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Scholarships ease challenges of ‘big city’ living

George Alexander Foundation scholars 2019

Moving to Tasmania’s ‘big smoke’ from a tight-knit rural community is scary, not to mention the financial pressures of paying accommodation and food while navigating tertiary study.

This year, The George Alexander Foundation has enabled seven young community leaders from Northern Tasmania to fully absorb themselves in a degree at the University of Tasmania.

“If it wasn’t for the scholarship, I would not have had the means to just up and leave my life,” scholarship recipient Tom Rockliff said.

Tom relocated from a beef and cattle farm in Sheffield to study a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice.

A talented community leader, Tom taught cattle handling and coached rowing, then got involved in politics. He participated in the YMCA Youth Parliament and the Rotary’s mock UN Assembly and is currently an Ambassador of Public Education for the Tasmanian Government. Last year, Tom became the first Tasmanian to win the national Lions Youth of the Year award.

Despite Tom’s leadership and resilience, moving to Hobart, the ‘big city’ (as he calls it), has been a challenge.

“It has been crazy this ‘big city life’ – learning that everyone doesn’t know everyone and I can’t leave the keys in the ignition or assume the neighbours will keep an eye on things!”

In a different century, Scholarship founder and English immigrant George H. Alexander AM (1910–2008) understood the challenges of relocating on his own to a new place.

George loved learning and dreamed of being a mechanic, but his family’s financial situation meant further study was not possible. Upon migrating to Australia in 1926, he started out doing hard agricultural labour, then found his path to formal education, becoming a mechanic then studying at RMIT. He went on to become an inventor and self-made businessman.

Inspired by his own journey and knowing the importance of formal learning, George Alexander created the Foundation to help others overcome financial and geographical barriers to education.  The George Alexander Foundation provides not only financial assistance, but an ongoing connected community for scholars.

“The University is incredibly grateful for the support from the George Alexander Foundation,” University of Tasmania Executive Director Advancement Kate Robertson said.

The significance of these Scholarships cannot be underestimated in their ability to help young Tasmanians live the lives of their choice.”

2019 Scholarship recipients:

  • Tom Rockliff, from Sheffield, studying a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice
  • Lachlan Clark, from Devonport, studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • Kate Djakic, from Ulverstone, studying a Bachelor of Science – Catalyst Program
  • Oliver Fryett, from Burnie, studying a Bachelor of Surveying and Spatial Sciences
  • Keilee Lynd from Ulverstone, studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • Lewis Nicholls, from Marrawah, studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Specialisation) with Honours
  • Freya Prebble, from St Marys, studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • Tom Rockliff, from Sheffield, studying a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice

Pictured from left: Lachlan Clark, Oliver Fryett, Tom Rockliff, Lewis Nicholls, Kate Djakic and Freya Prebble.
Absent: Keilee Lynd

Published on: 16 Aug 2019 9:49am