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Cultural Event

National Sorry Day

Sunday, 26 May 2024
09:00 AM
Gold Coast Campus, Coffs Harbour Campus, Lismore Campus
Uncle Herb performing a smoking ceremony on the beach


Hosted by:
Southern Cross Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee
Event cost:

National Sorry Day acknowledges the thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families and communities and placed in institutions, fostered out or adopted by non-Indigenous families, as a result of past government and assimilation policies.  Generations of children became known at the "Stolen Generation".

National Sorry Day background

On 26 May 1997, Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families was tabled in Parliament.

The Report, Bringing Them Home, reveals the extent of forced removal, which went on for 150 years into the early 1970s and its consequences in terms of broken families, shattered physical and mental health, loss of languages, cultures and connection to traditional land, loss of parenting skills and the enormous distress still being experienced by many of its victims today.

The Report recommended that a Sorry Day be held - a day when all Australians can express their sorrow for the whole tragic episode and celebrate the beginning of a new understanding. Many of the stolen generations told the Inquiry that they would value this. Unlike the widespread Aboriginal use of the term 'sorry business' to denote death, they see a Sorry Day as a means of restoring hope to people in despair.

National Sorry Day FAQs

Events such as National Sorry Day flag-raising events, morning teas or lunches, and speeches from community leaders, including Indigenous Australian elders, are often conducted during this day.  

On 13 February 2008, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presented the apology to Indigenous Australians as a motion to be voted on by the house, which included the lines of, “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".

A national apology was issued, especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities, and their country. This apology extended to the pain, suffering, and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants, and for their families left behind.