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It is 25 years since the first National Sorry Day was held. This day commemorates the Bringing Them Home report that was tabled in federal parliament.

The report found the forced removal of First Nations children had caused lifelong impacts on Stolen Generations survivors and their families.

As the Government talks about a voice for First Nations people, they are in the courts challenging the voices of those from the Stolen Generation. The Government continues to diminish their own responsibility and the impact of forced removal.

William Tilmouth, Chair of Children’s Ground, was forcibly removed. Our families at Children’s Ground have all been affected by the forced removal of children. The pain and suffering continues today. The trauma is felt through generations. The healing continues.

William says “Sorry is the first step. The next is to listen and understand our history and to act. This history continues today and we must stop this from happening for future generations. We must commit to achieve real justice and rights for our people and to protect our children and their languages, identity and cultures. The Prime Minister asked us to ‘imagine’ yesterday. I do imagine, every day, what it would be like for our children, our families and our communities to wake up, knowing that they are safe, that their families are safe, their culture is safe, and that they have everything they need to enjoy a life free from trauma and filled with peace and freedom. I would like to sit down with the Prime Minister and I would like him to hear our voice.”

Everyday at Children’s Ground our families are working to stem the flow of child removals. First Nations children are being taken into care at record rates.

In 2021, 42.2 per cent of children aged 0-17 years old in out-of-home care were First Nations children, 11 times the rate of non-First Nations children.

Our families love our children. The history of injustice against our people has created circumstances that place our children at risk. We dedicate our lives to preventing harm, preventing the removal of our children and creating environments of safety, wellbeing, love and support. We are building a new reality so that our children are surrounded by family, they have a strong foundation in their identity and can live and love life and look towards a future of opportunity.

On this National Sorry Day we remember all of our children who have been removed. We offer them our love. We remember the pain of mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters and brothers. We recognize the trauma, racism and pain of our families and children who were stolen. We celebrate their strength and courage.

Radical systems change is needed to accommodate the hopes and aspirations of an Australian people who want to live and be at peace with each other.

The work of Children’s Ground depends on the support of amazing people across Australia who are donating to our work. Your donation is helping us to prevent our children from ongoing removal. We are determined to break the cycle.

Please support us ❤️💛🖤

It is 25 years since the first National Sorry Day was held. This day commemorates the Bringing Them Home report that was tabled in federal parliament.
About the author

William Tilmouth, Chair of Children’s Ground

William Tilmouth is an Arrernte man, born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Northern Territory. As a member of the Stolen Generations, William was taken to Croker Island Mission where he lived and attended school. Five of his siblings were taken to Adelaide and he and two brothers to the other end of the country north of Darwin. In 1967, he was moved off the Mission to Darwin, and ended up in the juvenile justice system for leaving the mission home. He attended the Aboriginal Community College in Adelaide in 1974 and worked in many jobs in South Australia. In 1980 he returned home to Alice Springs, and hasn’t left since. William worked for Tangentyere Council as a community worker, supporting people who were homeless by creating shelters and providing access to basic needs and also at the Alice Springs Youth Support Services supporting young people at risk. He was elected by the Elders and offered the opportunity to become the Executive Director of Tangentyere Council – a position he held from 1988-2010. William was also elected to the Central Australian ATSIC Regional Chair position, the Chair of Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Service and sat on a range of committees including housing and research ethics committees. After his time at Tangentyere Council, William became the Chair of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Health Service.

Since 2011, William has been the founding Chair of the ground breaking organisation Children’s Ground. Children’s Ground was designed by First Nations people for First Nations people – our solution for our people. It is designed to disrupt the status quo and create transformational change for future generations so that they can enjoy justice, opportunity and agency over their lives.

Following the vision and direction from Elders, Children’s Ground is an ambitious 25-year strategy that supports each child and family within a whole of community approach. Children’s Ground honours culture, language and identity, delivering access to education, health, cultural and economic opportunities. Led by local communities, the solutions are found in our culture, through our land, our kinship, our lores and our knowledge systems. Through William’s leadership people are empowered to practice self-determination, uplifting local community governance which is thriving and is the heart and soul of Children’s Ground.

William is a recognised and respected leader in the Northern Territory and throughout Australia. He has dedicated his life to his people to prevent the trauma of previous generations. As a member of the Stolen Generations, William has overcome poverty, incarceration, injustice and inequality and has survived trauma to become a respected role model for Arrernte and all First Nations people.

More recently, he was a key advisor for the 2019 film In My Blood It Runs.

William’s work will ensure that future generations of First Nations children can exercise their rights and their voice, their culture and their identity.


— Posted on 27 May 2023