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Peninsula Developmental Road Scholarship Program

In January 2018, we awarded 8 scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a traditional or historical connection to Country around the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR). The program built on the success of the 2017 program, which granted 1 tertiary scholarship and 3 secondary scholarships to successful applicants.

Five scholarships, valued at $750 each, were offered to high school students, and 3 scholarships, valued at up to $10,000 each, were offered to tertiary students.

These scholarships form a part of the greater Indigenous Land Use Agreement negotiated with the Cape York Land Council and the Traditional Owners as part of the Cape York Region Packages. They assisted students with educational expenses and encourage ongoing education and learning opportunities. The tertiary scholarship students studied TMR-related topics including construction management, engineering, communication and finance.

The first scholarship program ran from 2017 to 2019 as part of the first stage of works. A second program has commenced from 2021 to 2024. In 2021, 4 secondary and 2 tertiary students from Cape York communities were awarded scholarships under the program.

Peninsula Developmental Road Scholarships Program (Mitchell Michael)

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Lillian—Secondary PDR Scholarship recipient

Close up of a person in a school uniform

Connection: Coen  

Lillian’s favourite subjects at school are Science and English, she is also a part of the Instrumental School Concert Band where she plays the flute.  

Lillian is a keen sportswoman who plays school netball and has competed in the Peninsula District trials for shotput, javelin and discus.  

Lillian's high school has identified her as a future leader amongst her peers. She often leads the Welcome to Country.  

Lillian enjoys helping her grandpa paint and setting up and working with him at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.  

Lillian is the eldest of 5 children, 4 of whom attend school. This scholarship will help with Lillian’s school fees and any extracurricular activities and excursions throughout the year.  

After high school Lillian would like to attend James Cook University to study to become a Pharmacist. 

Natalee—Secondary PDR Scholarship recipient

Close up of a person in a school uniform

Connection: Lockhart River  

Natalee’s favourite subjects at school are Visual arts and Graphics.

Natalee is very focused with strong goals for her future. She is a leading cadet at 106 squadron Australia Air Force and her long term goal is to enter the Defence Force and become a jet pilot.  

Natalee is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and likes to show others not to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.  

Natalee displays great leadership. She is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman who is keen to learn more about her culture.

The scholarship helped Natalee on her way to her long term goals by ensuring she had any text books, calculators and stationery items for her studies. Receiving the scholarship helped give Natalee the confidence to believe in herself and understand her goals are possible.

Ralma—Secondary PDR Scholarship recipient

Close up of a person in a school uniform

Connection: Pormpuraaw  

Ralma’s favourite subject is Marine Biology, she would like to attend James Cook University to study Biology and eventually get a job at Australia Zoo working with animals. 

Ralma is great role model to her younger siblings and younger community members, she likes to help out at the youth centre in Pormpuraaw. Ralma often helps her younger siblings with their homework which has resulted in them receiving awards at school. 

Despite having to overcome many trials in her life, Ralma has not lost her enthusiasm and willingness to be present and engaged at school.  

Ralma is a proud Aboriginal woman who loves to share stories about her culture with others. She regularly checks in to see if she can help with cultural activities at school. 

This scholarship enabled Ralma to purchase a laptop, calculator and textbooks to ensure she had the tools she needed to successfully complete school.

Savannah—Secondary PDR Scholarship recipient

Young person in a school uniform

Connection: Kaanju & Yupungathi  

Savannah’s favourite subjects at school are History and Science. Savannah would like to go to university to study electrical engineering, to help her on her way she is aiming for an A or B in Maths and Science. She often spends her lunchtimes in the library doing extra study to help achieve her goals.  

Savannah is a keen sportswoman who plays football, netball and volleyball.  

Savannah also likes to help in her community. She volunteers at the local PCYC setting up games, programs and activities for the younger children. Savannah also participates in NAIDOC week festivities and the Laura festival.   

Savannah has 2 younger school-aged siblings. The scholarship helped with sporting uniforms and educational tools such as a laptop. Having a laptop helped with her independence and supported her with her studies. 

Erica—Tertiary PDR Scholarship recipient

Young person in a school uniform

Connection: Lockhart River (Bidjara, Gooreng Gooreng and Kuuku Ya’u tribes)  

Erica has successfully completed Year 12 and has applied to study a Bachelor of Business at Queensland University of Technology. Erica plans to utilise the Career Trackers program to gain part time experience in business.  

While waiting on her university acceptance Erica has been studying a Cert 3 in Business.  

In 2020 Erica was selected as the Reconciliation Captain for her high school. Erica has been an important mentor and role model to fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. She encourages students to participate in important school and community events such as National Reconciliation Week, National Sorry Day and NAIDOC week.  

Erica participated in the school's strategic planning to develop a framework for cultural awareness training including workshops and seminars for staff and students.  

The scholarship provided financial assistance to Erica and her family as Erica has a younger sister with a medical condition and disability. Erica was able to successfully hold a part time job while studying and has already investigated resources and support systems offered by her chosen university. 

Tenisha—Peninsula Developmental Road Scholarship recipient

Person standing wearing a lanyard 

Tenisha is a proud Gundang/Taepithiggi/Argun woman from New Mapoon in the Northern Peninsula Area. She is currently studying a Certificate III in Community Services and will soon pick up a Certificate IV in Community Services.

Once she has gained all the tools, experiences and qualifications, Tenisha would like to go back to community to collaborate with her people and create a program to educate her mob. The program would be to work with the community to gain qualifications and opportunities for further education, as well as additional services needed through study. She hopes to be able to bring this program out to other communities within Queensland and eventually the whole of Australia.

The scholarship has provided Tenisha the opportunity to further educate herself within her field of study. It has provided her guidance, support and motivation to continue her studies and get what she needed to her first-year courses and internship.