Seven students from Victorian dairy regions, starting their first year of tertiary study in 2024, have been honoured with scholarships from the Gardiner Foundation.
The 2024 Gardiner Foundation Tertiary Scholars are:
- Eloise Murnane, Warncoort, Vic, (Bill Pyle scholarship);
- Libby Clymo, Calivil, Vic, (Shirley Harlock scholarship);
- Alexandra Ingram, Timmering, Vic, (Doug Weir scholarship);
- Clara Linn, Childers, Vic, (Jakob Malmo scholarship).
The 2024 Niel Black scholars are:
- Alysha Toohill, Kyabram, Vic;
- Ella Bryant, Kaarimba, Vic; and
- Harry Murphy, Irrewarra, Vic.
Each scholar will receive $10,000 annually for three years to support costs associated with their studies.
These scholarships are granted to students accepted into courses that will benefit the Victorian dairy industry or dairy communities.
Gardiner Foundation CEO Allan Cameron said the program encouraged students to return to Victoria's dairy regions upon graduation or after gaining work experience.
This ensures a diverse range of essential skills within these regions.
"More students from dairy communities obtaining skills and experiences in their chosen field of endeavour will help create thriving and vibrant communities where people want to live, work and invest," Mr Cameron said.
There is no preferred field of study, with past students enrolling in a variety of courses, including agriculture science, nursing, medicine, engineering, journalism and commerce.
Libby Clymo, who grew up in the small community of Calivil, plans to study physiotherapy.
"Growing up in a farming community, it is not uncommon to hear farmers complain of their 'aching lower back' or 'kinked neck' while not seeking further treatment," she said.
"A large proportion of farmers are not properly educated about the impact of their work environments on their muscles and bodies.
"My hope is to empower farming communities by providing access to top-quality healthcare ensuring some of our hardest-working individuals are kept fit and pain-free."
Mr Cameron said Gardiner had been providing these scholarships since 2008, having awarded 82 scholarships with a total value of more than $1.9 million.
A recent review indicated that more than 70 per cent of past scholars had gone on to live in and contribute to the dairy industry and dairy communities.
"Investing in rural Victorian students builds the social capital of our dairy communities," he said.
"Gardiner is proud to provide students with the opportunity to gain their tertiary qualifications without some of the financial constraints that can often exist for students from the country."
The tertiary scholarships are named in recognition of services to the dairy industry by Niel Black, Shirley Harlock, Jakob Malmo, Bill Pyle, and Doug Weir.
Find out more about the scholarship recipients
Eloise Murnane, Warncoort (Bill Pyle Scholarship)
Eloise grew up in Warncoort in Victoria's south west, and finished year 12 at Colac Secondary College. Eloise will study her Diploma in General Studies at The University of Melbourne Dookie Campus with the aim to transfer into a Bachelor of Agriculture for her second year.
Her love of agriculture grew from spending her early years on her grandparent's farm, which her parents stepped in to help manage in 2018.
Libby Clymo, Calivil (Shirley Harlock Scholarship)
Libby grew up on a family dairy farm in Calivil in northern Victoria and went to high school at East Loddon College. She will study a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at La Trobe University Bendigo.
Libby was inspired to become a physiotherapist after tearing her ACL at a young age. She strives to improve healthcare access for farming communities, urging them to address discomfort promptly and return to work sooner.
Alexandra Ingram, Timmering (Doug Weir scholarship)
Alexandra grew up in Timmering in northern Victoria and completed VCE at Rochester Secondary College where she was school captain. Alexandra will study a Bachelor of Social Work at La Trobe University Bundoora.
Her aim is to return to her hometown and support locals during times of hardship and advocate for wellbeing. She has witnessed some of these hardships with the Murray Goulburn dairy factory closure as well as the floods in October 2022.
Clara Linn, Childers (Jakob Malmo Scholarship)
Clara grew up on a family dairy farm in Childers, Gippsland. She recently had a gap year after completing year 12 in 2022 at Mirboo North Secondary College. She will study a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine at Monash Clayton.
During her gap year, she volunteered at Latrobe Regional Health. After seeing the barriers to health care access first-hand, Clara was inspired to study medicine and be part of the solution.
Alysha Toohill, Kyabram (Niel Black Scholarship)
Alysha grew up in Kyabram in northern Victoria and completed HSC at Moama Anglican Grammar. She will study a Bachelor of Health Science at La Trobe University Bendigo. Alysha has a goal of becoming a dentist, while also working toward getting her private pilot's license.
Ella Bryant, Kaarimba (Niel Black Scholarship)
Ella grew up on a family dairy farm in Kaarimba in northern Victoria and completed year 12 at St Marys Secondary College. She will study a Bachelor of Health Science at Deakin in Geelong. Ella wants to work in radiography and provide a specialist service to smaller towns to prevent regional people having to travel greater distances for care.
Harry Murphy, Irrewarra (Niel Black Scholarship)
Harry is from Irrewarra, north-east of Colac in south-west Victoria. He completed year 12 at Trinity College where he was school captain. Harry will study a Bachelor of Business majoring in supply chain management and logistics at RMIT Melbourne.