Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

On the 13th of February, 2008 – joy

Rev. Sealin Garlett and Sir Ron Wilson 

This photo was taken ten and a half years ago, soon after the release of the Bringing Them Home Report. Rev. Sealin Garlett was a stolen child. Sir Ronald Wilson was one of the co-authors of the report. Together at the 1997 Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia they called on the government to apologise to the Stolen Generations.

Today that ‘Sorry’ was said, and I am so proud of the Prime Minister and the Federal Parliament. I wish Sir Ron had still been alive to see it. I know how happy he would have been today.


February 13, 2008 - Posted by | Life, etc.


  1. Rudd was wonderful. Nelson was nausea inducing. But it was a day I’ll never forget, and the applause spreading across that lawn, more than any speech, made me hope.

    Comment by Alex | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  2. I thought, too, that it was sad that Sir Ron had not lived to see the apology.

    I had an unbreakable appointment at 9.20am, so missed seeing the live thing and therefore haven’t heard what Nelson had to say, but he was in a very difficult position, having to do a complete about face on his party’s stance for the last 11 years.

    Comment by Judy Redman | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  3. Nelson gave his support, of course, but as though with the brakes on. Where Rudd had referred to indigenous Australians as “a proud people and a proud culture”, Nelson thought it important to emphasise the pride of the settler community. Where Rudd resolved that “the injustices of the past must never, never happen again”, Nelson made the jarring assertion that separation does and must continue.

    Nelson seemed to compare the suffering of indigenous Australia to the hardships faced by white settlers. He described Aboriginal suffering as ‘sacrifice’, as if it were somehow essential and for a greater good.

    His recounting cases of child abuse in indigenous communities – so widely aired already – had the effect of diminishing indigenous dignity on a day when the focus was on the failings of non-indigenous Australia. Honouring Australia’s war dead was also a strange insertion revealing poor judgement.

    He went on to make a big deal of public spending on Aboriginal affairs, as if to say, ‘look how much we do for these people.’

    It seems either Nelson fundamentally doesn’t ‘get it’, or else he seeks to placate various interests who still feel they have nothing for which to apologise.

    Comment by Olivia | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  4. A proud day except for Brendan ‘Sorry about what?’ Nelson. His chance to show leadership quickly vanished in his attempt to score points.
    Fed Square was packed and the biggest cheer of the day came when the sound was lost during Nelson’s speech.

    Comment by Pete | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  5. Interesting looking back nearly a week later at both speeches and thinking that Rudd’s should stand the test of time as a great speech in Australian histroy, while Nelson’s will be remembered as an ill-timed speech that didn’t understand or capture what the day was about.
    He is right when he states that seperation does continue and should continue in some instances, but that’s not what the apology was about. We were not saying sorry for removing children at risk (something that should continue), we were saying sorry for a racist policy designed to ‘breed-out’ a race of people (a form of genocide). Yes white Australian’s died in World Wars, so did Aboriginal soldiers. You can’t compare sacrifices and should not be asked to either. Hopefully we can forget this aspect of the day.
    And of course the inevitable backlash led by right-wing columnists like Andrew Bolt will only highlight the sheer small-mindedness the simple act of saying ‘Sorry’ has inspired in some people.
    Thankfully it seems that a majority of people actually understand why we needed to make this apology, and that is a good sign for the future.

    Comment by Pete | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. Did you hear this interview with Sir Ron, either in 2001 or when it was repeated last month? Listen online:

    Comment by Olivia | March 9, 2008 | Reply

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