Education and Reconciliation after the Referendum

The vital role of education in building a reconciled Australia is being recognised and celebrated by Reconciliation Australia.

The Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education Awards, and a national forum on reconciliation and education will round off a year when the need for greater knowledge, understanding and education about the truth of our country has been starkly highlighted.

Narragunnawali Awards

The awards, held every two years, bring together Australian schools and early learning services chosen for their outstanding dedication to reconciliation.

Reconciliation Australia director and chair of the awards panel, Sharon Davis said, “the impact of the initiatives demonstrated by these finalists cannot be overestimated on the broader Australian society. These schools and services present a brighter future for our students and the country.” 

Finalists were selected from 100 applicant schools and services throughout Australia; the winners will be announced at an evening ceremony on Friday 24 November.

Schools category finalists

  • Kellyville Public School Darug Country, KELLYVILLE, NSW
  • Kwoorabup Nature School Noongar Country, DENMARK, WA
  • Winterfold Primary School Noongar Country, BEACONSFIELD, WA

Early Learning category finalists

  • Little Beacons Learning Centre Wurundjeri and Bunurong/Boon Wurrung Country, PAKENHAM, VIC
  • Stirling District Kindergarten Kaurna Country, STIRLING, SA
  • Wyong Preschool Kindergarten Darkinjung Country, WYONG, NSW

Reconciliation and Education Forum

The day-long forum on Friday 24 November – Reconciliation and education: Past-Present-Future – will bring together Australia’s leading experts in the teaching of First Nations histories and cultures before the awards ceremony.

This is at a crucial time as the updated Australian curriculum, emphasising truth-telling and the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, is being adopted.

Co-hosted by Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali education program and the University of Melbourne’s Ngarrngga project, speakers include Professor Marcia Langton AO, Professor Tom Calma AO, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, Associate Professor Melitta Hogarth, and Hayley McQuire.

Ngarrngga Project director, Melitta Hogarth, said education plays a key role in shaping future Australian citizens so the opportunity to learn shared histories is critically important.

“It allows for non-Indigenous peoples in Australia to understand this history and the reasons why there is a disconnect within Australian society,” she said.

“The new curriculum, if implemented with proper resources and teacher training, will promote reconciliation and improved relationships between the very diverse cultural groups within Australian society.”

About Narragunnawali and Ngarrngga

Narragunnawaliis a Reconciliation Australia program which provides tools and resources for schools and early learning services to take action towards reconciliation between First Nations Peoples and other Australians. There are more than 10,000 Australian schools and early learning services registered to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) through the program.

Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) is a word from the language of the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Owners of the land on which Reconciliation Australia’s Canberra office is located. It means alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace, and is used with the permission of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council.

Ngarrngga creates innovative curriculum resources for educators and masterclass-style professional development targeting teachers, principals, and pre-service teachers, spanning all subjects from early childhood to Year 12.

The Ngarrngga vision is for all Australian students to have the opportunity to deeply connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge systems, histories and cultures.

Ngarrngga is a Taungurung word meaning to know, to hear, to understand.

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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