ALISON Johnstone vividly remembers what she was doing on this day five years ago the day then-prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the nation's Indigenous population for the stolen generation.
She was driving between Griffith and Leeton and had to pull her car over as she burst into tears, crying for the hurt passed down through her family after her great-uncle was taken and never seen again.
Henry Williams was just three when he was abducted by authorities from his Lake Cargelligo family under the government's assimilation policy.
He was the youngest of eight children and, despite exhaustive efforts by his family in the years since he went missing, Mr Williams has never been found.
"My great grandma Elizabeth Williams had dementia, but when she died, she was calling out 'I want to see my baby'," Mrs Johnstone said.
"You can't get over something like that."
Her great-uncle would be aged in his mid-80s now, but Mrs Johnstone said the family would struggle to move on until they had closure.
"We're still trying to find pieces of the puzzle and make some links, we've searched all the electoral rolls and census data," she said.
"It's heartbreaking that this will never be resolved."
While she believes Mr Rudd's apology did help raise awareness about the stolen generation, Mrs Johnstone said there was still a long way to go.
"We need to get away from blaming individual people and accept the stolen generation was a result of government policy," she said.
"But now, people need to take responsibility for acknowledging it, they need to learn about it, research it, ask questions about it."
Mrs Johnstone urged people not to make judgment until they were fully informed as there was still a lot of ignorance surrounding the issue.
"Family is one of the strongest bonds you can have and when it gets ripped apart, that is just so sad," she said.
"The fact is, these children weren't neglected, their families were intact and there was no need for them to be removed.
"Picture as a mother what would happen if your three-year-old baby was taken away."
Mrs Johnstone said education was the key for future generations and she urged her own children to not only walk with the legacy of their past, but to have a voice so atrocities like the stolen generation never happened again.
Between 1909 and 1973, it is estimated as many as one in three aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families by the Australian government.