Fourth anniversary of apology to Forgotten Australians to be marked

Stuffed bear
Stuffed bear given as a Christmas present to a child in Orana Methodist Home, Melbourne, Victoria 1960s. Soon after it was taken away without explanation.
Image: National Museum Australia
Source: National Museum Australia

Media contact: Alex Dook
adook@museum.vic.gov.au

Hundreds of thousands of Forgotten Australians – the stories of whom are told in Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions at Melbourne Museum - are preparing to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Australian Government’s formal Apology for the abuse they suffered as children while in state care.

The apology, made on 16 November 2009 by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, formally acknowledged the harsh treatment and ongoing trauma of Forgotten Australians. The Australian Government subsequently committed resources to the development of Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions, an exhibition which tells the stories of the half a million Australians who lived in more than 800 Children’s Homes or Institutions. The exhibition was curated by the National Museum of Australia and is now on display at Melbourne Museum.

“The exhibition represents a major, albeit a small contribution to Australia’s understanding of its social history,” said Caroline Carroll, the President of the Alliance for Forgotten Australians. “The sufferings of the Forgotten Australians were caused by Dickensian child welfare laws combined with a failure to protect this particularly vulnerable cohort of children.”

Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions covers personal stories and experiences at a time within living memory – from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Open Place, a Richmond-based support service for Forgotten Australians, will host a lunch to celebrate the anniversary on Friday 15 November.

Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions was made possible by the support and guidance of the Alliance of Forgotten Australians, Care Leavers of Australia Network, The International Association of Child Migrants and their Families, the Child Migrant Trust and other support and advocacy organisations.

Museum Victoria Public Relations contact:
Alex Dook, 8341 7141 / 0478 348 880, adook@museum.vic.gov.au

For all general public enquiries, contact the museum's Discovery Centre

Image Gallery

Sign from the Methodist Babies Home Fundraising collection box