Around 60 people gathered at Busselton Uniting Church on Sunday 26 May to commemorate Sorry Day, a national day to remember Australia’s Stolen Generations.
The service was co-ordinated by Rev Andrew Broadbent, Minister at Busselton Uniting Church, and supported by local churches.
On arrival at the service, visitors were given a Native Hibiscus silk flower, a symbol of the Stolen Generations. According to the Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation, this flower was chosen as a national symbol because it is found widely across Australia; its colours denote compassion and spiritual healing, and it is a survivor.
Aunty Gloria Hill, long-term Wadandi custodian gave a warm Welcome to Country and singing group, Wadan Warankiny, or Ocean Singers, responded with an Acknowledgement of Country by Jemma King. Wadan Warankiny has been granted permission by the local Wadandi Elders for wadjelas (non-Aboriginal people) to sing songs mostly created by Aboriginal musicians and sung by the choir in Perth, Madjitil Moorna.
Pauline Vigus was involved in organising the service.
“Wadan Warankiny sang Kerry Fletcher’s Sorry Song, written after the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report on 26 May 1997, and performed on the first Sorry Day in 1998 – one of the few of the 54 recommendations adopted from the report,” she said.
“The words of Prime Minister Rudd on the Apology day on 13 February 2008 – another of the recommendations – were read during the singing of the song.
“The singing group also sang the first verse of Amazing Grace in Wongatha, as taught to us by Aunty Josie Boyle, and another song in English and Noongar, Universal Love, written by Della Rae Morrison and translated by her son Kobi Morrison,” Pauline said.
“A number of people contributed during the service for which we are very grateful. It was very special to have Lyall Colbung lead us in our first reading. It was also a privilege to hear Pastor Dennis Jetta read The Lord’s Prayer in Noongar.”
Top photo: Auntie Gloria Hill.
Pictured left to right in the group photo are some of the people involved in the service: Rae Witham, Pastor Lee Sykes, Jenny Okeley, Rev Andy Broadbent, Pastor Dennis Jetta, Chris Vigus and seated in the front Ted Witham.
Members of Wadan Warankiny pictured left to right: Amanda Bell, Christine Ravenscroft, Lola Garlett, Cara-Lyn Mills, Wendy Emmett and Pauline Vigus.