Sorry Day was first celebrated on the 26th May, 1998 in recognition of the Stolen Generations. It took place one year after the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report – a government inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The stolen children were systematically sent to missions and homes from 1874 to 1970. In those years mothers would hide their children in order to prevent the “welfare men” from taking them. See Stolen Generations.
Sorry Day was initiated so that healing could begin and to acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal people. It is celebrated each year with marches, speeches and presentations throughout the country.
The Stolen Generations were further acknowledged on the 13th February, 2008 in a personal apology by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. Thousands of Aboriginal people gathered in Canberra to hear his apology. The Prime Minister’s apology had been long awaited by Aboriginal people, and was for many, pivotal, and held the most resonance. Celebrations were held on the Perth Esplanade and around the country on this day.