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.
Courtesy Jeanette Blick
Shares the experiences of some of the half a million children who spent time in institutional 'care'
Throughout Australia, over the course of the 20th century, about half a million children spent time in Children’s Homes and orphanages, training schools, reformatories and other ‘care’ institutions. In all, there were more than 800 of these institutions, mostly run by state governments, charities and churches.
Of the 500,000 children in these institutions, about a tenth were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children. A smaller number, about 7000, were British and Maltese child migrants. Only a tiny minority were orphans. Some children spent a relatively short time in these places, others spent their entire childhood ‘inside’.
Although so many children were brought up in institutions, what happened to them there is largely unknown to the wider community.
Finally, the histories of those who spent time ‘inside’ – histories for so long unspoken, unheard or disbelieved – are becoming an acknowledged part of our national history.
Featuring the words, voices and objects of the Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and all those who experienced institutional care as children, Inside provides a chance for all Australians to understand something of a history that has affected so many of us and was hidden for so long.