We're working for Western Australia

National Sorry Day | 26 May

National Sorry Day | 26 May

Sorry Day (26 May) is a time to remember the past policies of forced child removal and reflect on the sad and painful stories o...

Sorry Day (26 May) is a time to remember the past policies of forced child removal and reflect on the sad and painful stories of the Stolen Generations. National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right around the country.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, 13 February 2008:
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
The formal apology - This moment had its origins in the Bringing Them Home report. This report tabled the findings and recommendations of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry. The inquiry took evidence personally from 535 First Nations peoples and received hundreds of letters and testimonies from other people.
During the inquiry, Paul recounts:
Paul’s mother was tricked into putting him into a home while she recovered from a serious illness. Paul was made a ward of the state, and his mother’s consent for adoption was not sought. His adoptive family rejected him after seven months and Paul was placed in an orphanage. He was then placed with an abusive foster family.
In his submission to the inquiry, Paul noted:
My Mother never gave up trying to locate me. She wrote many letters to the State Welfare Authorities, pleading with them to give her son back. Birthday and Christmas cards were sent care of the Welfare Department. All these letters were shelved. The State Welfare Department treated my Mother like dirt, and with utter contempt, as if she never existed.
Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission staff attended an in-house National Sorry Day session to reflect on the importance of the day. As part of this session, staff watched videos from the Healing Foundation, where individuals spoke of their experiences and the impacts that forced removal had on them and their families.

Back To News Stories