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24 May 2018

Remembering the Stolen Generations

The Stolen Generations have been a focal issue for Aboriginal reconciliation in Australia. Every year, the country comes together to show their respect for the stolen generation, and has done so every year since 1998.

National Sorry Day is held annually on 26 May to remember and commemorate the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Importantly, it also raises awareness of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

On 2 October 2007, we opened the Stolen Generations Memorial, as part of the commitment by the NSW Government and Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust to reconcile with Indigenous communities. Learn more about the Memorial, its history, and what it stands for below.

Sculptor Badger Bates carving the sculpture from sandstone

About the memorial

As part of the Stolen Generation, Carol Kendall had a vision for a unique memorial that created a place of peace, harmony and reflection dedicated to all “Children of the Stolen Generations”. Sadly, Carol passed away in 2002, however this vision lived on with a partnership commitment in 2003 by The Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Link Up NSW, and the NSW Stolen Generations Committee to build a Stolen Generations Memorial at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

Mount Annan was known as Yandelora, which means “a meeting place of all peoples”, with the Stolen Generations Memorial site located in a pristine section of the critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland.  Visitors will experience the memorial as a journey of healing and reflection, as they walk through the forest via a series of boardwalks leading to a peaceful meeting place with water and a sculpture space. 

The sculptural centrepiece has been carved by renown Aboriginal sculptor Badger Bates from local sandstone, and features an Aboriginal family highlighting the tragic consequences of the separation of Aboriginal children from their parents. A quiet and contemplative space in the woodland, the sculpture represents the lives touched by this era in Australian history.

As Mount Annan is the “meeting place of all peoples”, it is appropriate that the Memorial be the place that people gather on Sorry Day.

The sculpture can incorporate water, as seen above, to convey a "river of tears" for the lives touched by this era in Australia's history.


The boardwalk at the Cumberland Plain Woodland
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