A Year 9 netball tour from Darwin to Melbourne was the moment Larrakia woman Cassie Lew Fatt knew she wanted to study at Melbourne University. Seven years on, Cassie is completing her final semester of a Bachelor of Arts while living at Trinity College. It’s an experience she feels incredibly grateful to have.
Cassie Lew Fatt has always been adventurous. While having a loving connection with her family, country and the Larrakia people of Darwin, she knew from a young age that she dreamed of studying further abroad.
It was in Year 9 that Cassie chanced upon the place she felt her dream could be fulfilled.
She participated in a netball camp that her school at the time, Kormilda College in Darwin (now Haileybury Rendall), was running. The camp included a tour of the University of Melbourne campus.
‘Ever since then, I decided I’d live there. I loved the feeling of it,’ Cassie says. ‘It was this feeling of opportunity, something different to what I knew.’
A couple of years later, Cassie was awarded a scholarship to Pembroke School in Adelaide, a testament to her hard-working nature. Here, she completed her final years of study.
From there, Melbourne was only a hop, skip and a jump away.
It was when looking at accommodation options in Melbourne that Cassie first heard about on-campus living at Trinity College. Upon the recommendation of a family friend who was a current Trinity student, Cassie began researching Trinity and its academic, sporting and scholarship opportunities. ‘It seemed to me like a great place to learn, with a community of like-minded people.’
Cassie began the application process with the guidance of the admissions team, who offered invaluable support and knowledge specifically in terms of scholarship opportunities. ‘They really want you to be here. I really felt that there was a way around any obstacle that you might think is preventative to coming to Trinity.’
Sure enough, Cassie was awarded the Yorta Yorta Scholarship by Trinity College to begin her studies in 2019. This scholarship was founded by the late Dr George Hale and his wife, Betty, to encourage and enable First Nations students to study at the University of Melbourne and Trinity College.
Although excited, Cassie was oblivious to what her time at Trinity would end up meaning to her.
‘When I rocked up on the first day, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I thought Trinity would just be a good living space, not necessarily considering what else came with it.’
However, upon reflection, Cassie expresses how incredible the last three years have been for her.
‘I am so grateful towards Trinity for the environment it has given me. The culture it has around working hard has been the foundation of my academic success. A success that doesn’t necessarily mean outstanding grades, but a dedicated mindset and support in the form of tutorials and facilities.’
But it isn’t just the academic support that makes Trinity what it is for Cassie.
‘Being involved in a diverse group of people has allowed me to learn about different cultures, and furthered my understanding of my own culture,’ Cassie says. ‘There is a great Trinity mob, and together we founded First Nations committee.’
It is this diverse and inclusive community that Cassie has grown to love and cherish.
‘Walking into the dining hall to get a meal, you know that you are welcome to sit down anywhere, and that people will be super welcoming and want to get to know you.’
Cassie will finish her Bachelor of Arts at the end of this year, hoping to pursue her interest in criminology and Indigenous studies in the coming years.
By Eddie Jackson