Ricci Marks Award - Recognising Young Aboriginal Achievers

Presentation of the 2016 Ricci Marks Award

The achievements of 24 outstanding young Aboriginal people from across Victoria were celebrated at the Ricci Marks Award Gala Presentation Ceremony on 21 April 2016. The Presentation ceremony was the Gala event for the Koorie Youth Summit.

The Hon Jenny Mikakos, Minister for Youth Affairs and Minister for Families and Children represented the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs at the Awards Ceremony.

View the Livestream footage of the Presentation Ceremony. 

Nominees for the Ricci Marks Award 2016

Ricci Marks 2016 Nominees

Back row L-R: Tara Whitten, Dylan Clarke, Taneisha Webster, Aunty Annita Marks, Kayla Kennedy-Hills, Minister Jenny Mikakos, Monica McDonald, Elise Muller, Georgia Capocchi-Hunter , Adam Pyke, Jordon Hargreaves, Kyeema Coombs, Sheridan Aitken.

Front Row L-R: Chenile Chandler, Mikayla Nelson, Aleesha Daffy, Naomi Walker-Fei, Tylah Kelly, Jessica Hoskings, Iyesha Betteridge, Marc Gillard, Mitchell King, Jamaine Jones, Dylan Murphy, Taylah Kersting-Megee.

Not in photo: Janaya Saunders

Ricci Marks Award Recipients 2016

Dylan Clarke

Dylan Clarke with Minister Mikakos and Aunty Annita MarksDylan Clarke was recommended to receive the Ricci Marks Award because he is strongly motivated to make a difference in the Aboriginal community and is using his skills and interest in electronic media to challenge negative stereotypes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. He is passionate about using arts and music to engage with other Aboriginal young people and community members, and to provide a platform for Aboriginal voices to be heard more widely. Dylan took on leadership roles at a young age, and is a 'fantastic' role model. Dylan is very engaging and articulate, with many creative ideas and enthusiasm for future projects.

Dylan, otherwise known as DJ Sadge is a proud young Wotjobaluk man from the Wimmera. He describes himself as an Aboriginal DJ, producer, sound engineer and broadcaster. Dylan grew up in Ballarat, and as a child learnt traditional dancing and didjeridoo. During Year 11 he attended DJ night school, and after completing VCE he completed an Advanced Diploma in Sound Production at RMIT. He then volunteered with 3KND and discovered an aptitude for 'yarning' on the radio, and he has also worked as a casual producer for the Living Black on SBS radio. He has produced sound scapes and voice overs for audio publication in traditional language and an audio book for Aboriginal children. Dylan is currently working with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) where he has produced a weekly radio program focussed on Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing called Yarnin' Health. Through this work Dylan has created a network of relationships with Aboriginal people across Victoria, and interviewing a wide range of people including Premier Daniel Andrews. Dylan is committed to changing the stereotyping of Aboriginal people in the media, and to giving a platform for Aboriginal people to share their views and experiences.

In addition to his substantial community outreach activities through radio and sound, Dylan is active as the youngest board member of the South Eastern Indigenous Media Association. At the age of 20 Dylan was a Director of the Barengi Gadjin Land Council, where he initiated the restoration of a traditional site in Dimboola. At just 24 years of age Dylan is making a very significant contribution to the Victorian community.

Taneisha Webster

Taneisha Webster with Minister MikakosTaneisha Webster was recommended to receive the Ricci Marks Award because she is so strongly motivated to make a difference in the Aboriginal community. She is dedicated to supporting members of her community through her work with families and children, and through her voluntary work supporting the development of the Willum Warrain Gathering Place as a culturally safe and inclusive place for all community members. She has maturity and resilience, coupled with sensitivity and respect for others

Taneisha aspires to live in a culturally rich and strong community where all Aboriginal people are able to feel connected to and proud of their culture. Taneisha works with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency as a team leader for Foster Care, Kinship and Leaving Care. In these roles she demonstrates a high level of competence, with passion and commitment, and a high level of respect towards families, children and other staff. Taneisha demonstrates insight and maturity, and possesses the courage to call out injustices, and to confront difficult situations. In her role, Taneisha is also very effective in building networks and relationships with other community service organisations.

Taneisha is also a board member for the Willum Warrain Gathering Place, where she confidently contributes her perspective as a young woman, and contributes in a voluntary capacity to support activities there. She is committed to the Gathering Place being a culturally safe place where all Aboriginal community members can build their social and cultural connections.

Taneisha is also participating in the Maarni Aboriginal Women's Leadership Program with Woor Dungin, where she is building on her capabilities as a young leader. Having completed a degree in Psychology, Taneisha aspires to undertake postgraduate study specialising in Aboriginal childhood trauma, intergenerational trauma, and culturally based healing.

Recipient of the Ricci Marks Rising Star Award

Elise Muller

Ricci Marks Elise MullerElise Muller was recommended to receive the Ricci Marks Rising Star Award because she is so strongly motivated to be an example to other young people, especially those who face difficulties. She is a high achiever in her sporting pursuits, and contributes as a volunteer to many activities and events. Her energetic and engaging personality complements her aspirations to make change in her community.

Elise is an energetic young Aboriginal woman who has significant achievements in sport, education and community leadership. She recently completed her VCAL Certificate at Sports Education Development Australia (SEDA), where she was also school captain. Elise is dedicated to her sporting activities, and was a member of the Leadership Team for the Woomeras (National Indigenous Girls Football Team) which competed in National Championships in 2015. This team is made up of the top 25 players in Australia.

In addition to her sporting achievements, Elise has demonstrated great leadership qualities, and a passion to confront racism. As the only Aboriginal student at her school, she was very active in educating students and teachers about her Aboriginal culture. Elise has a very positive attitude, and is able to motivate and encourage others. As a young person with autism, she is a passionate advocate for other young people who experience bullying from other students and teachers. Elise has been involved in many different events and programs as volunteer, and currently she is involved with the I CAN Network, working with local schools to create a better understanding about the needs of students with autism.

Elise has completed several certificate courses, and also works to assist in financially supporting her family. She is currently doing a course in fitness training, and aspires to become a youth worker.

Previous Recipients


Ricci Marks 

Award Recipients 

Rising Star Award (since 2015)*

2015 Keyanna Hood Shannon Ryan Cameron Balcome
2014 Lucy-Rose Doolan William Austin Ngaree Blow
2013 Bronwyn Mongta Nayuka Gorrie Mason Peter
2012 Benson Saulo Vehonda (Bonnie) Smith Edward Bryant
2011 Greg Kennedy Samantha Walker Tamika Hayes
2010 Lowell Hunter Clarisse Slater Sarai Atkinson
2009 Sherylee Welsh  Allan Miller Zack Green
2008 Leigh Saunders Troy Walker Kasey Edwards
2007 Dorothy Bamblett  Jamie McConnachie
2006 Allan Murray  Isaac Haddoc
2005 Joleen Ryan Nayuka Hood
2004 Dixon Paten
2003 Tracey Rigney Alister Thorpe
2002 Jirra Lulla Harvey John McGuiness
2001 Peter Shane Rotumah Eileen Harrison
2000 Ricci Marks Kwaii Sinclair
1999 Jody Ryan
1998 Nicole Cassar Jeremy Clark
1997 Yolanda Walker

*formally the Encouragement Award

Nominations for the 2017 award will open in late 2016

Please email Marie Hapke at Aboriginal Victoria or phone on 03 8392 5342 for more information.


Last updated on Friday, 23 September 2016