ABOUT THE AWARDS
“We will achieve true reconciliation through the education of future generations” – Professor Peter Buckskin, Narragunnawali Awards Patron
Held biennially since 2017, the Narragunnawali Reconciliation in Education Awards are the only national awards program that recognises and celebrates Australian schools and early learning services that are implementing outstanding reconciliation initiatives. Finalists are acknowledged for strengthening relationships, building respect, and providing meaningful opportunities in the classroom, around the school or service, and with the community.
There are two categories:
- Schools: this category incorporates primary, secondary, senior secondary and combined schools within the Government, Independent or Catholic sectors.
- Early Learning: this category incorporates early childhood education and care, preschool, family day care and out of school hours care services.
Finalists for the Narragunnawali Awards 2023 are:
- Winterfold Primary School - Noongar Country, BEACONSFIELD, WA
- Kwoorabup Nature School - Noongar Country, DENMARK, WA
- Kellyville Public School - Darug Country, KELLYVILLE, NSW
Early Learning category:
- Stirling District Kindergarten - Kaurna Country, STIRLING, SA
- Wyong Preschool Kindergarten - Darkinjung Country, Wyong, NSW
- Little Beacons Learning Centre - Wurundjeri and Bunurong-Boon Wurrung Country, PAKENHAM, VIC
The judges also commended the following schools:
- Lismore High School, Wijabal Wyabal Country, NSW
- Melbourne Indigenous Transition School, Wurundjeri Country, VIC
- Hawthorndene Primary School, Kaurna Country, SA
- Goodstart Shailer Park, Jagera and Yugambeh Country, QLD
- Kinda-Mindi Learning Centre Claymore, Dharawal Country, NSW
- MacGregor Outside School Hours Care, Turrbal and Jagera Country, QLD
Previous Narragunnawali Awards Finalists and Winners
Thank you to all of the schools and early learning services that have shared their reconciliation stories through their applications over the years!
“The Judges were impressed by the strong leadership, passion and commitment to reconciliation that was evident across the applications” – Karen Mundine, CEO Reconciliation Australia
For more information about, and inspiration from, Narragunnawali Awards Finalists and Winners, view the films and links below.
2021 Early Learning Finalists
Balnarring Pre-School (VIC) / Tumut Community Preschool (NSW)
2021 Schools Finalists
St Virgil's College (TAS)
Early Learning Category
- 2021 Joint Winner: Balnarring Pre-School (VIC)
- 2021 Joint Winner: Tumut Community Preschool (NSW)
- 2021 Finalist: St Peter's Girls Early Learners Centre (SA)
- 2019 Winner: Forbes Preschool (NSW)
- 2019 Finalist: Barefoot Early Childhood (QLD)
- 2017 Winner: Explore & Develop Penrith South (NSW)
- 2017 Finalist: Balnarring Pre-School (VIC)
- 2017 Finalist: Uranquinty Preschool (NSW)
- 2021 Winner: St Virgil's College (TAS)
- 2021 Finalist: Mosman Park Primary School (WA)
- 2021 Finalist: Briar Road Public School (NSW)
- 2019 Winner: Maclean High School (NSW)
- 2019 Finalist: Moolap Primary School (VIC)
- 2019 Finalist: Tamborine Mountain State School (QLD)
- 2017 Winner: Queanbeyan Public School (NSW)
- 2017 Finalist: Middle Park Primary School (VIC)
- 2017 Finalist: St Virgil's College (TAS)
Chair of this year’s Awards, Sharon Davis (pronouns they/them) is from both Bardi and Kija Peoples of the Kimberley. Previously the Director of Education at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and currently a Board Member of Reconciliation Australia, Sharon has a deep professional and personal commitment to social justice, equity, inclusion, and respect for all. Sharon holds a Bachelor in Education (K-7) specialising in Aboriginal education, graduating with a number of honours, including the Vice Chancellor’s Medal for the University of Notre Dame’s School of Education. In addition, Sharon graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master of Science in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition. Sharon believes that enhancing educational experience for Aboriginal students, families and communities’ benefits all.
Aunty Geraldine Atkinson
Aunty Geraldine Atkinson is a Bangerang/Wiradjuri woman who has devoted her career to expanding the possibilities available to Koorie people through education. Geraldine has made a significant impact in the area of early childhood, and has always regarded education as being the best instrument of progress. Geraldine is President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI) and an elected Member and Co-Chair of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria representing the North East Region. Geraldine combines her direct experience of what works in community with her extensive policy knowledge, and regards this ability to act as a link between policy and community as her principal function. Geraldine holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, Master of Education and Honorary Doctorate in Education. Geraldine received the Lyn Kosky Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in education at the 2020 Victorian Training Awards, and was inducted into the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll in 2018. Aunty Geraldine is an elected Member and Co-Chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, the elected voice representing First Peoples in Victoria through the States historic Treaty negotiations with the Victorian Government.
Joe Sambono is a proud Jingili man with Aboriginal family connections throughout NT, QLD, and WA. He is a curriculum specialist with extensive experience in the embedding of Australian First Nations histories and cultures in the primary, secondary, senior secondary and tertiary education sectors. Leveraging off his lifelong passion and experience with wildlife and conservation Joe enrolled in a BSc (Zoology) at James Cook University and spent his early career working as a zoologist. After receiving a BEd from the University of Queensland, Joe was able to merge his biology interests and cultural background with a new career in education. Joe started his education career 18 years ago as a senior secondary science teacher and was immediately involved in supporting his region with various cross-cultural education initiatives. Joe’s multi-faceted skill set, and experiences grounded in his First Nations Australian identity, science and education careers and lived experiences as a First Australian student continues to fuel his desire to work in the complex space of First Nations education. Joe is currently the Program Lead for Embedding Indigenous Australian Perspectives with the Queensland University of Technology.
Professor Peter Buckskin
Professor Peter Buckskin is a Narungga man from the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. For over 40 years Professor Buckskin’s passion has been the pursuit of educational excellence for Aboriginal peoples. Professor Buckskin is Co-Chair of Reconciliation South Australia and former Dean of Aboriginal Engagement and Strategic Projects at the University of South Australia. Professor Buckskin has worked as a school teacher, a Ministerial Adviser, Superintendent of Schools and as a senior executive at both State and Federal levels. He was appointed a member of the Voice Co-Design Senior Advisory Group in 2019 and Co-Chair of the Local & Regional Co-design Group in 2020. Professor Buckskin is Chair of the SA Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council and a member of the Lowitja Institute Board of Directors. Professor Buckskin is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and was awarded the 2020 NAIDOC South Australia Lifetime Achievement Award.