Reconciliation News: November 2023

Centring the theme of listening, this edition focusses on First Nations people who are making their voices heard for their communities.

This 50th edition of Reconciliation News is about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people raising their voices and singing their stories despite setbacks.

Mundanara Bayles hates the sound of her voice, but she’s following in her dad’s footsteps with her groundbreaking podcast.

Once policed for speaking in Dhurga, intergenerational Yuin choir Djinama Yilaga are reclaiming their language through song.

Jack Bulman couldn’t find a place for Aboriginal men to get together to talk, but now his organisation Mibbinbah creates safe spaces for community to love and listen.

Creating a monument to the Convincing Ground Massacre in Portland, Victoria, Walter Saunder’s sculpture sparks an ongoing conversation on truth-telling in his community.

Never told the language her grandmother was speaking, Denise Smith-Ali OAM has been on a quest to revitalise her Noongar language.

This edition also incluces reflections on the Voice to Parliament referendum and campaign, including Thomas Mayo on what comes next after the Voice; the future of the RAP program; and CEO of Reconciliation Australia Karen Mundine’s actions for supporters to continue the momentum.

Reconciliation News magazine is published twice a year, in print and online. 

To read past editions or to sign-up to receive future hard copy issues of the magazine, go to the Reconciliation News page. 

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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