Reflection of the past

“History is not a Mystery.”

This is the theme students and members of the public adhered to as they came together in recognition of Reconciliation and Sorry Day on Friday.

The day marked the anniversary of the 2000 Sydney Harbour Bridge walk, which saw more than 25,000 Australians cross Sydney Harbour Bridge for “reconciliation”. A symbolic moment in history which led up to the Corroboree 2000, where the word “Sorry” was written in the sky, calling for a national apology for the Stolen Generations.

Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service’s (WACHS) Social Emotional Well Being Counsellor, Jody Chester, said Reconciliation Week is an opportunity to celebrate the community’s rich Aboriginal culture and history.

“While we also reflect on the past injustices that have taken place through Government Legislations and Policies, including the legislation that saw countless Aboriginal children removed from their mothers arms and placed in institutes all around the country,” she said. 

“… One thing we know is that saying sorry will not change the past but it is a symbolic gesture and acceptance of the past, in acknowledging our history, as Australians.

“Let the journey of healing begin by reaching out and taking the path together as a community, as a nation, in acknowledging our history and no longer being a mystery. Let us build strong communities together leading our next generation into a future of humility and equality.”

Education is a vital factor in preserving this history, according to Aboriginal Elder Aunty Joyce Williams who led Wellington Public School students as they marched from Pioneer Park back to the school grounds in acknowledgement of the movement. 

It is an opinion supported by principal Darryl Thompson.

“It’s a chance for kids to understand history and remember it to inform them of what we do moving forward,” he said.

“It’s a cohesive thing for the community too, it’s important for Wellington to acknowledge that as part of our past.

“Education is key to building a brighter future.” 

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