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New South Wales - Event

Premier's Apology to Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants (19 September 2009)

19 September 2009
19 September 2009

On 19 September 2009 then New South Wales Premier, Nathan Rees, held a special ceremony in the Botanic Gardens to formally apologise to the state's Forgotten Australians and child migrants. Mr Rees and then Community Services Minister Linda Burney unveiled a memorial as 'a lasting tribute to the children who suffered in care in NSW'.


The Sydney Morning Herald reported that:

Apologising to all those who suffered, [Premier Rees] said: 'I say on behalf of the government, I am sorry for any hurt and distress you suffered in the care of the state. This should never have happened.

'I'm sorry that some of you were physically, psychologically or sexually abused. This should never have happened.

'I'm sorry for any lasting disadvantages you have experienced as a result of your childhood suffering. This should never have happened.

'I'm sorry that many of you have been unable to return to your families and loved ones.'

The premier vowed that the state would never revisit this dark chapter in its history and asked for the forgiveness of all who had spent childhood years in the state's care ... However, Mr Rees did not broach the subject of compensation.

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Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Rees apologises over orphanage abuse', The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 2009,; Jackson, Elizabeth, 'NSW government issues apology to the Forgotten Australians', in AM, ABC Radio, 19 September 2009,

Prepared by: Naomi Parry