News

Shepparton Sorry Day goes online

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Shepparton's Sorry Day commemoration will be streamed online because of COVID-19 restrictions instead of the usual public ceremony held at Monash Park.

Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group co-convenor Dierdre Robertson said although people could not gather as a community, the event would still be streamed live on Facebook tomorrow at 11 am.

“Even though we cant be together, we can together in spirit,” Ms Robertson said.

“It’s really important we still commemorate the day.”

Ms Robertson said it was vital for the community to know and understand the truth of the Stolen Generation — the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly separated from their families because of government policy.

“It’s a way the country as a whole can acknowledge this actually happened and the ongoing generational traumas that have come from these policies,” she said.

“The young ones were to be domestic servants and the young boys were put to work on proprieties — it was really a form a slavery.

“For many of years these children grew up with no connection to country – it’s almost like a part of them died.

“Their family's had no idea if they were alive, and many never found their way home and many of them died from mistreatment or being sick to the soul.”

As an analogy, Ms Robertson asked people to imagine their grandparents had been taken away and "dumped" in a home — fed a lie their parents had died or could not look after them.

“Then your parents are taken away, and finally you're taken away from them,” she said.

“It’s not uncommon for three generations to have been taken.”

According to the Bringing Them Home report — the national inquiry into the Stolen Generation: "addressing the underlying trauma of these issues through healing is the only way to create meaningful and lasting change.”

The Maya Living Free Healing Association will also be holding a healing walk across "The Flats" in Mooroopna.

Only 10 people – including a number of Stolen Generations survivors – will be able to take part in this year’s commemorative walk, which aims to spread a message of hope for future generations.

● The Sorry Day commemoration will be held at 11 am on Tuesday and people can watch the ceremony by going to www.facebook.com/GreaterShepparton