ON TOUR: QATSIF staff and students learn about Cherbourg's history while touring the Ration Shed with elders.
ON TOUR: QATSIF staff and students learn about Cherbourg's history while touring the Ration Shed with elders. Michael Nayer

Guests learn about past as they work toward bright future

QUEENSLAND Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation representatives visited Cherbourg last week to learn about the incredible hardships and injustices faced by previous generations.

QATSIF is a charitable trust that has been working for more than 10 years to ensure any interest from unspent indigenous wage reparation money is made available to young indigenous people.

The guests visited the Cherbourg Ration Shed, where QATSIF staff, past students and school and public trustee representatives were treated to a luncheon.

First up, Uncle Eric Law showed the group through the Ration Shed and its surrounding dormitories while telling the story of Cherbourg's history.

ON TOUR: Uncle Eric Law sharing his knowledge about Cherbourg's history with the visitors from QATSIF.
ON TOUR: Uncle Eric Law shares his knowledge about Cherbourg's history with the visitors from QATSIF. Michael Nayler

After the tour, local elders listened to past QATSIF students Giselle Kilner, Aidan Train, Billy Neagle and Janaya Watego, who spoke about their educational journeys.

Cherbourg elder, QATSIF patron, author and stolen wages campaigner Aunty Ruth Hegarty then encouraged young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds to make the most of their opportunities, something she and other elders had been denied.

"Go forward,” Aunty Ruth said.

"Our reward is to see you succeed in whatever profession you choose.

"Our trust is in you, the very future of giving of yourselves to be a beacon of hope for future scholars.”

Since 2009, QATSIF has helped at least 195 indigenous students from across South Burnett schools through their Year 11 and 12 studies.

On a larger scale, more than 8700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have been supported by QATSIF.

QATSIF recognises the vital role successful schooling plays in building a foundation for employment, further education and better quality of life.

Under the QCE Scholarship Program, QATSIF provides two-year scholarship funding to help students gain their Queensland Certificate of Education across Years 11 and 12.

Current Year 10 and 11 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can apply for a 2020 QATSIF QCE Scholarship through their schools in the South Burnett.

ON TOUR: QATSIF staff and students walking around with Cherbourg Elders to learn about the township's history.
ON TOUR: QATSIF staff and students learn about Cherbourg's history while touring the Ration Shed with elders. Michael Nayer