Bevan Costello Senior Bursary

​​​​Bevan Costello was a highly respected Wakka Wakka Elder, mentor and champion for the Cherbourg community. Uncle Bevan, as he was known, was a passionate advocate working tirelessly to help promote positive change not only in Cherbourg, but in Murgon and surrounding areas of the South Burnett district. A valued and respected advocate for education, he was widely recognised for his special ability to apply his cultural knowledge and learnings into teaching, his integrity and honesty, and support for evidence-based interventions and restorative justice.

Bursary benefits

The bursary provides 2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (15–24 years) with a one-off bursary payment of $2,500 to assist with study, community or employment-related expenses. The bursary supports those who are commencing or continuing study at a university, TAFE or other training organisation, or participating in an alternative program or employment that will support them in their career aspirations. The bursary is available in 2 categories:

  • student category
  • community/employment category.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for this bursary, candidates must:

  • be a young person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent (15–24 years)
  • be a resident of the South Burnett region (applications from the Cherbourg community will be prioritised)
  • commence or continue an undergraduate or post-graduate university degree OR plan to enrol in a certificate level or above qualification through TAFE or other training provider or are participating in an alternative education schooling pathway (student category) or
  • demonstrate motivation for learning through on the job, or other like experiences (community/employment category).

How to apply

Step 1: Gather your supporting documents that must be attached to your online application.

  • Proof of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • Unofficial academic transcript/results for 2022 and 2023 or official statement of Year 11 and 12 academic results (2023 school leavers)
  • Proof of enrolment for Semester 1, 2024 (may be included on the unofficial academic transcript) or copy of confirmation of your application to commence tertiary studies OR other enrolment documentation
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Written references—an academic reference or character reference
  • Proof of residential address i​n the South Burnett district prior to commencing tertiary study, employment or other like experience
  • Documentation checklist.

Step 2: Submit your online application via the Smart Jobs website by selecting 'Apply now' below.

Apply now

Enquiries and further information

Applications for the 2024 Bevan Costello Senior Bursary will close on 14 June 2024. Applicants are reminded to check the​ir application to ensure all required attachments are submitted. Failure to do so may delay assessment of the application.

If you have any questions about this bursary, contact our Scholarships and Grants team by email at or phone on (07) 3055 2991.

About Mr Bevan Costello Senior: 1956–​2021

Mr Bevan Costello Snr (known affectionately as Uncle Bevan) was a valued and respected advocate for education and community justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. He worked tirelessly to help promote positive change. A Wakka Wakka Elder and educator he was known for his devotion, dedication and concern for the health and welfare of the Cherbourg community, his great integrity, and of finding ways to reach out to young people who were lost or struggling. Uncle Bevan contributed to the important work to better understand the drivers of the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland’s criminal justice system, by providing a unique insight into cultural and Indigenous history aspects of sentencing to improve life outcomes and support young people to make positive changes.

Uncle Bevan grew up in the dynamic Aboriginal community of Cherbourg, the youngest son of Harry Snr and Alice Costello. He completed his schooling at Cherbourg State School and Murgon State High School. Following graduation in 1974, he worked locally in Kingaroy and Murgon before gaining an apprenticeship at the historic Barambah Pottery as a skilled potter.

In 1978 he met his wife, Dorothy Simpson, and together they had eight children: Michael, Ricky, Ian, Bevan Jnr, Alicia, Christopher, Leighton and Joshua. He was an adored brother, father-in-law and grandfather with 19 great grandchildren.

Returning to Country with his family, he took on a full-time teaching position at Murgon State High School. He spent more than 30 years with Education Queensland, including serving as deputy principal and principal at Cherbourg State School, and as principal of the Barambah campus of Arethusa College—​an alternative, off campus program for at-risk Indigenous youth with a focus on rodeo, and principal of the Silver Lining School at Ficks Crossing. A qualified secondary teacher he taught manual arts, mathematics, Indigenous studies, English, and was the head of curriculum, senior teacher and head of special education.

Uncle Bevan’s involvement with rugby league went back to his youth and extended to representative level where he played with the Barambah Magpies before co-founding the Cherbourg Hornets. He was also a popular local musician with the Muddy Flats band.

JP qualified and passionate about justice reform, Uncle Bevan sat as a JP magistrate on the Cherbourg Murri Court where he helped magistrates gain insight into the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who came before the court. He was a member of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, served as the chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, and chaired the Barambah Local Justice Group. Highly respected by magistrates, court staff and his fellow Murri Court and Community Justice Group Elders for his extensive knowledge of culture and passion to provide opportunities to his people. His influence on the advisory council’s work also included contribution to the research publication ‘Connecting the dots: the sentencing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland’, where he encouraged the inclusion of insights and reflections that provided context to the statistics and gave a greater understanding of why the report findings were significant.

Uncle Bevan was passionate about explaining in easy-to-understand language, sentencing terms and concepts, and regularly participated in and was active in the development and production of numerous videos that communicated complex legal information in plain English.

Among his many accomplishments, he served two terms as a councillor on Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, and was a founding member of The Ration Shed Museum—​an historical and cultural precinct that evokes the stories of the Cherbourg people, of the adversity and resilience, endurance and achievement, and how they survived injustice and disadvantage to reclaim their culture, traditions, identity and heritage. Uncle Bevan also helped establish the Muran Djan Centre for Cherbourg men and was chairman of Budburra Books. He worked with the Cherbourg Men’s Group and led R U OK Day and 'family and domestic violence no bullying' marches.

The Bevan Costello Snr Bursary honours the significant contributions Uncle Bevan has made to education and justice services. It also recognises his legacy as an advocate and a voice, to be present and visible, and as a leader and inspiration to the community.

Last updated 29 May 2024