2011 marked the 60th anniversary of ECU's first Aboriginal graduate, who was also the first qualified Aboriginal teacher in Western Australia and the establishment and unveiling of ECU’s tribute to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alumni - Rock Solid Foundations.
Rock Solid Foundations represents the notion of education being the foundation that shapes our future and features the names of past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates.
ECU has added 625 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates to the tribute, coming from a wide range of disciplines including Teaching, Business, Law, Nursing, Communications and the Arts.
ECU acknowledges and pays tribute to all our graduates - for their own individual achievements and for the role they have collectively have played in shaping ECU as it is today and into the future, by leading the way, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
In the first 10 years of ECU’s education of Aboriginal tertiary students, only four graduates benefitted from the experience, the first being Len Hayward who graduated from the then Claremont Teachers’ College in 1951.
In 1979, Mr Hayward went on to become Western Australia’s first Aboriginal Principal after being promoted to Principal Class II of Wiluna Special Aboriginal School.
Len was already a trail-blazer by the time he commenced Teachers’ College, having been a star athlete and footballer. His sporting prowess won him popularity and acceptance at a time when there were huge divides between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia. He had also won the support of others in the teaching profession, a number of whom mentored him and encouraged him on his journey.
1951 was a long time ago and Len’s journey to becoming the first Aboriginal member of the WA teaching profession and then practising his craft was ground-breaking. Since then, over 600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have reached their potential and graduated, becoming part of ECU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alumni community.
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