The Bringing Them Home Committee again organised one of the biggest commemorations of Sorry Day in Australia at Wellington Square in East Perth on Monday 26th May 2014. This year we were ably assisted in organising this substantial event by Reconciliation WA, ICEA (Indigenous Communities Education & Awareness) Foundation, AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience), The Catholic Education Office, Caritas and Follow the Dream (an initiative of the Polly Farmer Foundation) and Reconciliation Australia.
The day’s events commenced at 9.30am with a Welcome by representatives from ICEA and AIME. In excess of 1000 schoolchildren then took part in a large range of activities that included everything from painting, poetry, Aboriginal dance, poetry writing and sports. School events finished with a mass corroboree on a massive sand mural that had been created adjacent to the marquee. The formal proceedings commenced at 12.30pm with a Welcome to country by Rev. Sealin Garlett and then the The Bringing Them Home Committee Co-Convenors, Jim Morrison and Alan Carter welcomed everyone to Sorry Day. We asked Michael Johnston and Michael Walters from the Fremantle Dockers to present the prizes to the winners of the school competition in poetry, writing and photography.
Glenys Collard, a member of the Stolen Generations, whose family had recently lost a test case against the WA Government in the Supreme court spoke to the crowd about her experience and three of her grandchildren joined her on the stage and talked about how their family’s experience as part of the Stolen Generations had impacted on them and their families. After a wonderful rendition of the Sorry Song by the Madjitil Moorna Choir with Fred Chaney reading excerpts from Kevin Rudd’s Apology to the Stolen Generations, the crowd were asked to join the Committee in walking through a smoking ceremony organised by Ben and Alf Taylor to the Sorry Pole. The proceedings finished with the planting of six native Hibiscus next to the Sorry Pole.
The Bringing Them Home Committee would like to thank Lotterywest, the City of Perth, Uniting Care West, Caritas, the Catholic Education Office, Caritas, ICEA, AIME, Follow the Dream, Reconciliation Australia and Reconciliation WA for their generous financial and in-kind support for the event. Photos of the event are set out below:
For more information about Sorry Day 2014 please contact our organising partners, Reconciliation WA on 9420 7142.