Narragunnawali Award Winners Announced

Reconciliation Australia is delighted to announce the winners of the third Narragunnawali Awards; the national awards that recognise and celebrate Australian schools and early learning services that are implementing outstanding reconciliation initiatives.

St Virgil’s College on the Country of the muwinina people in Hobart, Tasmania is the winner in the schools category award.

Judging panel member Sharon Davis said the school was chosen for the way in which reconciliation is embedded at all levels—including in the strategic plan; its exemplary inclusion of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community in its work; and for prioritising caring for Country on its campus grounds.

“St Virgil’s College views reconciliation as a living, authentic and powerful means of achieving justice and peace for a collective future,” she said.  

St Virgil’s was a finalist in the inaugural Narragunnawali Awards in 2017.

For the first time, the early learning services award was jointly presented to two winners: Tumut Community Preschool (NSW) and Balnarring Pre-School (VIC).

Ms Davis said judges were impressed by the early learning services’ commitment to building respectful and constructive relationships with local Traditional Owner groups. 

“Tumut Community Preschool staff do not shy away from the important work of critical reflection and holding each other to account,” said Ms Davis.

“They are committed to anti-racism in policy and practice, and work in partnership with the local Aboriginal community.”

“Balnarring Preschool recognises the importance of children learning the histories and cultures of Australia’s First Peoples.” 

“They have enduring partnerships with Traditional Owners and actively engage the local community in developing learning, respect and understanding.” Balnarring Pre-School was also a finalist in the inaugural 2017 Awards.

The awards were presented today during a ceremony as part of the 2021 Australian Reconciliation Convention.

Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said she was impressed with the efforts of the Narragunnawali Awards finalists and all schools and early learning services – who have kept reconciliation a priority in the classroom, around the school and with the community.

“It’s amazing to see that even with all the challenges posed to schools and early learning services over the past year, educators have remained some our biggest advocates, giving young Australians the skills to contribute to reconciliation,” she said.

Reconciliation Australia also congratulates the finalists in each category: Briar Road Public School (NSW); Mosman Park Primary School (WA) and St Peter’s Girls Early Learners Centre (SA).

Watch the finalists explain in their own words what their reconciliation journey means to them, in these videos they helped produce: 


And watch summary videos for both the schools and early learning categories: 


The Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program, in partnership with the BHP Foundation, enables Australian schools and early learning services to foster knowledge and pride in First Nations histories, cultures and contributions.

The Narragunnawali Awards are Australia’s first and only national reconciliation in education awards that aim to recognise commitment to reconciliation in schools and early learning services.

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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