SAState RecipientYoung Australian of the Year2012
There are many ‘firsts’ already in Rebecca Richards’ short life. She was the first person in her family to complete high school and is the first Aboriginal Rhodes Scholar. The 24-year-old Anthropology honours student grew up in the Riverland and is a member of the Adnyamathanha and Barngarla peoples. Her interest in anthropology was sparked at 14 when she did fieldwork in her native Adnyamathanha lands with her father along with Philip Jones, the head of anthropology at the South Australian Museum. While undertaking her degree, which she achieved with first class honours, Rebecca completed a cadetship at the National Museum of Australia and then an internship at The Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Backing up her remarkable academic and professional achievements is her passionate engagement with Indigenous health, human rights and education issues. She was a volunteer mentor at a teen challenge drug rehabilitation bush survival camp, National Indigenous Youth Mobility Program spokesperson from 2007–10, mentor in the 2010 University of Adelaide Indigenous head-start program for rural students, and 2010 youth ambassador for the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence. Her other international representations include for Oxfam, ZONTA and the United Nations. A truly remarkable 24-year-old.