“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…For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.”
Prime Minister Keven Rudd, 13 February 2013
1909: The Aborigines Protection Act gave the Aborigines Protection Board legal sanction to take Aboriginal children from their families in New South Wales.
1937: All Australian States adopt policies to ‘assimilate’ Aboriginal children of mixed descent.
1950s: During the 1950s and 1960s, great numbers of Aboriginal children were removed from their families in the name of assimilation. They became known as the Stolen Generation.
1970s: Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families into the 1970s. Aboriginal groups begin to receive funding to challenge these very high rates of removal.
26 May 1997: The Bringing Them Home Report is tabled in Federal Parliament. This report talked about the painful history of the Stolen Generations, and made 54 recommendations for moving forward including holding a national Sorry Day every year.
26 May 1998: The first official Sorry Day is held to acknowledge the impact of forcible removal policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
28 May 2000: The Corroboree 2000 Bridge Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge shut down traffic and made national headlines as hundreds of thousands of people walked in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
13 February 2008: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologises to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for the policies which ‘inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these, our fellow Australians’. This is why, on 13 February every year, we now celebrate the anniversary of the Apology.