Aboriginal artwork at Coburg Primary School causes stir

A primary school has been slammed over an artwork saying ‘sorry’ to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations, with parents claiming it’s making their children feel ‘guilty’.

Coburg Primary School, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, recently put the artwork showing an arrangement of hands spelling out the word ‘sorry’ up in its schoolyard.

But while the mural containing cut-outs of their hands was intended to continue the message then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd started in 2008, it has caused a stir among parents, 3AW reports. 

Coburg Primary School has been slammed over an art mural saying 'sorry' to the Aboriginal stolen generations, with parents claiming it's making their children feel 'guilty'

Coburg Primary School has been slammed over an art mural saying 'sorry' to the Aboriginal stolen generations, with parents claiming it's making their children feel 'guilty'

Coburg Primary School has been slammed over an artwork saying ‘sorry’ to the Aboriginal stolen generations (pictured), with parents claiming it’s making their children feel ‘guilty’

While the mural containing cut-outs of their hands was intended to continue the message then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd started in 2008, it has caused a stir among parents who say young children shouldn't have to apologise for Australia's past sins

While the mural containing cut-outs of their hands was intended to continue the message then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd started in 2008, it has caused a stir among parents who say young children shouldn't have to apologise for Australia's past sins

While the mural containing cut-outs of their hands was intended to continue the message then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd started in 2008, it has caused a stir among parents who say young children shouldn’t have to apologise for Australia’s past sins

On each of the hundreds of red, yellow and black hands arranged in the art, students had written the word ‘sorry’.

Radio host Tom Elliott said it was inappropriate for schools to make children feel at fault for Australia’s sins – comparing it to German kids apologising for the Holocaust.

‘I don’t like it. I don’t mind kids learning history and that can mean some of the darker parts of Australia’s history,’ Elliott said.

‘But at the same time, the idea that a five, or a six, or a seven-year-old now feels that he or she has to go and say sorry – I think it’s wrong.

‘It’s like saying every young German should be taught if they ever see a Jewish person to go up and say sorry to them.’

A local parent said that despite not having children at the school, the artwork hadn’t sat well with him.

In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (pictured) apologised to the Stolen Generations on behalf of Australia. But radio host Tom Elliott said the artwork was like forcing German kids to apologise for the Holocaust

In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (pictured) apologised to the Stolen Generations on behalf of Australia. But radio host Tom Elliott said the artwork was like forcing German kids to apologise for the Holocaust

In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (pictured) apologised to the Stolen Generations on behalf of Australia. But radio host Tom Elliott said the artwork was like forcing German kids to apologise for the Holocaust

‘I don’t think it’s a primary school’s responsibility to make young children feel guilty,’ the man, who gave his name only as Joel, said.

The school also regularly holds ‘welcome to country’ and smoking ceremony rituals, Coburg Primary School’s principal told 3AW. 

In 2008, Mr Rudd apologised to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian public, giving a speech to parliament which was broadcast nationwide.

Daily Mail Australia contacted the Victorian Department of Education for comment. 

 


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