Thinking about tomorrow

The Constitutional Recognition Forum held at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) was an opportunity for me to listen and participate in the important discussions around constitutional change. I learned that a successful movement like the 1967 referendum starts with promoting knowledge and understanding so people are able to make informed decisions.

The forum—that brought together almost 70 young people from right around Australia—was my first experience in facilitation and I was a little bit nervous. But the group was fantastic and participants displayed a great deal of energy and passion. This forum has definitely set a very high standard for future forums on constitutional change.

The Constitutional Recognition Youth Forum was a life changing experience for many of the participants. It was an opportunity for these young people to build their confidence, it helped them form an opinion on constitutional recognition and it was a fun and safe environment for them to share their ideas and perspectives.

I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of such a successful and important event.

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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