On Friday 26 May 2006, people impacted by the Stolen Generations in Perth erected a Sorry Pole on the north-west corner of Wellington Square to commemorate Sorry Day.
The pole was painted by a local Aboriginal artist and has since been used annually on 26 May for Sorry Day commemorations, including smoking ceremonies, silent vigils and stories from Stolen Generations.
“The site of Wellington Square sits on land that was part of a swamp system and therefore of great significance for the Whadjuk people who lived there for many thousands of years,” Western Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (WASGAC) Managing Director Jim Morrison said.
“Wellington Square continues to be a significant place for Aboriginal peoples as it is located close to three significant organisations including the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation and Yorgum Aboriginal Corporation.”
The development of the City of Perth’s Wellington Square Masterplan and Reconciliation Action Plan has identified an opportunity to create a dedicated place for healing in the north-west corner of Wellington Square, including a beautiful reflective artwork acknowledging the Stolen Generation.
“Wellington Square represents cultural and spiritual significance, linking the past and the present, where Whadjuk Nyoongar people met, raised families, hunted and performed ceremonies,” City of Perth Deputy Chair Commissioner Gaye McMath said.
Following consultation with stakeholders in Western Australia’s Aboriginal community, the Sorry Pole has been taken down to allow for Wellington Square construction works and for the artwork to take its place in 2021.
“Removal of the Sorry Pole will make way for a public artwork, acknowledging the suffering of the Stolen Generation and reflecting on the profound Aboriginal culture and history of the area,” Ms McMath said.
National Sorry Day commemorates the day in which the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled in the Federal Parliament in 1997. This significant report was the result of an Inquiry conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission into the forced removal of Aboriginal children and its ongoing effects on families and communities.