Dawn Blazely, who is descended from the Beeton family

The Lucy Beeton Scholarships have been launched by the Premier of Tasmania Lara Giddings for Aboriginal people who are doing a teaching qualification at university.

They’re named after Tasmania’s first Aboriginal teacher, who established a school in a tent on Badger Island in 1871.

Dawn Blazely, who is descended from the Beeton family, says she was inspired by Lucy’s story.

“She’s a courageous woman,” she says.

“I think it was memories that my mother told me of what she had done, I think it was part of me, to go back to university and learn.”

“It gives me great pleasure to be able to teach the kids like she taught the kids,” she says.

Indigenous teacher Alison Stone is the kind of person the scholarships are aimed at and for her it’s part of making a difference in her community.

She says the connection can help engage Aboriginal students and encourage them to continue their education.

“As educators we have a lot of power and it’s essential that particularly for me as an Aboriginal woman… that I at all times do my best and that I ensure that I’m modelling and encouraging Aboriginal students to be able to be the best they can be,” she says.

The manager of Aboriginal Education, Greg Fair, says it’s important to try and encourage Indigenous Australians into teaching.

“People are inspired by Lucy Beeton’s story and the work that she did on the islands in the 19th century and thought it would be a really good idea if we could create a scholarship in her honour,” he says.

Story courtesy ABC Radio 936 Hobart


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