Shepparton to honour Stolen Generations

By Madeleine Caccianiga

Tomorrow will mark 11 years since then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology in Federal Parliament for the grief, suffering and loss past governments bestowed upon indigenous Australians.

As is tradition, Shepparton will honour the Stolen Generations at its annual apology breakfast, this year reflecting on what has been achieved in the 11 years since the iconic speech.

Reconciliation Group Shepparton co-convener Dierdre Robertson, who helps organise the event each year, said every year since the apology there had been an event in Queens Gardens to acknowledge the delivery of the apology.

‘‘The important thing is to keep the apology alive and keep acknowledging it and it’s a really good example of how an event like this can come together from lots of smaller groups who are able to achieve something big,’’ Ms Robertson said.

She said a number of years ago the committee thought it would be good to get a young person as the guest speaker to help represent the future generation.

‘‘Our guest speaker this year is Ebony Joachim and she is a Yorta Yorta/Muthi Muthi woman — in the past she has worked in different Aboriginal organisations and at Gowrie Street Primary School in Shepparton and is currently working at the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity based in Melbourne,’’ Ms Robertson said.

The ceremony will be attended by the region’s primary and secondary students, Academy of Sport, Health and Education students, the mayor, councillors and Aboriginal elders.

ASHE student services teacher Jamie Atkinson said having the students involved in the ceremony signified the historical date in Aboriginal heritage and gave them a chance to be a part of the future going forward.

‘‘To see the people and hear the stories of the people fighting for them, be a part of it and I think ASHE has been a part of the day for the last five or six years and are really doing the best they can to be a part of it,’’ Mr Atkinson said.

The community is invited to attend the event tomorrow at Queens Gardens in Shepparton. Guests must register at and arrive at the event at 7.45am for an 8am start.