ACT News


National Sorry Day marked with Commonwealth Bridge walk

Physical and metaphorical bridges were crossed during the largest ever National Sorry Day walk in Canberra on Friday.

While inclement weather on Thursday forced the march to be postponed one day, hundreds of people poured across Commonwealth Bridge to remember the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed from their families. 

As the smoke of burning gum leaves billowed behind them, it was the next generation of Australians who were at the forefront of this year's Sorry Walk as it snaked towards Parliament House. 

Fourteen-year-old Leah Bunt worked to create the banner she helped carry across Commonwealth Bridge at the head of the the procession.

She said she has lost family members in the Stolen Generation and the walk was a healing process.


"I'm glad I can walk across this bridge with the Ngunnawal people," she said.

Mothers held hands with bundled up children as they bounced across the bridge.

Some carried Aboriginal flags, others wore the word 'sorry' emblazoned across their backs.

Grandmother Marcia was overcome with emotion as she walked hand-in-hand with her young granddaughter.

"It shows people have a heart," she said.

Many of the very children at the march were with their preschools or day cares. 

Belconnen Early Childhood Centre director Lauren Kapper said: "In our centre the children don't say sorry because they don't understand what it means yet but we do teach them about empathy, culture and understanding because we're building future members of the community."

"Aboriginal history is our history and we need to look back and see the good as well as the bad and celebrate Aboriginal culture," Nat Douglas of Bruce Ridge Early Childcare Centre said.

Among the young faces were some who've crossed this bridge many times. 

Noel Ingram has been at every Sorry Day Walk since it began.

"It means a lot to Indigenous people," he said.

Police officers, politicians, and public servants were also among the hundreds who made the journey across. 

Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann said in a country where "we're more likely to send an Aboriginal man to jail than university", saying sorry was just a start.

"It's a good start but it's only a start," Ms Brodtmann said. 

ACT assistant health minister Meegan Fitzharris said the day was a reminder that we can "bridge the gap" and "all Canberrans can reach equitable outcomes in their lives". 

The bridge walk marks the start of  National Reconciliation Week.