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Indigenous council staff join alumni of scholarship winners

13 April 2021

A Dubbo Aboriginal liaison officer will strengthen her Aboriginal cultural knowledge while a Muswellbrook council community officer will improve her role by majoring in Global Indigenous Studies thanks to support from the Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship. 

Dubbo Regional Council’s Kerryann Stanley and Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Rosslyn Thomson are this year’s scholarship recipients, established in honour of Pat Dixon, a Dhanggati woman who became the first Aboriginal woman elected to local government in Australia.

Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship Trustee and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott congratulated both recipients, who will receive $5000 towards their studies.

Ms Thomson’s scholarship will go towards a Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in Aboriginal Studies, which will build upon her understanding of cultural sensitivities and ethical awareness as well as insights into issues around gender, class, health and social organisation.

Ms Stanley will be able to build upon her existing qualifications to develop and deliver relevant education training around Aboriginal cultural appreciation for Dubbo council staff.

“Local government is at our best when we represent the communities we serve, and that’s why it is so important to support the involvement and professional development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in local governments,” Cr Scott said.

“We’re so proud this scholarship strengthens First Nations communities across NSW by providing support to people in elected roles as well as the development of skilled professionals in council workplaces.” 

Cr Dixon served on the Armidale City Council for 17 years (1983-2001), including three years as deputy mayor. Memorial Trustee Warren Roberts, a relative of the late Cr Dixon, said the scholarship was a way of honouring her trailblazing efforts as well as advancing excellence in the Indigenous community. 

“We are so proud of Aunty Pat’s achievements and I know she would be proud of the outstanding recipients of this year’s scholarships and their efforts to serve their communities through a career in council,” he said. 

“This is the second year in a row we have awarded the scholarship to two recipients, which shows the level of excellence in this year’s candidates.”

Trustee Cr Dave Carter also noted the excellent applications received via this year’s scholarship.

“Congratulations to the 2021 scholarship winners, who are joining an alumni of high calibre Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander council staff who have been awarded the Pat Dixon Scholarship to date” he said.

One of last year’s recipients, Marshandra Naden, said receiving the scholarship had been an honour that had provided an invaluable boost to her learning efforts.

“Thanks to the funding support I have been able to enrol in the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. I’ve purchased a laptop to support my studies, which was necessary when the course went online due to COVID 19,” she said.

Trustee and Local Government Aboriginal Network chairperson Cr Dominic Wy Kanak also congratulated the scholarship winners and encouraged others to start considering the scholarship for next year.

“The Pat Dixon Scholarship provides a great opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within local government to consider professional development and career progression across all facets of council operations” Cr Wy Kanak said.

For more information on the Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship, visit the LGNSW website.

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