Bill Lawson AM appointed to the Board of Reconciliation Australia

Mr Bill Lawson AM has recently been appointed to the Board of Reconciliation Australia. 

Prior to his retirement, Mr Lawson was the principal of Sinclair Knight Merz. During his tenure he had also been the Group Manager of the Company’s global Corporate Social Responsibility Program and the Manager of the Indigenous Sector.

Mr Lawson has worked on major projects in Tasmania and the Antarctic and in 2003 was awarded the Australian Professional Engineer of the Year.

In addition to his engineering career Mr Lawson has been deeply involved in the community sector, seeking to help overcome youth unemployment and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. In 1988 Mr Lawson devised and founded the Beacon Foundation which aimed to alleviate youth unemployment, initially in Tasmania and then nationally, with the rollout of the Beacon Foundation across Australia in 2000. Mr Lawson was awarded an Order of Australia for this work in 2006.

Since his retirement in 2014 Mr Lawson has continued his work to contribute to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage and was the Tasmanian representative on the Prime Ministers’ Expert Panel for the Recognition of Indigenous Australians from 2011 – 2012.

Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair, Professor Tom Calma AO, said “Mr Lawson’s skills and experience across the private, public and community sectors, together with his contributions to overcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage are an asset and we welcome him to the Board.”

Mr Lawson attended his first meeting of the Reconciliation Board on 25th June 2015

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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