Immigration Museum memorial seat
Image: Nicole Davis
Source: Nicole Davis
Question: Last week was the two-year anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Forgotten Australians? Are there any monuments or other commemorations to this aspect of our history?
Answer: There are many monuments around the country that collectively commemorate the ‘Forgotten Australians’. This is a term used for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, together with former child migrants, who were placed in state and private ‘care’ facilities such as orphanages, children’s homes, psychiatric hospitals and foster care.
There are two memorials in the centre of Melbourne that commemorate these children. At the Immigration Museum there is a wooden love seat in the eastern garden that specifically commemorates child migrants. Just over the just over the river at Southbank is the Victorian Forgotten Australians Memorial, unveiled on 25 October 2010. There are also memorials in Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia.
Apart from physical monuments there are also other ways that both child migrants and other ‘Forgotten Australians’ are remembered. The anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s apology on 16 November proved an important date to commemorate their history, with the Forgotten Australian rally held in Canberra.
A number of museum exhibitions currently showing in Australia also bring to light the experiences of these children. Inside: life in children’s homes and institutions opened at the National Museum of Australia last week on the anniversary of the apology and at Immigration Museum On their own: Britain’s child migrants is currently showing.
There are also many virtual memorials to child migrants and other careleavers in the form of a diversity of websites, including some of those you see at right under External Links.