Noah on his first day of workIt’s a Monday morning, mid pandemic, and GO Scholar Noah Albany is busy.  Like most people, he’s working from home during Covid-19, today in his role as policy officer with the Office of Children’s Guardian. He’s also completing his end of term uni exams.

21-year-old Noah is in his fourth year of a dual degree in Arts/Law majoring in Criminology and Indigenous Studies at University of NSW. “I’m sort of coming to the end of studying.  I’ll finish in May 2022,” he says. “I’m also working a day a week with a criminal lawyer in Sydney, and I know it’s what I want to do. In 10 years from now I hope to be working as a criminal lawyer in an Aboriginal legal service somewhere on the coast.”

A proud Kalkadoon man from Mount Isa, Noah grew up with his family on Tharawal land in Campbelltown and understood what a privilege it was to become one of the GO Foundation’s first scholars in 2015.  “I remember getting the letter saying I’d been awarded a GO Scholarship after a PE class at school,” says Noah. “It was awesome as a 15-year-old kid knowing that Adam and Michael would become role models in my life.  I gave a speech at one GO event, and I remember them saying how proud they were of me and that I’d done a great job. That meant the world to me.

“I’ve never taken the opportunities GO has given me for granted. I have seen the effects of socio-economic disadvantage in my home community,” says Noah.  “Many of my friends in primary school weren’t able to attend a high school as well-resourced as St Gregory’s like I did, and their families weren’t able to give them all the books and things they needed.

“I remember being told I was Aboriginal at school when I was young, but it was in high school that I started understanding and being proud of being Aboriginal,” he explains. “Dad and his sisters weren’t really able to connect with their past.  It was a different time.  Dad’s found that connection now through us kids – me, my sister, and brothers, and I really want to go back to Country and meet family up at Mt Isa.

“Mum and Dad pushed us all to study hard and try the best we can in school,” he says. “I’m pretty proud of the influence they’ve had on our lives.” Noah’s older brother Hamish will soon qualify as a doctor, sister Imogen is studying speech pathology and younger brother Calyn is starting his HSC year.

For the last couple of years Noah’s been sharing a house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs with four mates – and his three pet python snakes. “I’ve always had a passion for reptiles,” he explains. “Growing up we had a big back yard with a shed and I had everything – monitors, snakes, lizards and turtles. Now I just have my three two-metre pythons. To me it’s like keeping fish, although my girlfriend doesn’t like them!”

At the end of 2019, Noah attended the GO’s first graduation ceremony as a proud alumnus. The evening reinforced to him that he has lots to be thankful for. “To have all the La Perouse primary kids there, and know the different lives they’ll have now, is amazing to think about,” Noah says. “They’ll now have the books and everything else they need to be successful at school because of GO.  It makes me really proud to be part of it.

Noah with Adam and Michael at his graduation
Noah with his family