The families of the three children murdered in Bowraville finally heard the sweetest of words: 'sorry'

He arrived in his Polair helicopter, landed on the football oval and then drove the short distance to the Bowraville memorials to Evelyn Greenup, Colleen Walker-Craig and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, the three children murdered in the town over a five month period between 1990 and 1991.

The air of expectancy was heavy.

After 26 years the families were hoping this visit from the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione would be more than a token gesture.

And they were not disappointed.

When Mr Scipione took the microphone, his voice was steady and clear as he said he was sorry for what they had endured.

"I am here to look you in the eye and say I am sorry," Mr Scipione said.

He paid his respects to the families for their long fight and determination to find justice for their children.

"Justice has not prevailed yet but I hope that it will.

"Your children have not and will not be forgotten ... I thank you for your tireless efforts, I can see the effects of the tragedies in your faces and I publicly acknowledge that the NSW Police could have done and should have done more.

"I also acknowledge the efforts of (Detective Chief Inspector) Gary Jubelin and his team.

"His determination to reinvestigate every avenue of evidence over the last 20 years has helped us get to where we are today.

"It has also informed us about indigenous communities ... we have to learn so we can get it right in the future."

He told the families they could feel proud of the change (in the NSW Police Force) they had brought about, “because it is to the betterment of all indigenous communities in NSW”.

The wreath laying followed - Mr Sciopione, Detective Chief inspector Gary Jubelin and Detective Inspector Guy Flaherty walked with the families through the purifying ceremonial smoke towards the memorial to Colleen, Clinton and Evelyn.

As cameras whirred and clicked Mr Scipione laid his wreath below Evelyn’s plaque and stood for some minutes in silent contemplation.

He then stepped away and continued standing silently among the crowd, respectfully watching as more flowers were laid.

Following the ceremony he told the Guardian that when it came to the timing of his visit, it had always been 'when' not 'if'.

"I stood here today before the memorial of a four-year-old who was stolen and killed - if that doesn't break your heart, then what does,” he said.

"I am here because Gary and his team told me now was the time - and I came."

Rebecca Stadhams, Evelyn's mother, said she was shocked to hear the Police Commissioner say ‘sorry’ but that it made her feel happy.

"It was a big surprise but it felt good," Rebecca said.

Michelle Jarrett, Evelyn's aunt, said the apology was a validation of all the fighting and should have been given years ago.

"They didn't believe us back then ... but at least they sent us Gary (Jubelin), our Gumbaynggirr warrior," Michelle said.

"Today does help with the healing ... it takes some of the weight off the anger."

Clinton’s father, Thomas Duroux, said it was good to hear the words spoken.

"And now I hope we will get all that we have been fighting for ... and if we don't, well we'll just keep on fighting."

The case is currently with the NSW Court of Appeal.

Crown solicitors will be in Bowraville next week visiting the sites relevant to the murders of the three children.