturally-appropriate medical treatment. This often resulted in patients not returning for treatment.
“While studying, I elect to undertake my placements in rural and remote areas or at an AMS where possible.
“I want to be a doctor who provides culturally-sensitive and respectful care and to be an educator and mentor for my people,” she said.
Mutawinji traditional owner Leroy Bates will study a Bachelor of Environmental Science in Parks, Recreation and Heritage at Charles Sturt University in Albury.
“As a traditional owner of Mutawinji National Park, I want to become more involved in preserving my culture and protecting the environment.
“I hope to establish a career with National Parks and Wildlife and move out west to do more work on country before moving to other areas,” Leroy said.
Since 2002, 41 Aboriginal students have been awarded Freddy Fricke Scholarships.
NSWALC Chair Craig Cromelin said NSWALC recognised the importance of investing in the future of young Aboriginal people.
“Freddy Fricke asked that the money from the bequeathment of his home be used to create better opportunities for the Aboriginal people of NSW.
“NSWALC decided that this would best be achieved by actively promoting and supporting Aboriginal education,” he said.