Date Set For Historic Apology To Puffing Billy Victims

15 November 2019

The Victorian Government will make a formal apology in Parliament to those people who suffered childhood sexual abuse in connection with the Puffing Billy railway and other railway bodies.

The state apology will be delivered at Parliament House at 10am on Wednesday, 27 November.

A formal apology was one of the recommendations contained in the Victorian Ombudsman’s report: Investigation into child sex offender Robert Whitehead’s involvement with Puffing Billy and other railway bodies.

The report was tabled in June last year and the Government accepted all recommendations.

The Ombudsman’s investigation was announced in 2017 after an initial call for an investigation made by one of the victims, Mr Wayne Clarke, was referred to then Minister for Tourism John Eren.

Victims and their families have been invited to be at Parliament House for the apology.

For further information on the 27 November apology, call 1800 951 095 or email

Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula

The Victorian Ombudsman’s report detailed harrowing abuse perpetrated at Puffing Billy and other Victorian railways by people who held positions of power and trust.”

“The victims were children who for too long felt unable to tell their stories, and when they did, too many people did not want to hear them.”

“It is important that we acknowledge how these people were betrayed and say to them, we are sorry.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

Was this page helpful?