Monday, February 13 will mark 9 years since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised publicly to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia, “for the pain, suffering and hurt” and for the injustices that they have experienced since Australia was colonised in 1788. It will also mark the niinth year for Reconciliation SA’s Apology Breakfast event that runs in conjunction with the speech, continuing an important conversation.
“The Anniversary of the Apology is not just a time to acknowledge the brutality of a time gone by,” says Professor Peter Buckskin, Co-Chair Reconciliation SA, “but to look to the present and see the ways in which this legacy continues to impact on us all, as Australians. This is not about apportioning blame and guilt but acknowledging Australia’s true history since colonisation.
“The Apology reminds us of past injustices and the need to bring about continued healing in the whole community around the Stolen Generations. It is also a time to focus on reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people,” adds Buckskin.
This year’s event will touch on the 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report – a national inquiry seeking to reconnect and bring justice to members of the Stolen Generation.
Combining this message with excerpts of the recent television series First Contact, speakers and survivors of the Stolen Generations, Aunty Wilma Moran (Cootamundra Girls Home), Uncle Richard Campbell and Uncle Roger Jarrett (Kinchela Boys Home), will share stories and rebut the comments that guests like David Oldfield makes during his appearance in the series.
Oldfield is known for his divisive opinions, having referred to the Stolen Generation as the “rescued generation” and denies the existence of a government appointed racial removal policy. His words are the driver behind the breakfast’s title, “Never the ‘So Called’ Stolen Generation”.
“Through this breakfast, we are focusing on educating the non-Aboriginal population on the realities of our nation’s history and the ongoing consequences of past government policies and actions [towards Aboriginal Australians],” says Mark Waters, State Manager at Reconciliation SA.
Alongside the serious conversation, there will also be positive celebration of Indigenous art and culture. Each year a different local Indigenous artist is invited to showcase their work. This year Anna Dowling, a descendent of the Badimia people of the Yamatji region in WA, will display three intricate line drawings, exploring the dispossession, dispersal and loss of those affected by the Stolen Generations. One will be sold through a silent auction, with proceeds going to directly back to Stolen Generations, and the other two available for sale.
Anna Dowling, Our Journey
Over the years, the breakfast has grown to become a nationally recognised event. Starting off with only a few hundred guests in 2009, the even has gained traction and subsequently moved from the National Wine Centre to the Adelaide Convention Centre. ”It’s grown progressively each year. This year we’ve seated 1250 guests,” says Waters.
“We’ll use the hashtag ‘apology2017’ this time. Last year we had a great response and managed to trend on twitter.”
Following the breakfast, there will be a further community event held at Veale Gardens from 10am. “It’s an event for Survivors [of the Stolen Generation], targeted towards healing, but it’s also open to people who want to show their support,” says Young.
Ninth Anniversary of the Apology Breakfast
Monday, February 13
Adelaide Convention Centre
Camellia Aebischer will be volunteering as a social media coordinator at this year’s Apology Breakfast.