Aerial View of Country

Sorry Day

Date published

27 May 2021

National Sorry Day is observed anually on 26 May,

National Sorry Day remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.

National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right around the country.

The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998,  one year after the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Parliament. The Bringing Them Home report is a result of a Government Inquiry into the past policies which caused children to be removed from their families and communities in the 20th century.

Today, twenty-three years after the Bringing Them Home report and twelve years since the National Apology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still 10.6 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be removed from their families.

We cannot begin to fix the problems of the present without accepting the truth of our history. Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Islander families, communities, and peoples.


Since the establishment of Sorry Day, we now recognise another important milestone in Australia’s history on this date. On 26 May, 2017, at the conclusion of the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru, council member Megan Davis delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a consensus document on constitutional recognition, developed by a 16-member Referendum Council of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community leaders.

(Source: Reconciliation Australia)

The RFDS acknowledges the Stolen Generations and we are committed to creating a culturally safe workplace that fosters a deep understanding of the ongoing impact of dispossession, colonisation and genocide.

Through our reconciliation journey, the RFDS is committed to ensuring our staff are on an ongoing path of cultural learning to deepen our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.