National Sorry Day 2017

The National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide event observed annually on 26 May since 1998. The day is selected in memory of the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report being handed to the federal government on 26 May 1997. It is not yet recognised as official holiday, although there have been calls by some Aboriginal leaders to make it one. The National Sorry Day is a commiserative Australian event held annually on May 26th.


The reason for the origin of the national sorry day can be traced back to the Aboriginal Protection Act, 1869. According to this children of the indigenous peoples of Australia and children of mixed descent were forcibly removed from their parents’ homes. The government took over guardianship powers over these children and they were placed in government housing and raised away from their families. The government justifies its action in the name of protection of the children and assimilating them into European society.The National Sorry Day was first held on May 26, 1998 a year after the tabling of a report about the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. It is this report called Bring Them Home report that suggested the establishment of the National Sorry Day. The report questions the Australian government’s justification to the major wrong done to the native peoples of Australia.  In spite of all these, the Australian government has never formally apologized to the indigenous people for what it has done to them. In 2004 the day is renamed National Day of Healing, as it is the first step towards healing. But later it is decides to retain the name National Sorry Day.

Why is this Celebrated?

The National Sorry Day is designed to express regret over the historical mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples. This is an occasion for people to come together and share the steps towards healing for the indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities.

How is this Celebrated?

The National Sorry Day celebrations include writing messages and sign “sorry books”, concerts and barbecues, reconciliation walks, flag hoisting, street marches, morning teas/ lunches, media statements from politicians within federal, state and local governments and speeches from community leaders and educators. All these events are organised to show commitment towards reconciliation. In schools students will light candles and there will be essay competitions and film screening as well

National Sorry Day 2017