Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts who been awarded the Law Council of Australia's 2018 John Koowarta Scholarship, with Aboriginal Elder Aunty Hazel, the co-founder of Grandmothers of Forced Removals.
Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts who been awarded the Law Council of Australia's 2018 John Koowarta Scholarship, with Aboriginal Elder Aunty Hazel, the co-founder of Grandmothers of Forced Removals.

Bundjalung woman wins prestigious law scholarship

BUNDJALUNG woman and University of New South Wales law student Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts has been awarded the Law Council of Australia's 2018 John Koowarta Scholarship.

Law Council president, Morry Bailes, said Vanessa is an outstanding candidate and is well deserving of this award.

"Ms Turnbull-Roberts is a passionate young woman who strives to empower growth, determination, leadership and promotes the wellbeing of Indigenous people," Mr Bailes said.

"She is a remarkable individual, with an exciting and bright future ahead of her."

At the age of 11, Vanessa was placed in out-of-home care and used her personal experience as a driver for her motivation to study law.

"My life has encompassed many challenges and adversities, which has driven me to where I am today," Ms Turnbull-Roberts said.

"After losing my father last October, and then a few days later my mother, I am grateful for the significant strength and resilience that is entrenched within me to complete my degree."

While completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Social Work, Vanessa has remained an active member of her community.

She has worked alongside Grandmothers of forced removals, and FIRE to change the conversation for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around issues that arise from colonialism.

Vanessa said she was looking for a career in child protection, juvenile justice and law reform that supported Indigenous people, youth, asylum seekers and refugees.

"I aim to combine policy and direct practice in order to develop programs that enhance empowerment within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities," Ms Turnbull-Roberts said.

"I am completing my degree for my parents, community, and family, and most importantly for all the old people who have walked before me and have fought for our rights - they have taken much larger steps in order for us to be where we are today, and as the next generation we will continue to as well."

"I proudly acknowledge the support of those around me, particularly the support of UNSW Law UNSW social work, the lecturers and all those who work behind the scenes supporting and advocating for Indigenous education."