FAIRFIELD Citizen of the Year and Aboriginal elder Dr Aunty Mae Robinson will never forget the day she was taken away from her family.
She was just 13-years-old when she was forcibly removed from her mother, under the Aborigines Protection Act 1909, and placed in Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home.
"I was taken away because I was doing exceptionally well in high school," Mrs Robinson said.
"Mum got confronted by the welfare officers and the police officers, and it ended up with me being taken.
"They said it would be good for me, so I went to Cootamundra. To this day if I hear a steam engine I get spooked. It brings back a lot of memories.
"Cootamundra was a place to remember and a place to forget."
When former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the stolen generations on February 13, 2008, Aunty Mae Robinson was among those who listened.
"I think that event in Canberra was one of the most important events I ever attended in relation to being an Aboriginal in Australia," Mrs Robinson said.
"What a special moment in history.
"It was a typical Australian thing to say — it's about time.
"That should have happened a long time ago."
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone said the importance of the day could not be underestimated.
"I hope this day will be remembered as a day when many lives were changed for the better and for it to continue to be acknowledged for many more years to come," he said.
An estimated 100,000 Aboriginal children were believed to have been forcibly taken from their families between 1910 and 1970.