National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants

Acknowledging the past, celebrating survival

Sometimes working on major events means being present while history is made. In 2009 Morris Walker had the honour of providing event management services for the Australian Government’s landmark apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

This event was the culmination of decades of campaigning by those brought to Australia as children under international migration schemes from countries such as England, Canada and Malta. For the first time, all sides of politics came together at Parliament House to apologise for the abuses that many of these children had suffered in religious institutions, work camps and boarding schools across the country.

The event was a major logistical challenge, encompassing a formal apology ceremony with the Prime Minister in the Great Hall of Parliament House, a live national broadcast to sites across the country and a barbecue lunch for more than 3,000 people on Federation Mall.

Working with just three weeks planning time, our team handled everything from catering, venue management and staging, to sourcing archival photos, footage and oral recollections for use throughout the ceremony, and helping hundreds of invited guests travel to Canberra from every corner of the country. We also worked closely with a range of senior government and opposition officials to coordinate the involvement of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.

Our careful planning and round-the-clock work ensured that nothing detracted from the sombre but uplifting spirit of the national apology, and made the strength of the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants the sole focus of this important event.

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