16 years on from the national apology

16th Apology Breakfast - Queens Gardens, Shepparton

The Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group held the annual Apology Breakfast at Queens Gardens, Shepparton, on the morning of 13 February, 2024. This day was the 16th Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

SORRY. The words spoken 16 years ago made small steps towards reconciliation for a nation often divided along colour lines. Though we are further than we need to be in our understanding of the past trauma inflected by past government policy, through clear communication, listening with empathy and understanding the road forward stretches out for all Australians new and old to walk down as one.

Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group (SRRG) held several events yesterday to commemorate Sorry Day, beginning with a breakfast at the Queens Gardens. There was a traditional Smoking Ceremony by members of ASHE College. Speakers included Dierdre Robertson of SRRG, Cr Shane Sali, students from Greater Shepparton Secondary College Madeline Judd and Isabella O’Dwyer, Performer Bricky B, and 17-year-old Noongar Yamatji Wongi woman Dakoda Woods Carpio.

“Shame doesn’t live here. That’s the one I’ve been living off, that’s what made me get up on someone else’s land. It’s been a learning experience for me. I’m proud to be a part of the journey of closing the gap and to be on Yorta Yorta land as a Noongar female, it was definitely a blessing,” said Dakoda Woods Carpio.

“To see the community come together as one, so we feel like one whole nation, we’re definitely slowly, very, very slowly making our way towards that, which I’m proud to be part of.”


16th Apology Breakfast - Queens Gardens, Shepparton
NATIONAL APOLOGY… A breakfast was held at the Queen’s Gardens in Shepparton yesterday to honour the 16th anniversary of the National Apology by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The crowd reflected on what the apology means to the First Nations People and how far we need to grow as a nation to bridge the gap and heel as one country. From left, Noongar Yamatji Wongi woman Dakoda Woods Carpio, Yorta Yorta men Bricky B and Cr Greg James. Photo: Aaron Cordy

The Apology to the Stolen Generations

I move:

That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations—this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

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.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

The Hon Kevin Rudd,
Prime Minister
13 February 2008


16th Apology Breakfast - Queens Gardens, Shepparton
Participants at the 16th Apology Breakfast – Queens Gardens, Shepparton


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