Clarence Valley residents gathered at the South Grafton Emporium on February 13 over a social breakfast to acknowledge the 9th anniversary of The Apology.
Clarence Valley residents gathered at the South Grafton Emporium on February 13 over a social breakfast to acknowledge the 9th anniversary of The Apology. Lesley Apps

Breakfast gathering to mark Apology anniversary

AROUND 25 people gathered at the Emporium in South Grafton early Monday morning for a cuppa and some breakfast to mark the 9th anniversary of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Apology.

Organised by Grafton Ngerrie Aboriginal Land Council members Barry Williams and Janelle Brown, the social get-together was held to reflect on the momentous 2008 speech delivered in parliament but also encourage and foster engagement from across the broader indigenous and non-indigenous Clarence community.

"We don't really have enough events like this in the Grafton so we thought this would be a good starting point. We hope to hold a few more this year,” Mr Williams said.

"There's Naidoc Week in July but we could raise the profile of it in the Clarence. Coffs has three things a day five days a week in their program.”

Mr Williams said as far as working towards reconciliation goes The Apology was a good start but it had lost some of its momentum.

"It draws a line in the sand so it's important to wave the flag on these significant days otherwise the opportunity is lost.

"It has tapered off a little so that's why we are holding this breakfast.”

Mr Williams said there were other significant moments in our history we could acknowledge this year. "It's the 20th anniversary of the Bring It Home Report (into the removal of children) and in May its the 50th anniversary of the change to the constitution to recognise Aboriginal people.

"My Auntie was part of the stolen generation and she couldn't come along this morning. It's still too much for her. I was lucky, but she spent 10 years in the Cootamundra Girls Home. I don't think there is an Aboriginal family here in the Clarence that hasn't been affected by stolen generation experiences in one way or another.”

Mr Williams said it would be great if other community groups and businesses got behind these kinds of events to acknowledge and support them in a casual social environment.

"A meet and greet event like this one where you can just come along for a chat.”



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