Indigenous organisations wow judges in awards program

Eight of Australia’s top Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have been selected from a record pool of nominees in the prestigious 2012 Indigenous Governance Awards (IGAs). 

The 2012 IGAs attracted over 100 applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned organisations and projects—more than tripling the number from the previous awards program in 2010.

An independent judging panel chaired by Professor Mick Dodson had the tough job of selecting just eight finalists.

“Indigenous governance is really improving and our finalists represent the best of what is happening in Indigenous communities,” Professor Dodson said.

“We’re very pleased with the enormous response. We received a record-breaking 107 applications and the standard of quality was also very high.

“They are true success stories, achieving clear results in what are largely very challenging environments.”

Included in the eight finalists is a women’s council who work to strengthen the economic, emotional and social wellbeing of women and families living in traditional homelands across South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia; and a youth development and leadership program in the Northern Territory.

While the 2012 finalists represent a diverse range of services, each has been developed from the ground up and are genuinely owned and driven by the communities and members they represent.

Judges will visit each finalist throughout August and September with the winners announced at an Awards event at BHP Billiton in Melbourne on the 12 October.

Held biennially, the IGAs were created in 2005 by Reconciliation Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton, to identify, celebrate and promote strong leadership and effective governance.

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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