Survivors of thalidomide have been recognised with a permanent memorial on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
The national site of recognition, unveiled on Thursday, pays tribute to the survivors and families of the pharmaceutical tragedy, as well as serving as a reminder of the impact the drug has had decades on.
The memorial is made out of glass bricks laid out as a gateway, with words inscribed on them reflecting the experiences of survivors, such as determination, courage, as well as suffering and injustice.
The unveiling came a day after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese delivered a national apology to survivors in parliament.
There are 146 registered survivors in Australia, but the exact number affected by the morning sickness drug for pregnant women in the 1950s, which caused birth defects, is unknown.
Planning for the national site of recognition had been under way since 2021, with survivors and families consulted about its design.
Health Minister Mark Butler said the site was unique and evocative.
"More than just a plaque in a park, this is a place where we as an entire nation can focus our reflection," he said on Thursday.
"It should recognise and honour the impact on thalidomide survivors, as well as their loved ones, and it should serve as an enduring reminder to all Australians that the lessons of this tragedy must never be forgotten."
The glass bricks that make up the site represent the strength and resilience of survivors, but also the fragility of life as well as the need for transparency.
The void in the centre also serves as a representation of loss, while the gateway looking out onto the lake is a representation of hope.
The words of the national apology will also be soon inscribed on the site.
The national site of recognition was a key recommendation from a Senate inquiry, which also called for a formal apology.
Mr Butler said the memorial would be a lasting tribute.
"Through the national apology yesterday and the dedication of this monument today, we seek to end that exclusion and offer in its place acknowledgement, recognition and respect," he said.
"With this monument, we give form to the promise that the prime minister gave in parliament yesterday: that your legacy - and your example - will never be forgotten."
Australian Associated Press