Anything is possible

Patrick Johnson the current Australian world record holder for the 100metre sprint with a time of 9.93 seconds. Now that’s fast! We were lucky enough to catch up with Patrick to chat about his Olympic experience at the Sydney 2000 games, and his current role at the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA).

You represented Australia at many events including the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. What is it like to be a part of such an iconic international event?

It is such a honour to represent your country, your people and the family. Also knowing through your passion, hard work and commitment. “anything is possible”.

In May 2004, you ran the 100m in under 10 seconds and still hold the record of 9.93 seconds today. How did it feel at the time to break the record?

Relief and joy. Showing Australia and the rest of the world that true talent is in Australia. Through nurturing and support we can and will break any glass ceiling or barrier.  

You’re currently the co-ordinator for Athletes as Role Models (ARMtour) at the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA). Who inspires you?

I am always inspired through contact with all peoples of this world. Especially with people in the remote communities we visit  (Papunya, Yuelamu, Santa Teresa, Ntaria) and the role models who volunteer their time. “True inspiration is knowing you can better yourself and others from the people you meet in life”.

As a well-known athlete and former Olympian, do you feel a particular responsibility to be a good role model for Indigenous Australians?

As an individual I believe we are all responsible to be a good role model (lead by example). We have one life to live and I wish to be remember that I did my best and hopefully along the way, helped others.

You’ve also had success away from the track both academically and professionally, why did you think it as important to gain an education as well as excel in your chosen sport?

I believe education is one of the major contributors to succeeding in each individuals life’s. Knowledge is the first step in truly living and creating your own footprints. One of the major attributes to my success was to live my passion and embrace the fear of the unknown and to challenge myself.

And finally, what events are you most looking forward to at this year’s Games? Are there any particular athletes you’ll be watching?

I always look forward to watching all of Australian’s exceptional athletes at the Olympics. In particular Usain Bolt in the 100 & 200 metres.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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