Indigenous law students Aurora Milroy and Ashley Walker have been announced as the 2011 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship recipients.
First established in 1994, the scholarship commemorates John Koowarta, a member of the Winychanam community at Aurukun and a traditional owner of the Archer River region on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula.
Milroy, a Palyku woman of the Pilbara in Western Australia and in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Arts/Law at the University of WA, said she was excited and honoured to win the award.
"The scholarship is going to make a real difference to my studies," she said.
"I'd like to put some of it towards going up to the Pilbara to go to native title meetings and get experience in that field of law. It will work as a supplement to what I have been studying and help me gain practical experience."
Walker, a fifth-year Bachelor of Laws/Commerce student at the University of NSW and director of Ngalaya Aboriginal Corporation, said winning the scholarship went beyond helping ease the financial strain associated with studying at university.
"It's an honour to be counted amongst the previous recipients of the scholarship who are a pretty talented bunch. It's a great feeling," he said.
"I'll be able to cut down on part-time work and really focus on my studies, which is really important around exam time."
The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has been involved with the initiative for more than 15 years and has assisted 19 indigenous law students to pursue their legal education.
LCA president Alexander Ward said the winners epitomised the values and principles the John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship stood for.
"Aurora and Ashley are great role models for young indigenous people across the nation considering a future career in the legal profession," he said.
"They are deserving winners and I congratulate them for what they have achieved."
The scholarship is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in an approved course of study at or through an Australian tertiary institute.