Finalists in 2023 Narragunnawali Awards announced
The Sector > Provider > General News > Finalists in 2023 Narragunnawali Awards announced

Finalists in 2023 Narragunnawali Awards announced

by Freya Lucas

August 01, 2023

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and schools with a passion for reconciliation in education have been recognised as finalists in the 2023 Narragunnawali Awards


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.


The Narragunnawali Awards celebrate outstanding commitments to reconciliation in education, and have been held every two years since 2017. The awards are part of the broader Narragunnawali program offered by Reconciliation Australia, which supports all schools and early learning services in Australia to champion reconciliation and foster a high level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions. 


A judging panel of eminent First Nations educationalists comprised of Sharon Davis, Geraldine Atkinson, and Joe Sambono selected the finalists, and found themselves impressed with the finalists’ use of local Aboriginal languages, their embedding of reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures into the curriculum and their strong relationships with local Elders and communities. 


Chair of the panel Sharon Davis said the panel sincerely appreciated the finalists’ efforts to address anti-racism in their settings and to build strong and respectful relationships with their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 


“Schools and early learning services are increasingly becoming places that are welcoming for First Nations students and families as education gets serious about reconciliation,” they said.


“The impact of the initiatives demonstrated by these finalists cannot be overestimated on the broader Australian society. These schools and services present a brighter future for our students and the country.” 


Stirling District Kindergarten, on Kaurna Country in South Australia has been announced as a finalist in the Early Learning category, joining Wyong Preschool Kindergarten on Darkinjung Country in New South Wales and Little Beacons Learning Centre on Wurundjeri and Bunurong/Boon Wurrung Country in Victoria. 


Kinda-Mindi Early Learning Centre Claymore, Dharawal Country, NSW, while not a finalist, was commended by the panel, along with MacGregor Outside School Hours Care, Turrbal and Jagera Country, Queensland and Goodstart Shailer Park, Jagera and Yugambeh Country, QLD.


Finalists in the Schools category were: 


  • Winterfold Primary School – Noongar Country, Beaconsfield, WA
  • Kwoorabup Nature School – Noongar Country, Denmark, WA
  • Kellyville Public School – Darug Country, Kellyville, NSW  


With commendations from the judges for the following schools: 


  • Lismore High School, Wijabal Wyabal Country, NSW
  • Melbourne Indigenous Transition School, Wurundjeri Country, VIC
  • Hawthorndene Primary School, Kaurna Country, SA


The judging panel will now visit each finalist to determine the winners in each category before the Awards ceremony and a reconciliation in education forum takes place on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra at the National Museum of Australia on Friday 24 November.

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