Friday, March 17, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Sorry Tree To Be Planted For First Nations Of The Whitsundays

A First Nations commemorative fabricated tree and plaque are planned for installation at Bowen’s Front Beach after receiving Whitsunday Regional Council approvals.

Aged care and disability service provider Feros Care, an Australian not-for-profit with operations in Bowen, plans to install the 'Sorry Tree' for National Sorry Day on May 26 in a three-stage project.

First Nation Community Development Coordinator at Feros Care Bowen, Jean Andersen said the project is centred around the mental health and well-being of the Whitsundays’ indigenous community, particularly the families of the Stolen Generation.

“Trees are a symbol to stand strong and branch or reach out to someone you trust for help, the roots symbolise connection and belonging to country,” Ms Andersen said.

“With the approval of the project, Council will be supporting the First Nations People of the Whitsunday Region and demonstrate to the community that Council has an understanding of the history along with remembering those past and present survivors of the stolen generation.”

The fabricated tree is planned for installation at a site on the lawns of the Bowen Soundshell, pending construction of the tree by engineering firms.

Whitsunday Regional Councillor Michelle Wright said the large, fabricated tree will serve as a place for the First Nations People of the Whitsundays to have commemorative services ceremonies for years to come.

The three-stage project is anticipating a start date of March 30 when it is proposed that Stage One will consist of a Cross-Cultural Awareness Training Workshop open to the community held at Bowen PCYC.

The workshop will be held with the intent to improve knowledge of community and mainstream organisations around the importance of understanding the Educational and Cultural Experience of First Nations People through their stories, histories, struggles and triumphs.”

Stage Two will consist of integrating knowledge and understandings into workplace policies and procedures through a workshop open to businesses, organisations, schools, allied health services and providers, other mainstream services and the general community.

Ms Andersen said this workshop - to be held at Bowen PCYC as well – is “intended to provide an increased understanding of how to integrate knowledge into the policies, procedures and practices of organisations, schools and businesses.”

“Stage Three will consist of the Ceremonial Opening of the Tree with Traditional Owners, Mayor, Councillors, and attending Members of Parliament.

“There will be traditional dancers performing, live entertainment, kids’ amusement and a sausage sizzle.

“The intent of the Community Day will include all other services and providers to promote their services in the region. This will allow the community to have an insight into how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders manage social and emotional wellbeing through different forms of healing practices.”

A fabricated Sorry Tree will be planted at the Bowen Soundshell to commigrate National Sorry Day and the First Nations people of the Stolen Generation

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