A 25-year-old rising actor from Heath Ledger's home state in Australia has been awarded a scholarship set up in the late actor's memory.

Cody Fern was named the winner of the 2014 Heath Ledger Scholarship Award in a special dinner in Los Angeles hosted by performer Tim Minchin on Thursday night (12Jun14).

The actor will receive a $20,000 (£12,500) prize and two years of classes at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in L.A.

Fern hails from Southern Cross, Western Australia, the same state as Ledger's native Perth.

He beat out competition from Home and Away star Axle Whitehead and Charlotte Best.

Fern tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I've always had plans to come to Los Angeles; now it's a reality and will happen a lot sooner. There's some exciting projects going on, it's looking bright and the award makes it all possible."

The fund was set up by the Australians in Film organisation in Los Angeles in memory of the late Brokeback Mountain actor following his death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2008.