Narragunnawali Reconciliation in Education Awards Winners

The Narragunnawali Awards celebrate educators and community members  doing the hard work, learning and unlearning, and creating lasting relationships.

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

  • Schools category winner: Winterfold Primary School, on Noongar Country, Beaconsfield, Western Australia.

Chair of the awards judging panel and Reconciliation Australia Board Director, Sharon Davis said the school inspired the judges with its strong connections to its local Noongar community and a vigilant policy of anti-racism.

“Winterfold’s principal told the judges that reconciliation and anti-racism was at the core of the school’s culture and curriculum, and this was obvious to us all when we visited the school,” they said

“The use of Noongar language and the school’s clearly warm and supportive relationship with Noongar Elders, parents and kids was wonderful to witness.”

  • Early Learning category winner: Stirling District Kindergarten on Kaurna Country, Stirling, South Australia.

Sharon Davis said the staff at Stirling were passionate about reconciliation and respectful to members of the local Kaurna communities.

“The use of the local Kaurna language and Stirling’s engagement with Kaurna Elder, Uncle Tamaru – who teaches the children Kaurna language, and knowledge about ceremony, culture, plants, and animals – is a great credit to the service and the families it serves,” they said.

“Over the history of the awards and in my time working with the Narragunnawali program, I have witnessed incredible stories of schools and early learning services putting relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, cultures and communities at the heart of their institutions.

“Like so much else, often teachers and educators have achieved this with little in the way of resources and time.”

Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said she was heartened by the outstanding reconciliation work going on in schools and early learning services across the country.

“After the disappointment of the referendum result it is wonderful to witness the profound contribution that these places are making towards a more just and reconciled Australia,” she said.

“There is still so much work to be done to enable a greater understanding of our history and the legacy of colonialism which still haunts so many First Nations people.

“I can see these changes happening in our education system. Young Australians are opening their hearts and gaining the skills to effectively contribute to reconciliation.

“This is why events like the Narragunnawali Awards are so important. It is about celebrating educators and community members out there, doing the hard work, learning and unlearning, and creating lasting relationships.”

Reconciliation Australia also congratulates the other finalists in both categories:

  • Kwoorabup Nature School – Noongar Country, Denmark, WA
  • Kellyville Public School – Darug Country, Kellyville, NSW
  • Wyong Preschool Kindergarten – Darkinjung Country, Wyong, NSW
  • Little Beacons Learning Centre – Wurundjeri and Bunurong-Boon Wurrung Country in Pakenham, Victoria

The awards were presented on Friday 24 November at a ceremony at the National Museum of Australia. The evening ceremony followed a forum investigating the past, present and future of reconciliation in education.

Watch compilation reels featuring all finalists for both the schools and early learning categories and view all videos from the Narragunnawali Awards 2023 here.

Video compilations


Early Learning

Narragunnawali is 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 engaged with the Narragunnawali 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.

Narragunnawali means alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace, and is used with permission of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council.

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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