National Sorry Day has been held annually on 26 May since 1998, to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As a tribute, Western Sydney Local Health District held a memorial ceremony to acknowledge the past.
More than 70 people, including 20 Aboriginal Elders from Blacktown and Mount Druitt, government and non-government representatives, community members and WSLHD and BMDH staff, gathered to show their support and respect.
WSLHD Aboriginal Health worker Linda Lewis said many of the Elders shared their own experiences of being taken and also spoke of their family members, who were taken as part of the Stolen Generation.
“It was very moving and touched many people’s hearts,” Linda said.
“I can’t image how it must have been for them – the loss of a family member and not knowing your background, family and upbringing would cause so much pain and anxiety.”
Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Sue-Anne Redmond emphasised the dedication and commitment WSLHD has for its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Aboriginal Elder Aunty Rita Wright was delighted with the number of people present on the day and thanked Uncle Danny Eastwood, Uncle Wes Marne, Uncle Greg Simms and Linda Lewis who all shared their personal stories.
“These were real stories and things that happened to us all and to the Aboriginal people of Australia,” she said.
“People have to know the truth of what really happened to the Aboriginal people and their families. I was glad I could share my story and let people know that I am a survivor.
“Everyone who shared their stories, right across Australia are survivors.
“I would like to thank the Aboriginal Health Unit for recognising and honouring the Stolen Generation; it was a very solemn and moving event.”
Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals director of nursing David Simmonds gave a moving tribute to the family and friends of Blacktown Hospital’s first Aboriginal Liaison Officer, the late Eva Mumbler.
Eva worked at the hospital from 1991 to 1998.
For more information about National Sorry Day, visit: http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/sorry-day-stolen-generations