National Sorry Day in Brisbane

National Sorry Day in Brisbane

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Posted 2018-04-17 by Shirley Pepplerfollow
This article may upset you, particularly if you're a parent. I apologise, but I believe it is as important a part of Australia's history as the commemoration of those lost in the wars our country fought, so I invite you to read on and form your own opinion.



National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide observance held on May 26 each year. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities.

Here is a brief explanation of how National Sorry Day came about. On 26 May 1997, the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Parliament. The first National Sorry Day was held on May 26, 1998, which was one year after the tabling of this report about the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report acknowledged that Indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families and communities since the early days of European occupation in Australia by governments and missionaries. The Indigenous children taken from their families in the name of assimilation during the 1950s and 1960s are known as the "Stolen Generations". They were brought up in institutions or fostered to non-Indigenous families. By the 1980s, by welfare and community groups spoke out that governments' social welfare practices were discriminatory against Indigenous people and the practice of removal was reconsidered. In 1980, the family tracing and reunion agency Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation was established. Similar services now exist throughout Australia to assist Stolen Generation people to find their birth families. Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tabled a motion in parliament on February 13, 2008, apologising to Australia's Indigenous people, particularly the Stolen Generations and their families and communities, for the laws and policies that inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss. This event is seen by many as a step forward in reconciliation.

You can learn more about this aspect of Australia's history by watching films such as Rabbit Proof Fence, listening to music such as 'Brown Skin Baby' by Bob Randall or ' Took the Children Away ' by Archie Roach, reading one of the growing number of personal stories such as Talking To My Country by Stan Grant or Alice's Daughter: Lost Mission Child by Aunty Rhonda Collard or attending National Sorry Day events in your community.

A variety of National Sorry Day activities and events take place throughout Australia on 26th May, National Sorry Day. In Brisbane public ceremonies take place at various sites. This information is on the Brisbane City Council website about the process that led to these plaque sites being installed in public parks across Brisbane:

Orleigh Park, West End
Pandanus Point, Wynnum Foreshore (Breakwater Park)
Teralba Park, Everton Park
Kalinga Park, Nundah
Sherwood Arboretum, Sherwood
King George Square, Brisbane CBD. Brisbane City Council


The Brisbane City Council website also provides more information including why these sites were chosen. Most sites will have a ceremony to commemorate National Sorry Day. Usually, these events involve a ceremony where stories are shared, flowers are laid and there may also be singing, poetry etc. A shared meal generally follows with the opportunity community members to meet and get to know each other better.

I have chosen 4 events that have significance for me:

Sat 26 May 2018, 7-10am, Teralba Park on Pullen Road, Everton Park. The National Sorry Day Commemoration Event will be held at the plaque site, near the children's playground in Teralba Park . 2018 is the 20th Anniversary of the Brisbane City Council funded, Stolen Generations Commemorative plaque being placed on site. On this day, we come together to remember Australia's Stolen Generations, hear from those directly affected, hear from guest speakers, experience Indigenous Culture and support those still healing. The morning includes singing. You may like to bring some flowers to lay on the plaque. Please bring your own chair. A free breakfast will be provided after the event! This free event is organized by the Teralba Park Stolen Generations Support Group Inc. This event is of significance to me as it is located in the region where I worked for many years.



Fri, 25th May 2018 from 10:00am at Kalinga Park, Wooloowin. Each year, Noonga Reconciliation Group commemorates National Sorry Day with a ceremony. Local schools & community members are involved in the event through performances of dance, song and personal tributes. This year will involve reflections on children being removed in the past and currently from Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. Speakers will share their knowledge and show how colonisation has disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities today. All are welcome to attend. Again, this site is located in the region where I worked. NOTE: This event is on Friday, not Saturday.

Sat 26 May 2018, ceremony at 7am followed by shared breakfast, Sherwood Arboretum plague site, Joseph's St entrance. This year's ceremony will be particularly significant as it marks 20 years that folks have been gathering at the Sherwood Arboretum plaque site. Old timers and newcomers are equally welcome. Bring along some native flowers to place on the plaque and a plate of simple food to share at breakfast after the ceremony, a thermos of hot water for tea/coffee and camping chairs for Elders. Free event. This is my local site and a community centre which does some fabulous work toward reconciliation in its Aboriginal and Torres St Islander Solidarity group.

Sat 26 May 2018, 2-4pm National Sorry Day Author Event, Avid Reader Bookshop, West End. My dear friend, Aunty Rhonda Collard will speak about her life as a lost mission child. She recently completed her book, Alice's Daughter: Lost Mission Child. Rhonda was taken from her Aboriginal family in 1954, aged three and was placed on Carnarvon Native Mission. She drew strength and healing from art, music and poetry and her strong bond with the Dreaming. This will be an afternoon of remembrance and will feature plenty of yarning, poetry and song. Cost is $7.50. Tickets available at Avid Reader .



You can contact your local community centre or Brisbane City Council to find out what is happening in your area and for more information about National Sorry Day. I hope to see you there.

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212062 - 2023-06-16 06:42:23

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