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Illawarra history written in scholarship

Pioneering Steelworks family remembered through materials engineering scholarship. 

Descendants of one of the pioneering families of the Illawarra have made a special donation to the University of Wollongong (UOW), to further the career of a female interested in materials engineering.

The late Elizabeth Marie Hoskins bequeathed $15,000 to UOW in her will to establish a bursary for a student in a field relating to metallurgy. The AP Pratt for Engineering Scholarship was established as a result of the donation and named in honour of her father, Andrew Percival Pratt.

Andrew Percival Pratt (known as Percy) was born in Hamilton, Victoria in 1879 and was a metallurgist by trade. He grew up in Melbourne and spent some time in the Kalgoorlie goldfields, where he worked with the brother of Banjo Paterson. Percy relocated to Port Kembla with his wife and four children in the early 1900s and his fifth child, Elizabeth, was born in the Illawarra in 1918.

He held the position of Superintendent of the Spun Pipe plant at the Port Kembla steelworks and worked closely with the Hoskins family – namely Charles and his sons Cecil and Sydney, the original founders of the steelworks. Percy, together with H.R. Lee and Charles (“Chief”) Jackson also founded the Boy Scout movement on the South Coast – a plaque recognising his contribution can be found at the Mount Keira Scout Camp.

Will executor Diana de Hauteclocque, granddaughter of Percy Pratt (maternal) and Cecil Hoskins (paternal) and daughter of Elizabeth Hoskins, said the gifting of the scholarship was a thrill for the whole family.

“I still remember my father asking my mother when her will was drawn up, where she wanted the money to go,” she said.

“Both of my parents were very involved in and focused on education, and my mother decided that she wanted to leave a scholarship in the name of her father and relating to his work in metallurgy.

“I’m really thrilled that it’s going to be used for a young woman, my mother would be so pleased.”

UOW Advancement Development Manager Ainslie Tweedie said the scholarship upholds the pioneering spirit of the Pratt and Hoskins families.

“UOW has always had a strong historical link to the Steelworks and we are pleased to see the donation will continue the family’s legacy in the Illawarra, while furthering the career of a young woman in materials engineering.”

The AP Pratt Scholarship for Engineering is valued at $20,000, with financial contribution from UOW, and will be offered over four years of the degree. Applications are now open and females with an interest in materials engineering are invited to apply for the scholarship.