What is National Sorry Day?


What is National Sorry Day?

MAy 26, 2024

Yarn Marketplace image--30

National Sorry Day is a day of reflection and remembrance of the Stolen Generations, along with the historic mistreatment of First Nations peoples in Australia. While not officially included, it also marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week.

The Stolen Generations occurred from the mid-1800s to the 1970s, which saw First Nations peoples from all corners of the continent forcibly removed from their families, communities and sacred homelands, placed in government or private institutions, and forced to assimilate. 

Along with the state, territory and federal governments, the Catholic Church played a large role in this process, heading up many of the institutions and orphanages that caused irreparable damage to the lives of the children placed in their care.

The effects of this forced assimilation can still be felt in First Nations families and communities and has played a significant role in the high incidence of intergenerational trauma.

On April 5, 1997 the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled in the Australian Parliament. The report was created by what was then known as the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, now the Australian Human Rights Commission. The report stands as a testament to the resilience of First Nations peoples and was a call for all Australians to understand the country's dark past, as well as have the government understand the hurt and pain caused by past leaders.

In creating the Bringing Them Home Report, a comprehensive inquiry was made into the experiences of the Stolen Generations and their lasting impacts. It painstakingly documents the stories of these Elders, revealing the profound trauma inflicted by forced removal. The report highlights the trauma of parents torn from their children, the trauma of children robbed of their roots, and the intergenerational scars that persist to this day.

National Sorry Day provides a day for all Australian citizens to reflect upon the actions of the past, and work together to create a better future for the original peoples of the lands that we live, work and raise the next generation upon.

Educate Yourself

Self-education is an important part of reconciliation, and helps to get a full understanding of the experiences of those of whose lands you are upon.

Educating yourself is not about expecting a First Nations person to explain everything to you; it is about listening, reading, watching, researching, and when appropriate, asking questions.

We at Yarn Marketplace have compiled a list of resources to help you gain an understanding of the country’s dark past. 

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following resources may contain names, images and/or voices of deceased persons.


AIATSIS on the Stolen Generations

Healing Foundation - Let’s Talk The Apology

Australian Parliament House - The Apology to Australia’s First Nations Peoples

To Watch

Rabbit Proof Fence


Servant or Slave

Stolen Generation Testimonies

To Read

Took the Children Away by Uncle Archie Roach

Tracker by Alexis Wright

To Listen

The Secret Graves of the Stolen Generations

Healing Our Way Podcast

For Children

Day Break by Amy McQuire

Back on Country by Adam Goodes

Love Our Blogs? Read More Articles Now!

This blog is part of our series on National Reconciliation Week. Read more about key dates, this year's theme, and the line we are releasing surrounding NRW in our blogs below: