National Sorry Day
On 7 February 1997 Brisbane City Council, churches and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities began a series of events entitled Kul-gun Da ‘Lo-bol’ pa - The Journey Home, to recognise the Stolen Generation.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders led a procession to City Hall where they were formally welcomed by the Lord Mayor. Cultural and historical ceremonies were conducted to mark the start of a healing process and a commemorative plaque was placed near City Hall.
National Sorry Day
In 1998, commemorative Sorry Day plaques were installed by Council in Brisbane parks as a mark of respect, apology and remembrance for the Stolen Generations. Public ceremonies are held each year around 26 May (National Sorry Day).
An estimated 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly taken from their families and raised in homes or adopted or fostered out by European families.
On 13 February 2008, the then Prime Minister of Australia made an official apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Government. The apology has been an important step in the healing process for the Stolen Generations.
Commemorative sites are located at:
- Orleigh Park, West End
- Pandanus Point, Wynnum Foreshore (Breakwater Park)
- Teralba Park, Everton Park
- Kalinga Park, Nundah
- Sherwood Arboretum, Sherwood
- King George Square, Brisbane CBD.
Orleigh Park, West End
In 1900, Cranbrook became the home for Aboriginal girls and young women who had been forcibly removed from their families and communities under the Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, 1897. Many Aboriginal girls and young women were taken from their families and put to work as servants. In 1906, the home was closed after an inquiry into conditions there.
Pandanus Point, Wynnum Foreshore
Pandanus Point was chosen as a commemorative site because of its views to Moreton and Stradbroke Islands and its proximity to several children’s homes to where Aboriginal children were forcibly removed including Nazareth House, Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys and Silky Oaks Children’s Haven.
Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys
Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys on Tingal Road, Wynnum was opened by the Methodist Church in 1924. The home was closed in 1974. The home was gifted to the Methodist Church by Mr. John Fyfe Marr in memory of his late wife Margaret Roberts Marr to become a home for boys aged 9 and upwards.
Nazareth House, located on nearby Tingal Hill in Wynnum, was operated by the Catholic Church. It was established by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth in 1925 and closed in 1982. By 1933, there were over 230 residents at Nazareth House including children and the elderly, prompting the start of a second stage of building, including a convent and chapel in 1938. From its establishment to its closure in 1982, Nazareth House cared for 1714 children.
Silky Oaks Haven for Children
Silky Oaks Haven for Children was located at 218 Manly Road. Operated by the Open Brethren it was originally established in Toowong in 1940 and transferred to Manly in 1946 and was licensed as a foster home. The first State children were admitted to Silky Oaks in April 1950. The name was adopted due to the kitchen at the Cross Street residence at Toowong which was made from Silky Oak timber. It was closed in 1998.
Teralba Park, Everton Park
Teralba Park, overlooking Kedron Brook, was an important meeting place and home for Aboriginal people. Kedron Brook was a vital trade route connecting the Samford Valley with the coast. Its significance is underlined by the location of several Bora ring sites along its length. These were used for important ceremonies and initiations.
Enoggera Boys’ Home
This plaque site was chosen because it is close to the former Church of England Boys’ Home at Enoggera, where many Aboriginal boys were placed after being taken from their families. The home operated from 1906 to 1978. From there, they were sent to various institutions, including the Tufnell Home at Nundah. In 1987, Hillbrook Anglican School opened on the site.
Kalinga Park, Kalinga
Kalinga Park, was chosen as a commemorative site as it is near homes and institutions to which Aboriginal children were taken ‘for their own good’ between 1897 and 1970. These include St. Vincent’s Home (Nudgee), Diamantina Orphanage, Magdalen Asylum and Holy Cross Industrial School for Girls (Wooloowin) and Tufnell Girls’ Home and Tufnell Industrial School (Nundah). Kalinga Park is seen as a place of safety and peace, making it a perfect location for reconciliation.