A young Aboriginal leader with an unshakable desire to help others in his community is a step closer to achieving his dreams thanks to Port of Newcastle’s inaugural Indigenous STEM Scholarship, awarded in partnership with the University of Newcastle.

Proud Ngarigo man Jack Goldspink, who is the first recipient of the Scholarship, said he is also the first in his family to attend university.

“No one in my family has actually been to university or completed year 12. As the eldest of four boys raised by my amazing mum, I knew I always wanted to finish school and go to university to set that example for my brothers,” said Mr Goldspink.

Jack relocated to Newcastle from his home-town of Tumbarumba, near the Snowy Mountains, to start a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science at University of Newcastle and says receiving the scholarship is a proud moment.

“The Port of Newcastle Indigenous STEM Scholarship is a reward for all the effort I put in across year 11 and 12, and the challenges I overcame during that time. Finishing high school, getting a good ATAR, being accepted into my preferred course at the University of Newcastle and now receiving this scholarship showed me that with effort, you really can get anything done. I hope to be able to inspire and support other young Aboriginal people to do the same,” Jack shared.

Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, says the Indigenous STEM Scholarship in partnership with the University of Newcastle aims to assist young Indigenous people to seriously consider STEM careers and choose to be part of the future talent pool for emerging high-skill, high-income local jobs. 

“Jack is the perfect candidate to receive Port of Newcastle’s first Indigenous STEM Scholarship. This young man is an inspiration to his fellow students, his family and community. Having achieved much in his young years, Jack is a true leader and a deserving recipient of our Indigenous STEM Scholarship,” said Mr Carmody. 

“If we can inspire and encourage more young people with the tenacity that Jack has displayed to pursue higher education, particularly in STEM related fields, and offer them support to help them succeed, then we at Port of Newcastle have achieved our goal with introducing this Scholarship,” said Mr Carmody.

As well as financial support, the Scholarship includes the opportunity to take part in professional development with the Port of Newcastle team and learn more about Port operations.

“The generous funding from Port of Newcastle really takes the financial stresses out of moving away from home and will support me with things like updating my technology. It’s allowing me to focus on my degree and spend more time making connections in the local Aboriginal community here in Newcastle,” said Mr Goldspink.

After an incredible health and weight loss journey in his teen years, which saw him lose more than 40 kilos, Jack knew he wanted to follow a career path to become a beacon of support and encouragement for other young Aboriginal people in a similar position. He has ambitions to graduate University of Newcastle with a Masters in Exercise Physiology.

After losing the weight Jack says he felt great, but wondered how much easier it would have been to have a coach or mentor to inspire him when things got tough. 

“Becoming a mentor for young Indigenous people would be great. To help push kids to the max and help them achieve what they didn’t think they could do, is something I think I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor – Indigenous Strategy and Leadership, Mr Nathan Towney, said that through this partnership with Port of Newcastle, the University of Newcastle was able to support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students coming into higher education.

“I am truly encouraged to see Jack Goldspink as the first recipient of the Port of Newcastle Indigenous STEM Scholarship. Jack is a resilient young man who has had to overcome many obstacles that have come his way. As a young leader amongst his community, I believe he will have a great impact on the students around him here at the University. 

“With an interest in being a part of programs targeted at supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, Jack is encouraging other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to explore the opportunities of Higher Education,” said Mr Towney.

About the Scholarship

Port of Newcastle’s Indigenous STEM Scholarship is open to Indigenous students who plan to complete a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) related degree at the University of Newcastle.

Launched in December 2020, the partnership with University of Newcastle aims to enhance the Hunter Region’s capacity in meeting future technology-led jobs and to support tertiary education pathways for Indigenous students.

Three scholarships, each worth $10,000, will be awarded over the three-year period of the program.

As well as financial support, the Scholarship includes the opportunity to take part in professional development at Port of Newcastle and learn more about Port operations.

Port of Newcastle

Port of Newcastle Port of Newcastle is Australia’s deepwater global gateway, the largest on the nation’s East Coast. Port of Newcastle is more than a port. It exists to build Australia’s prosperity with responsible, integrated and innovative supply chain solutions. With trade worth about $26 billion to the national economy each year, Port of Newcastle enables Australian businesses to successfully compete in international markets. The port currently handles 4,400 ship movements and 164 million tonnes of cargo annually, including dry bulk, bulk liquids, ro-ro, general and project cargoes and containers. With a deepwater shipping channel operating at 50% of its capacity, significant port land available and enviable access to national rail and road infrastructure, Port of Newcastle is positioned to further underpin the future prosperity of the Hunter, NSW and Australia. As custodians of the region’s critical asset, Port of Newcastle is diversifying its trade as it strives to create a safe, sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible future.

For media enquiries, please contact: