Sorry Day 2013

by John Patten
Publish date
4 June 2013
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John Patten is a Bundjalung / Yorta Yorta man on his father's side, and a descendant of First Fleet convicts via his mother. An educator and artist, he takes great joy in sharing knowledge with visitors to Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

On Sunday May 26, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre partnered with Connecting Home to host an event for National Sorry Day. A time for reflection and healing, National Sorry Day pays tribute to the courage and vitality of the many Aboriginal people affected by past policies of forced removal. The day also serves to highlight the work that organisations such as Connecting Home are doing in the service of members of the Stolen Generations, and those similarly affected.

group of people Crowd at the Sorry Day event
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The afternoon kicked off with Bunjilaka’s Birrarung gallery being filled by the sounds of William Wandin-Dow’s didgeridoo, followed soon thereafter by a large and attentive crowd, who via MC Bryan Andy were given an appreciation for the significance of Sorry Day.

dancers Seven Sisters dance group
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

A welcome to Country was performed by Kulin Nation elders Aunty Carolyn Briggs (Boon Wurrung), and Aunty Di Kerr (Woi Wurrung). They spoke of the day and its personal significance to each of them before a warm round of applause and the entrance to the gallery of the Seven Sisters dance troupe, who wowed the crowd with a tightly choreographed and evocative performance.

woman Alice Solomon
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The two key speakers for the afternoon then took their turns to speak to the crowd. The first to share her story was Zoe Upton, followed then by Alice Solomon. Both speakers were moving in what they had to say, and their heartfelt words remained in the crowd’s consciousness during the final performance of the afternoon, a clutch of songs sung beautifully and with great humour by the Koorie Skin Choir. 


Connecting Home

Reconciliation Australia


MV Blog: National Sorry Day

MV Blog: Reconciliation Week 2012

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