Discovering the leader in me

My journey began back in December 2011 after applying to be one of the 23 students to participate in the Cert IV Indigenous Leadership course ran by the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre.

The first residential kicked off in February and I was to meet 22 other inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from right across Australia. I must admit it was no holiday—or walk in the park—but I knuckled down and completed all assignments.

When the first residential was over it was time for all the students to head back to their communities. During our time back home a project and several other major tasks were to be completed during the break between the first and second residential workshops—which were due in 6 weeks!

April came around, and I was feeling excited to catch up with everyone again. During the week I had to give an effective presentation. It was supposed to be between 8 and 10 minutes and I tried to say everything in one breath (laughs). But I was deadly.

We also had a networking gathering with 13 Canberrans ranging from government, local community members and even a Real Estate agent. Finally after 100 days the time had come to graduate with 21 other people and one other who was in our thoughts.

It was an amazing, inspiring and unforgettable journey that I will never forget. And I encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people— if the opportunity pops up—to grab it!

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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