EIGHT years on from Kevin Rudd’s historic National Apology to the Stolen Generations, emotions still run high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – but Australians now have a greater understanding of their despair.

“A lot of Australians were unaware of the issues and the reason Aboriginal people felt so much hurt,’’ says John Lochowiak, Manager of Centacare’s Aboriginal Services.

“The Apology started an education process and put that pain into context for the wider Australia.’’

 John says the hurt did not end that day but the Stolen Generations’ humility in accepting the Apology on February 13, 2008, allowed them, with the nation, to move forward. 

“In order to heal, you have to forgive,’’ John says. 

“If you never acknowledge an issue, then you can’t address and fix it.’’ 

In Adelaide, the Apology was broadcast live in Elder Park. On the eve of the anniversary of the Apology, we reflect on what it means for our future as we work towards a united and reconciled Australia.