baby doll dressed in white wool suitcase badges from Roslyn Hall Children's Home, Murray Dwyer Boys Orphanage, Protestant Homes Booklet from Burwood Boys' Home – 'Valuable Household Hints' ceramic elephant with broken trunk canvas shoes badges from Morialta Homes
FORGOTTEN AUSTRALIANS – OUR HISTORY – banner

Apology

At 11am on Monday 16 November 2009, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered a National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants – here's a transcript. Malcolm Turnbull, then Leader of the Opposition, made his own apology.

Below are photos of the event in Canberra – click to enlarge.

Three women at Parliament House for the national apology to Forgotten Australians
Forgotten Australians enter the Great Hall, Parliament House.
Harry Jenkins at the podium in the Great Hall of Parliament House, with Jenny Macklin, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull in the background.
The official party on stage in the Great Hall, Parliament House.
Malcolm Turnbull, Jenny Macklin, Kevin Rudd and Therese Rein in the foyer of Parliament House
Assembling in the foyer of Parliament House before entering the Great Hall.
Harry Jenkins addressing an audience in the Great Hall of Parliament House, with various photographers and others in the foreground.
Mr Harry Jenkins MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, addresses guests in the Great Hall.
Kevin Rudd speaking at the podium in the Great Hall of Parliament House.
Apology and address from the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd MP.
Crowd of people in the Great Hall of Parliament House listening to Kevin Rudd
Guests in the Great Hall, Parliament House, during the apology and address from the Prime Minister.
Malcolm Turnbull speaking in the Great Hall of Parliament House with a projection screen behind him showing three other people.
Address from the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull MP.
two hands holding each other tightly,  with a small sprig of flowers on one person's lap.
Forgotten Australians, during formal proceedings of the national apology.
Maxine McKew listening to the national apology to Forgotten Australians
The Hon Maxine McKew MP.

Below are some of the many people for whom the Apology was a signficant milestone. Click to enlarge.

Valda Hogan and Jenny Bosanquet
Valda Hogan and Jenny Bosanquet
Sconey and Wayne Robert King holding the flag of Forgotten Australians South Australia Inc.
Sconey and Wayne Robert King
Janice Johnson, Sue Treweek and Diane Tronc
Janice Johnson, Sue Treweek and Diane Tronc
Trish Charter and Gail Favaloro
Trish Charter and Gail Favaloro
John Hennessey OAM, former child migrant, with photo of his late mother
John Hennessey OAM, former child migrant, with photo of his late mother
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signing Sconey's flag
Kevin Rudd and Sconey
Former child migrants: Jon Holmes, John Merrigan and Maurice Crawford-Raby.
Former child migrants: Jon Holmes, John Merrigan and Maurice Crawford-Raby
Glenda Bradshaw.
Glenda Bradshaw
Graeme Bradley and Kevin Parker
Graeme Bradley and Kevin Parker

The following Forgotten Australians shared their stories with National Museum staff. Click to enlarge.

Colleen Stevenson
Ms Colleen Stevenson.
Wilma Robb
Ms Wilma Robb.
Lynette Meyers
Ms Lynette Meyers.
Don Aziz
Mr Don Aziz.
Wendy Dyckhoff
Ms Wendy Dyckhoff.
Katie-Marie Sibraa
Ms Katie-Marie Sibraa.
Garry Harrison
Mr Garry Harrison.
James Myers
Mr James Myers.
David Mulholland
Mr David Mulholland.

Read Darlene McKay's open letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; and other Inside blog posts about 'apology'.

News of the apology

Media coverage of the national apology was extensive:

Background to the apology

The apology was announced by Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, on 27 October 2009. In making the announcement the Minister said:

The apology will acknowledge that what happened in the past was both real and wrong. It will make sure that a largely invisible part of our history is put firmly on the record. And it will remind the community of what happened to many of these children – the loss of family, the loss of identity and, in the case of child migrants, the loss of their country.

Read the media release in full.

Quotes

From Forgotten Australians:

I need this apology today to release me from the pains of my past and to help assist me out of victimhood that I still get when having any dealings with any government official.

(p193)

I cannot forget, will not forgive and no apologies accepted.

(p194)

From Lost Innocents:

We need our suffering and experiences acknowledged. Australian Federal and State governments should acknowledge that they had and still have a duty of care.

(p236)

You can accept an apology, but you cannot forget I know they tried their best to apologise and everything; we have got to accept that. But I always say it is too late.

(p235)