National Sorry Day
26 May 2021
National Sorry Day commemorates the anniversary of the 1997 Bringing them Home report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families and communities. Thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of past government policies and Indigenous assimilation, and placed in institutions, fostered out or adopted by non-Indigenous families. Generations of children became known as the ‘Stolen Generation’.
In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologised to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in particular to the Stolen Generations, however the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the Stolen Generations is still felt across this nation today.
As we learn more about Australia’s history, Southern Cross University Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee (SCUIECC) invites you to listen to stories from our Aboriginal community members:
(Please note: We are aware that engaging with this subject matter may require personal courage. We are also aware that if the subject matter intersects with a person’s life history in a particular way then an experience of personal discomfort may result. If this occurs, the important thing to do is to talk to someone. You might have your own sources of support to call on or alternatively contact other health services. SCU offers positive counselling support to both on-campus and on-line students. Counselling support details are available here.)
Aunty Elaine Turnbull
Aunty Elaine Turnbull - a mother, grandmother, educator and recent graduate of Gnibi College, shares her story of being taken from her family as a young girl.
'I, Aunty Elaine Turnbull wish it be known that we are survivors of the history of our great land and country. Indigenous Australians have always looked after our people and countries. The largest upset is being removed from our families and country.
This is what happened to me and many Kooris from all over Australia. We have survived and now it is time to tell our stories so that it will not happen again!
I hope that my message is heard and especially for our young ones to learn of their own history.
Best wishes to all - especially our learners.'
Listen to Aunty Elaine Turnbull’s story
Aunty Elaine Turnbull graduating
Sorry Day (front cover show below) follows Maggie and her mother, who watch the Prime Minister give his apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Government.
‘There was a hum of excitement. Flags flickered in the breeze as Maggie’s heart danced with delight. ‘This is a very special day!’ her mother said. Maggie holds tight to her mother as they await the long anticipated apology to show a willingness to reconcile the past for future generations.’
Descendent from the Bigambul people of South-West Queensland, Dub Leffler is one of Australia’s most sought-after illustrators of children’s literature. As well as an illustrator, Dub is the author of two children’s books and is currently illustrating his 25th title. Dub’s work has afforded him travel to places such as remote Australia, Europe, Indonesia and America, and his illustrations are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Listen to Dub Leffler’s story
Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Dub Leffler (Illustrator)
Dub Leffler (left) sits down to talk to Dhinawan
University of Virginia, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
Dub Leffler: Darkish
Virtual Art Exhibition; Virtual Artist in Residence
Darkish is a selection of watercolours made for illustrations in children’s literature and related works. The illustrations allows Aboriginal children to see themselves and their histories reflected in the books that help shape who they become. Many of the illustrations in ‘Sorry Day’ feature in this exhibition.
The Gallery Soundscape is beautifully narrated by the artist as he takes you on a journey about his works and his life.
Other titles by Dub Leffler can be found at Southern Cross University’s Libraries:
Sorry Day (Coral Vass & Dub Leffler [illustrator])
Once there was a boy (Dub Leffler)
Black cockatoo (Carl Merrison, Hakea Hustler & Dub Leffler [illustrator])
Our dingo, Ernie (Molly Ridley-Davison, Aliya Ridley-Davison & Dub Leffler [illustrator])
The valley (Ronald Davison, Raymond Davison & Dub Leffler [illustrator])
Frog finds a place (Sally Morgan, Ezekiel Kwaymullina & Dub Leffler [illustrator])
Health and Emergency Services Contacts
Image: Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Dub Leffler (Illustrator)