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Aunty Agnes Shea honoured through naming of Canberra’s newest public school

Callan Morse -

Canberra’s newest public school will be named in honour of Ngunnawal Elder, Aunty Agnes Shea.

Agnes Shea High School will open in 2025, catering for up to 800 year 7 to 10 students.

The announcement was made on Tuesday, with representatives from the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, including Aunty Agnes’ granddaughter joining ACT Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Yvette Berry, at the the school construction site to mark the occasion.

Minister Berry paid tribute to Aunty Agnes’ contribution to society.

“Throughout her life Aunty Agnes worked to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Canberra while also improving non-Indigenous Australians’ understanding of Aboriginal culture,” she said.

Aunty Agnes, who passed away in March 2023 aged 91, was a founding member of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, a member of the advisory board to ACT Health, helped establish the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm, and was a member of the ACT Heritage Council.

Her achievements and contributions and dedication were recognised numerous times throughout her life, including as a recipient of the Centenary Medal in 2001, receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004, receiving an ACT Senior Citizen of the Year award and a place on the ACT Honour Walk in 2010.

“Aunty Agnes Shea was a great Canberran, a proud Aboriginal woman and a senior Ngunnawal Elder who dedicated her life to bettering the world for future generations,” Ms Berry said.

“I hope the naming of this school after Aunty Agnes Shea will inspire countless young Canberrans for generations to come to learn about her life and story.” 

Work will now begin on designing the Agnes Shea High School logo and uniform with Aunty Agnes’s granddaughter, Selina Walker, assisting the architects and newly-appointed Principal, Daniel Mowbray.

Once initial designs are drafted, the broader community will have the chance to provide feedback on the logo and uniform design options through YourSay.

In announcing the naming of Agnes Shea High School, the state’s 92nd public school, the ACT government confirmed the Priority Enrolment Area (PEA) for Agnes Shea High School is the same as for Margaret Hendry School.

From 2025, residents of Taylor, Moncrieff and Jacka (North of Appleford Ave) will be in Agnes Shea High School’s PEA.

Enrolments are now open online.

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