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Patji-Dawes Award 2021 - nominations are open!

Outreach, Patji-Dawes

Date: 7 September 2020

Ciao, Konnichiwa, Salut, Yaama. Who taught you that language? Why not nominate them for the Patji-Dawes award?

Becoming proficient in other languages is one of the great learning experiences in the human condition. The purpose of the Patji-Dawes award is to honour outstanding achievements in teaching languages other than English by an accomplished practitioner in Australia.

The name of the award commemorates the partnership which underlay the earliest documented language learning in Australia’s history: that between a young Indigenous woman, Patyegarang (Patji), and Lieutenant William Dawes.

We seek nominations from those who've achieved a very high level of fluency in their chosen language. If you would like to honour your teacher, we ask that you tell us (and the world) what it was about their practice that inspired and enabled you to unlock the rewards of learning another language despite all the difficulties involved. The teaching may have taken place in any setting – school, university, private language school, government department or Indigenous community. 

The award will include a certificate, small cash prize and, if travel permitted, airfare and accommodation for both the prize-winner and their nominator to attend the award ceremony.

The nomination process is quick and simple. After filling in the basic nomination form, tell us how you accomplished a high level of competence in the language (up to one page.) Then add a short account of what made the teacher so inspiring and effective in helping you learn the language (up to two pages).

The deadline for nominations is 8 March 2021. The winner will be announced in May and the award conferred in July 2021.

Help us show Australia that monolingualism is curable. Nominate now!


(Main image: A woman of NSW by Augustus Earle, Courtesy of the National Library of Australia)

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University