National Sorry Day is a special day that occurs in Australia on 26 May every year. It is a day of remembrance and commemoration held to highlight the impact of past policies of forcible removal on the Stolen Generations, their families, and their communities.

National Sorry Day is of particular significance to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia.

The day is an opportunity for all Australians to remember past mistakes and build stronger bridges for a richer, stronger future together.

The History of National Sorry Day

On 26 May 1997, a report called Bringing them Home was tabled in Parliament.

This report details the hardships undergone by the Indigenous children that were forcefully removed from their families as part of official government policy during the 20th Century. These children are now referred to as the Stolen Generations.

The report also included a list of recommendations for what the government should do to move towards reconciling and moving on from these past mistakes. One of these recommendations was for the government to issue a formal apology to the Indigenous communities.

The first National Sorry Day was held exactly one year later, and it has been held on the same day every year since. 

People watching a large screen in Perth Cultural Centre



Page reviewed 23 July 2019