The Gunnedah community was invited into the grounds of Winanga-li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre on Tuesday to mark a major milestone – the 10-year anniversary of National Apology Day.
February 13 is the anniversary of then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivering a National Apology to Australian Aboriginals, particularly the Stolen Generations. It is now considered a defining moment in Australian history.
At Winanga-li, Joel Griffiths performed a smoking ceremony and James Hogbin and Tyrone Winsor performed a welcoming dance while Braithen Winsor played the didgeridoo.
Centre manager Wayne Griffiths reflected on the meaning of February 13.
“[Today] is a significant event in the calendar of Australia,” he said.
“What is an apology? It represents a state of regret or a failure for people to do something.
“My mother was significantly affected by the removal of her nieces and nephews from Curlewis.
“The heartache we can never patch up [but] every day of the week we work hard at restoring those memories to the kids.”
Gunnedah shire deputy mayor, Gae Swain, spoke on behalf of mayor Jamie Chaffey at the event.
“It’s a landmark event and a significant moment in our nation’s history that must never be forgotten,” Cr Swain said.
“The apology has laid the groundwork… so we can work together.
“We’re not to forget the past but to use it to move forward as one people.
“We must look to the future for our young people.”