National Sorry Day – Having a Yarn First Nations Awareness Breakfast

Today is National Sorry Day, a culturally significant day for our First Nations Peoples. Today we remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their communities and families; those we now recognise as ‘The Stolen Generations’. The first Sorry Day was held in 1998. Many Sorry Day commemorations that year were used as platforms to encourage the Australian Government to issue a National Apology to the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. A National Apology came 10 years later in 2008, tabled in the Australian Parliament by the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd which is featured below.  The video below was shown this morning at our Having a Yarn First Nations Awareness Breakfast.

This morning’s breakfast included the launch of our St Leonard’s College Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) by Jane Cuttler, our Warruwi Partnership Coordinator. To read more about the RAP please click here.

At this morning’s event, Mr Peter Clague recognised the historical harm inflicted on Indigenous communities through education, such as prohibiting Indigenous languages being spoken and omitting crucial parts of our nation’s history. He recognised the importance of educating current and future generations on our history. He also drew upon his own experience and the immense pride that New Zealanders take in the Hakka and the Maori Indigenous culture. He reflected on the pride all Australians can take in the ancient wisdom and culture of our First Nations Peoples.

The guest speaker at the breakfast was Jamil Tye, proud Yorta Yorta man and Director of the William Cooper Institute at Monash University. Jamil shared a little of his own personal story and that of his remarkable family who have been integral to the Aboriginal activism movement throughout Victoria from the 1880’s to the present day.

Jamil spoke of the Voice to Parliament and expressed concerns about some of the media messaging surrounding this topic. He reminded the attendees that the primary purpose was to recognise the First Peoples of Australia in our Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Voice. He noted that the Australian Constitution is the only Constitution of a first world nation with a colonial history that does not recognise its first people. He shared that an overwhelming majority, approximately 80%, of Indigenous Australians support the Voice to Parliament. He voiced his hope that non-Indigenous Australians will demonstrate their support by recognising our First Nations Peoples.

Jamil spoke of the importance of schools offering accurate resources and information to students, such as the yes campaign website and the Uluru Statement from the Heart

We thank Jamil for sharing his time and knowledge with us. We also thank the parents, students and staff who attended the breakfast and all staff and students who contributed to the success of this significant event.




“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, 13 February 2008