MOVING FORWARD: John Gorrie (PSM) with his son Chris Gorrie at the Gympie Hospital 'sorry' ceremony held yesterday.
MOVING FORWARD: John Gorrie (PSM) with his son Chris Gorrie at the Gympie Hospital 'sorry' ceremony held yesterday. Philippe Coquerand

'I was stolen, my mother was stolen' - Gympie elders pain

TODAY marked 11 years since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the stolen generation in 2008.

Around 60 people gathered at Little Haven Palliative Care to commemorate the apology.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospital liaison officer Chris Gorrie organised the event.

His father John Gorrie (Public Service Medal) said the day brought back a lot of memories.

MOVING FORWARD: John Gorrie (PSM) with his son Chris Gorrie at the Gympie Hospital 'sorry' ceremony held on Wednesday.
MOVING FORWARD: John Gorrie (PSM) with his son Chris Gorrie at the Gympie Hospital 'sorry' ceremony held on Wednesday. Philippe Coquerand

"My name is Uncle John Gorrie PSM.

"I am a Kurnai man and it is such an honour to be able to speak to you and talk to you about my family's trauma,” he said.

"I was stolen, my mother was stolen.

"My mother was removed from her family when she was eight years old.

"At the time she was living on the Lake Tyers Aboriginal mission in Victoria. She was taken with two of her sisters and one brother.

"It took me 40 years to be reunited... my mother was 16 years old when she gave birth to me. The moment I was born, I was taken from my mother's arms and placed in a baby orphanage.

"It took three years for my mother to get me back.”

Mr Gorrie said he was returned to his mother once she got married.

"My mother returned to Lake Tyers Aboriginal mission and found a husband.

"Once she was married, my mother wrote a lot of letters to the welfare board asking them to give me back to her,” he said.

Jack King plays the didgeridoo for the sorry day.
Jack King plays the didgeridoo for the sorry day. Philippe Coquerand

After winning the election in 2007 former PM Kevin Rudd began consulting with Indigenous Australians about the form an apology should take.

In the spirit of the new commitment to Indigenous affairs, a Welcome to Country ceremony was held at the opening of Parliament.

This was the first time that such a ceremony was held.

Organiser for today's event, Chris Gorrie said he was pleased with the turnout.

"We put it on so that the community can come together as one.

"We can't change the past, but together we can change the future,” Mr Gorrie said.

"There's no ill feeling about the day, it's about coming together, sharing your stories, having a yarn and enjoying each others' company.”