The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Toowoomba
has marked the anniversary of a key moment of Australian history – Kevin Rudd’s formal apology to the Stolen Generations.
Students, staff and the wider community, including local school children, gathered today (February 13) to acknowledge the injustice and committing to a new and continuing journey towards Reconciliation.
The audience viewed the apology and were visibly impacted by the importance of the words, and the level of emotion, 10 years after the speech was first given.
USQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Communities) Carl Rallings spoke about the significance of the day.
“At USQ, we felt it was very important to bring people together to listen and consider our shared future,” Mr Rallings said.
“We are committed to the journey of healing as we strive towards Reconciliation. Events such as these are a critical part of that continued effort.”
The ongoing relevance of the apology was demonstrated by the heartfelt story of Perry Miller who shared details on his life-long search for his birth family and lost culture.
Mr Miller was adopted as a baby. Almost 30 years later, he discovered his birth mother was a member of the Stolen Generation, whose pain prevented bonding with her children.
Now, aged 58, Mr Miller continues to unravel the mystery of his family – including a brother (who he met in 2017) and an unknown father.
After describing the emotions he felt during the national apology – a “weight lifted”, Mr Miller made an emotional plea to the young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the crowd.
“Our future sits in this room with all the young people. You need know these things, you need to hear these stories,” he said.
USQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Communities) Carl Rallings and Perry Miller.