Rotary International celebrated its centenary on February 23rd, 2005. In recognition of this important milestone, the Rotary Club of Balwyn established a scholarship for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island students to study at an approved tertiary institution (TAFE, University or other approved institution) for a period of up to four years duration.
The inaugural Scholarship was awarded on a biennial basis in 2005 and was followed by another Scholarship awarded in 2007. As a result of significant financial support and sponsorship from the Victorian Department of Edu-cation and Early Childhood Development as well as Skills Victoria and the Department of Justice, it was possible for the Scholarship to be offered on an annual basis.
Selection is based on interview and not solely on academic performance or financial hardship. The value of the Scholarship was up to $25,000 per annum ($100,000 over four years). Total funding up to 2017 has exceeded $1.4m of which some $400,000 was provided by the Club.
Discussions are underway with the Federal Government concerning a proposal to transition the program from the Club's stewardship, and funding, to a national body. Robynne Quiggin a Wiradjuri lawyer addressed the Rotary Club of Balwyn recently.
Robynne has worked across legal and policy areas of relevance to Aborigi-nal and Torres Strait Islander Australians including, human rights, consumer issues, financial services, governance, rights to culture, heritage and the arts. She has served on a number of boards including the Arts Law Centre of Australia and Gadigal Information Services.
She is currently deputy chair of the board of Bangarra Dance Theatre, a Trustee of the Australian Museum, chair of Westpac’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, a director of the board of the Lowitja Institute and a member of the Indigenous Law Bulletin’s Editorial Panel.
Robynne was Deputy Commissioner to the Acting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Professor Gillian Triggs.
The last RATSITS scholarship was awarded to Jaya Blandthorn pictured night with RATSITS mentor Alex Burton and Rotary Club of Balwyn mentor Manju Mohandoss