Schools Reconciliation Challenge

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is an annual writing and art competition for young people across NSW and the ACT.

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is one way for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia and contribute positively to Australian society, while meeting the objectives of the K-6 and 7-10 syllabus.

Every year, we ask students to create artworks and stories inspired by a theme, and to reflect on what reconciliation means to them.

Past Themes and Catalogues

2009-10 Reconciliation, the Road Ahead
2011 You Me Us
2012 Our Place
2013 Say Something!
2014 Our Journey
2015 Homegrown Heroes
2016 Always Was, Always Will Be

2017 Where’s Your Country?

2018 Our Voices, Our Future!

2019 Speaking and Listening from the Heart

2020 Caring for Country
2021 Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

Visit the Schools Reconciliation Website


The Schools Reconciliation Challenge Regional Tour

Each year, supported by National Trust Australia, the winning entries are assembled into an exhibition and tour NSW.
See the tour dates for the 2021 Regional Tour of Speaking and Listening from the Heart Schools Reconciliation Challenge Finalists 2019.


The 2021 Schools Reconciliation Challenge

Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

For more than 60,000 years First Nations People have looked up at the sky, to understand the world around them. Using their observations of the stars, planets, Moon, Sun and the atmosphere to predict weather changes & tides, to navigate on land & water and to plan food gathering, hunting, trading, ceremony as well as pass down stories through the generations.

In 2021, we want to celebrate the knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their relationships with the sky. To do this we invite you to explore our skies and discover this ancient knowledge and share your interpretations and ideas using art and writing.

This year we invite you to learn, share and participate!
By exploring the theme Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever students will:

  1. Learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relationships with the sky.
  2. Learn about the diversity of expert First Nations knowledge, ways to observe the sky, understanding the importance to culture and how this knowledge aids survival.
  3. Be inspired to look up and pass on knowledge in their communities.
  4. Participate in learning activities that explore seasonal calendars and foods, navigation, stories of the sky, ancient science, constellations, and ancient observations in art recorded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for thousands of years.


The 2020 Schools Reconciliation Challenge

Caring for Country Exhibition


Over 600 students participated in the entries received for last year’s Caring for Country themed challenge.

The final selection includes 56 Artworks and 12 written entries representing 31 schools and 157 students.

Schools ranged from Newtown and Double Bay to Emu Plains and Willcannia, from Tweed Heads, Tenambit and Minmi to Walhallow, Katoomba and Moruya.

The judges were also pleased with the diversity of media in last year’s challenge from installations (photographed) to mixed media which utilised many local elements of country including ochre, bark, leaves, collage, pencil sketches, painting and sculpture. Many works impressed beyond imagery with artists wise words and deep feelings of care for our Country, including concern about pollution, fires, flooding, drought and land clearing,  Other popular themes were custodianship, plant diversity and recognition, respecting and learning from Elders.

Schools, families and friends will be proud of these young people whom the Schools Reconciliation Judges admired and were inspired by, knowing that our future is held in these capable, thoughtful and nurturing hands.

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2020 – Caring for Country finalists artwork is on exhibition on level 2 of the Powerhouse Museum. Be sure to see the artwork of incredibly talented student finalists while it still lasts!

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