Royal Society of Tasmania
Apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal people 2021
On Monday 15th February 2021, the Royal Society of Tasmania (RST) and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) delivered paired apologies to the Aboriginal people of Tasmania. The event was held in the Courtyard of TMAG, Hobart, and witnessed by almost one hundred invited guests including members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, members of the Council of the RST and members of the Board of Trustees of TMAG. A large number of invited guests witnessed the event by livestream. Matt King, Chair of RST’s Aboriginal Engagement Committee, and Janet Carding, Director of TMAG, welcomed guests, presented the Acknowledgment of Country on behalf of each of the two organisations, and introduced the speakers.
For both the RST and TMAG, offering an Apology was a means of publicly acknowledging past actions and practices that have caused immense hurt and suffering to Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The Apologies signify the commitment of the two organisations to building strong and respectful relationships with Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
The RST and TMAG apologies were paired in recognition of the shared history of the two organisations. That shared history began with the creation of the RST in 1843 and was explained in the Preamble presented by Her Excellency, the Honourable Professor Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania. The Governor is Patron of both RST and TMAG.
The President of RST, Mrs Mary Koolhof, delivered RST’s Apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees of TMAG, Ms Brett Torossi, delivered TMAG’s Apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
Rodney Gibbins, the first Chair of TMAG’s Aboriginal Advisory Council, and Michael Mansell, Chair of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, responded on behalf of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
The formalities closed with a smoking ceremony, presided over by Jamie Graham-Blair and Auntie Wendal Pitchford. All attendees had the opportunity to be marked by ochre as a sign of belonging, and to be enveloped by the healing and cleansing smoke of the peppermint gum.
View the delivery of the RST and TMAG Apologies
on RST’s YouTube channel.