Reconciliation in Education Awards 2021: finalists announced

The creative and innovative work done by teachers and students in advancing reconciliation in schools and early learning services will be celebrated again this year.

The judging panel of the Narragunnawali Awards 2021 – Geraldine Atkinson, Sharon Davis and Professor Peter Buckskin – have decided the finalists for the 2021 awards.

Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said the judges were impressed by the strong leadership, passion and commitment to reconciliation that was evident across the applications.

“They looked for the ways in which the school or early learning service strengthen relationships, build respect, and provide meaningful opportunities in the classroom, and with the community.

“The panel were also pleased to see that even with the challenges posed by COVID-19, schools and early learning services ensured that reconciliation remained a priority in 2020.”

The Award’s finalists are drawn from early learning, primary, and secondary (or combined) institutions across the government, Catholic and independent sectors. They span NSW, Tasmania, WA, Victoria and South Australia.

There were three rounds of assessment to reach the finalists’ announcement.

The judging panel will visit each of the six finalists during August and September 2021. Due to COVID-19 lock downs and border closures, the visits will be a combination of virtual and in-person.

Narragunnawali Awards 2021 finalists

Early Learning category:

·       Balnarring Pre-School, Boon Wurrung Country, Balnarring, VIC

·       St Peter’s Girls Early Learners Centre, Kaurna Country, Adelaide, SA

·       Tumut Community Preschool, Wiradjuri Country, Tumut, NSW

Schools category:

·       Briar Road Public School, Dharawal Country, Airds, NSW

·       Mosman Park Primary School, Whadjuk Country, WA

·       St Virgil’s College, muwinina Country, Hobart, TAS

The awards ceremony will take place as part of the Australian Reconciliation Convention at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on 15-16 November.

Held every two years since 2017, the Narragunnawali Awards 2021 are the third awards to celebrate exceptional commitments to reconciliation in education.

Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali program supports all schools and early learning services in Australia to foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

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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