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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following media releases contains the name of a person who has died.

The forty-two First Nations survivors represented by Slater and Gordon Lawyers in legal action against the Garden Point Catholic Church mission on Melville Island, will receive a settlement and formal apology for the sexual and physical abuse they suffered there as children.

A smoking ceremony will occur on November 18 at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Darwin at 12pm. A formal apology from the Commonwealth Government, Catholic Diocese of Darwin and The Corporation of the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart will be given.

Slater and Gordon Acting Practice Group Leader Grant Dearlove said the survivors and the firm are grateful for the ceremony and formal apology, and that he hopes it will bring some relief and peace.

“This is an important step in acknowledging the pain and devastation caused decades ago,” Mr Dearlove said.

The Garden Point Catholic Church Mission was established to raise, educate and assimilate children removed from the custody of their parents as part of the Stolen Generation.

While there, the children alleged they were the victims of sexual, and serious physical and psychological abuse at the hands of the various church representatives. The Churches and the Commonwealth reached a settlement with a denial of liability.

The action was commenced in 2019, when survivor and Lead Plaintiff Maxine Kunde was spurred on after the loss of her brother Alfie Calma, who was a survivor of sexual abuse at the mission and suffered a life of mental anguish.

Ms Kunde then formed a committee with the group of survivors and began the process of seeking justice with Slater and Gordon Lawyers. Ms Kunde will be speaking at the apology.

“While a formal apology and ceremony cannot reverse what happened in the past and loss they endured, for many it will be part of their healing journey, as well as remembering and paying tribute to those who have already passed,” Mr Dearlove said.

“These survivors have shown tremendous courage to come forward. Their resilience over what has been a traumatic time in their past, that they've carried most of their lives, is inspiring.”

Currently Slater and Gordon are investigating other circumstances across the country where similar events have happened.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers has a long and proud history of advocating for social justice and is committed to progressing reconciliation.

Media Contact

Cassandra-Elli Yiannacou 0401322593