Working towards a just future for all Australians
HUNDREDS of Gympie people - students, teachers, police and community leaders black and white - gathered at Gympie State High School yesterday to commit themselves to a just Australian future.
They marked the fifth anniversary of Kevin Rudd's national apology to aborigines and islanders, which the then Prime Minister said included the promise of "a future that acknowledges all Australians", offered "as part of the healing of the nation".
That remains a vital commitment, according to Blacksnake resident Eugene Barga, who still lives on his family's traditional land, having purchased a portion of it.
"My mum died last month, the last of the stolen people from that area," he said.
"She was taken from Cherbourg to Palm Island.
"I was there when she met her mother after 37 years. It was a big day," he said.
His was one of many stories reflected in Mr Rudd's apology.
Aunty Barb Ferguson-Lewis said the apology was "one step forward with many more to go".
Aunty Olive Bennet said: "Just as there are people who don't believe in the Holocaust, there are people who don't believe in the stolen generation."
The school's indigenous support officer Raylene Gibb said the school's celebration of Sorry Day was intended to immortalise the commitment, through the presentation of signed extracts from the speech.
Although Mr Rudd could not be there yesterday, because of parliamentary commitments in Canberra, Ms Gibb said he had shown his enthusiasm.
"We sent the extracts down to him and they were courier delivered back to us, signed, within two days," she said.