National Reconciliation in Education Awards 2021

Reconciliation Australia is proud to launch the third Narragunnawali Awards recognising exceptional commitment to reconciliation in education.

The Narragunnawali Awards are Australia’s first and only national reconciliation in education awards for schools and early learning services.

Cash prizes of $10,000 as well as media and promotional opportunities are on offer to the winning school and early learning service that displays exceptional commitment to reconciliation.

Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine said the recently released 2021 State of Reconciliation in Australia Report consistently asserts the role of education as a driving force in the reconciliation movement.

Education is critical to how we understand and think about the world and about reconciliation; the earlier we have these conversations the better,” said Ms Mundine.

“These awards will showcase the huge amount of substantive work occurring in schools and early learning services, not only through teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in the classroom, as well as building relationships across education settings and their local communities.

“While there is still some way to go, awareness, understanding and active inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives, is moving into the mainstream – reconciliation in education is becoming an increasingly well-embedded expectation of the profession.”

Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program has approximately 25% of all schools and early learning services in Australia registered on their website,

1,200 of these have a current education Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

“If we are to move forward, reconciliation must happen where we live, where we learn and where we work, and schools and early learning services are at the heart of this,” Ms Mundine said.

“The Narragunnawali Awards are a chance for all of us to see the good work happening in education settings, and to be able to share and celebrate that.”

Ms Mundine encouraged those schools and early learning services that strengthen community relationships and build respect, and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories to apply for an award.

“Celebrate your successes, challenges and share your reconciliation stories; this is what these awards aim to do,” she said.

2019 winners were Maclean High School, NSW in the Schools category, and Forbes Preschool, NSW in the Early Learning category.

See information on previous award winners from 2019 and 2017.

Access 2021 media and digital assets.

Apply now: Two award categories

Schools: including primary, secondary, senior secondary and combined schools within the Government, Independent or Catholic sectors.

Early Learning: including early childhood education and care, preschool, family day care and out of school hours care services.

Winners in each category receive $10,000

Apply online for the Narragunnawali Awards 2021

Applications close Friday 30 April 2021.


The Narragunnawali Awards were established in 2017 by Reconciliation Australia in partnership with the BHP Foundation to recognise and celebrate schools and early learning services that demonstrate exceptional commitment to reconciliation in education.

To be eligible for the Narragunnawali Awards, schools and early learning services must have a published Narragunnawali Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) – this can be done at any point during the application period via the Narragunnawali website.

About Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education

Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education is a program of Reconciliation Australia, dedicated to supporting all Australian schools and early learning services to develop environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) is a word from the language of the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waterways of the area on which Reconciliation Australia’s Canberra office is located.

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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