The following scholarships are provided through the Jubilee Commemorative Fund of the RSL
RSL National Scholarships
The RSL Scholarships were introduced in 2006. Two scholarships are awarded yearly to children and grandchildren of veterans in necessitous and deserving circumstances to assist them when they undertake tertiary education in Australia. The Scholarships ($4,000 each per year) continue for up to three years.
The Scholarships are administered by the Australian Veterans’ Children Australia Trust [AVCAT].
Application forms are available from July each year for studies commencing the following year and can be obtained through the AVCAT website at www.avcat.org.au.
The Captain Reg Saunders Memorial Scholarship
Captain Reginald Walter Saunders, a member of the Gunditjmara tribe, was born on 7 August 1920, in the small town of Purnim just outside the Framlingham Aboriginal reserve in the Western District of Victoria.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 he joined the Second Australian Imperial Force. This was part of his heritage, that of being a warrior. His people, the Gunditjmara, had fought many battles with the white settlers in trying to retain their land.
He then began his military career, serving in World War II and Korea. During World War II he was selected for training at an Officer Cadet Training Unit, where he graduated as a Lieutenant with men such as Tom Derrick VC. Later promoted to Captain, Reg Saunders served in the 6th Division and saw action in the Middle East and New Guinea.
In Korea he was the Officer in Command of ‘C’ Company of the Third Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR). This Battalion won a United States Presidential Citation for the Battle of Kapyong.
During the last 20 years of his life, Reg Saunders worked with the former Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Reg travelled widely and was able to meet with Aboriginal people from a variety of backgrounds. He was awarded an MBE in 1977. He died in 1990.
The RSL established this tertiary level scholarship for drug and alcohol abuse studies in 1992 for students of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background who are in necessitous and deserving circumstances. While this emphasis remains important, the scholarship may also be awarded to those who, through their learning, will be better equipped generally to provide a positive example within the aboriginal community and, through the application of their professional or vocational skills as applicable, assist in dealing with substance abuse.
Up to four scholarships per year of $2,000 each may be awarded to students in necessitous circumstances, who have a good academic standing and who have the intention to use their skills or profession for the benefit of the aboriginal community.
The mechanism to apply for these scholarships is currently being reviewed.
Each year, grants are made for RSL Kapyong Scholarships to students attending the Gapyeong High School and Middle School in Korea. These scholarships are provided through the Jubilee Commemorative Fund of the RSL and are administered in Korea through the Defence Attaché in the Australian Embassy, Seoul.
RSL New Guinea Campaign Secondary Scholarships
The RSL New Guinea Campaign Scholarships were instituted in 2010 to assist in the education of 2 students who show good potential to eventually be leaders in and/or significant contributions to the PNG community in their final two years of High School at Port Moresby Grammar School.
Medical Student Exchanges
Three grants are made yearly from the Jubilee Commemorative Fund to support the exchange of medical students to PNG and Fiji through the Sydney Medical School–Northern at the Royal North Shore Hospital, and to Vietnam through the Hoc Mai Exchange Program.
RSL Mona Tait & May Hayman Memorial Prize
Mona Tait & May Hayman were Australian nursing sisters who worked at the old Canberra Community Hospital.
Mona Tait was an army nursing sister allocated to the 8th Division during World War II. She was among several nurses murdered by the Japanese in the water adjoining Banka Island. Sister Bullwinkle was the sole survivor.
May Hayman became a nursing sister with the Anglican Mission and served at Gona in Papua New Guinea. She, together with a teacher, Mavis Parkinson were also murdered by the Japanese during World War II. She is buried at Sangara.
The Fund, to commemorate the two nursing sisters, springs from a former fund which was established in 1947 and administered by Trustees within the Royal Canberra Hospital. In the period 1990-92, the surviving Trustee, Sister Sylvia Curley, arranged with consent of the hospital and the RSL to transfer the Trusteeship to the RSL together with the remaining funds.
The interest earnings from the Fund are used to grant a yearly prize to a high achieving 1st Year student in the Nursing & Midwifery School (Faculty of Health) of the University of Canberra.
Other scholarships are provided through some RSL State Branches and sub-Branches.