Forgotten Australians, memories, photos

Winlaton file photos

by Lynn Meyers (guest author) on 1 March, 2010

I was admitted to Winlaton on the 14th of Sept 1959. I was on remand for a few months in Goonyah – the lock up block at Winlaton. I travelled to Bendigo court a few times, then I was made a ward of the state until I turned 18. I was committed under my stepfather’s name which was Koplick. I only found out when I went to court that my real name (birth certificate) is Meyers. I was there until 3/2/1962 when I was sent to QLD to my stepfather, who was deemed unsuitable in my files. I still do not know why they sent me to him. All the reports about him including the accommodation were unsuitable. I was given a tiny room at the back of his farm house, it did not have a real bed only boards supported by small stumps of wood. For bed covers he gave me an old army great coat. In fact he did not pick me up from the airport, he sent the local publican to get me. I had to stay with them at their hotel until he picked me up.

I ran away to find my mother who was living about 80 km away at Parckridge. I hitchhiked to her place and when I got there she was not there, so I waited in her house until she finely came home. She was amazed to see me. She did not want me to stay with her as she said she had made a new life and family. So she and Bob took me back to Waterford to my stepfather. I was not there long when I hitched back to Melbourne, to girls I really did know from the home. It did not take long for the police to pick me up and I was back in Winlaton again in 1963. I can not remember how long, but I am sure it was only for a few months, then off to Fairlea Women’s Prison. Another revolving door, for the next few years.

Goonyah is the first block that I was sent to in Winlaton, it was the secure lock up block. We never went outside from this block until we were deemed fit and behaving to the screws’ liking, and then we would earn the privilige to be transferred to Warrina, the second block. There we were always locked in at night. However we were allowed to go to school or do chores during the day. The next block was Karingal, this was the last block that we went to if we were behaving at Warrina. This was called the open block,where we were groomed to be sent home or to Leawarra hostel or foster parents.

I was sent to Leawarra twice, but I absconded with 3 other girls.We were caught at Wodonga and sent back to Goonyah.

21 thoughts on “Winlaton file photos”

  1. Brings back many memories, would love to catch up with a few girls, early 1980s, Sharon, Glenda, eyvette. hope alls A,ok,,,,,, my last name was Warren.

  2. I think it is fantastic to post photos that will help jog memories and help people to tell stories of importance.

    But when it comes to Winlaton, and the publication of full names of people who were inmates there, along with pictorial representations, in a public forum, without their express permission, I think some care must be taken. I know that there are women in the community who would be dismayed to discover that their faces and their names were being bandied about in a public forum without their consent. They’ve built lives beyond Winlaton and for whatever reasons, don’t want other people to know about their history there.

    Therefore, I personally think that any photos that make it possible for people to be idenitifed should only be displayed in private forums. And you should definitely take the names from the first comment, unless you know for a fact that they don’t mind being mentioned. If I was one of them, I’d be very upset if I found out that the whole world could know about a past that is private. Just because some women are OK about baring all, it does not mean that all of them are. Their right to privacy is just as important as their sister’s right to tell her story.

  3. Many thanks for your sensitive insight Nikki.

    The National Museum supports the sharing of photographs.

    I appreciate your concern regarding the publication of others’ surnames without consent. I contacted Darlene and she kindly allowed us to take out the surnames from her previous response and we have changed our guidelines too – on the Note to Contributors page.

  4. Dear Nikki, I apoligise, l admit l wrote without concidering other peoples feelings, but l wrote from my heart, with enthusiasm that this site affords me. l have learnt a lesson thank-you. Regards Darlene Mckay, One Unashmed forgotten Australin.

  5. The group photograph of residents of Winlaton has been removed by request of the author of the associated post, Lynn Meyers.

  6. No worries Darlene, I knew you meant well. I think it’s great that these forums are available for people to exchange their ideas and knowledge. No one should feel ashamed, but some people just need more time…

  7. I was in winlaton in the 1982 to 1983, this has brought so much back, I am still trying to work through my years of trouble their…hope all other girls are well too…xxx

  8. Just finished reading “Rock me Gently.”By Judith Kelly. A must read,however another very sad story of cruelty,this time the catholic nuns in England,at Nazareth House.

    Also, I read “The Little Mongrel.” By Merlene Fawdry. A Winlaton girl. I could relate to her story,as if it was my own. A must read.

  9. Although we were obviously at Winnie at different stages of our lives there is a single element that draws us all together.
    Conversely it is all so terribly sad when one considers the very nature of deception that has so harmed one and all.

  10. I was at
    winlaton in 1971/2 and never forget the rattle of keys and that fence with barbed wire. i will be writing some more soon. sue

  11. the government need to be held accountable for the systematic rape of young girls whom were sent to V.D. clinics you were held down by winlaton staff and clinic employees strapped into stirrups and a butcher(dr) examined you.Hygiene in those disgusting places were not the rule of the health dept in them times,and these were not clinics only for wards they were open to the public…it is interesting that they withhold all this information when you apply for your ward file.

  12. Hi: Marion Bell,

    An incident happened to me in Tufnell Home Nundah Brisbane Qld when I was 5 or 6 years of age. A lady urgently rounded me up, with 3 other children of the same age, then marched us up to where the hospital wing section was in Tufnell Home.
    We had to stand in a straight line, a lady informed us that our wees wees must be looked at. I cant remember her exact words, but I remember when she explained what she was about to do , I understood she was to look at our wees wees [ vaginas].

    She fiddled arround looking there, what for I have no idea, perhaps the older girl about 12 yrs of age who was sitting on the floor at the end of us laughing would probally of known the purpose.
    I asked the Church in 2009, for what reason was our private parts to be checked out, their reply they did not know why.

  13. It was nice of a Qld lawyer to organise the ripping out and theft of my womb when I was behind bars – as if they were getting rid of the evidence.
    I live on. As with many others I’m here to stay. I’m here to give a record of my life that was stolen.

  14. It brings back memories to me as well, from 1980 – 1984. I did get my state wards files and some of the commets the staff wrote back than you would not say today.

  15. i was in and out of winlaton from the age of 13 till 19 i was on every section and i was sent to pentridge for 2weeks before they seneteced me for my last 6 months in winlaton i was 18 and very lucky to do my sentence at winlaton and not pentridge i thank the judge for sending me to pentridge because it did scare me straight

  16. Thanks for your message Shirlee Anne.
    If you are interested in the Winlation Reunion that will be held on October 29 at Open Place (https// ) in Melbourne, then please feel free to call:
    Gabbi 0419320677
    Krissy 0423001794

    I’ll also let Gabbi know about your message.

  17. i was made a ward of state at an early age was in winlaton late 70s and ealy 80s i was on every sectiion and watched how things change over the years i was there none of it good i was a repeat absconder and thank god on my last mission i fell pregnant at 14 and a half and i now have a beatiful son that is 30 i thank god fopr him every day because without him i wouldnt have survived the hell they tried taking him wnen he was born because i was a ward i have a lot to telll and also lots of questions please get back to me i dont know how to check e mails yet so you can put in a friend reqeust with a message and ill def get back to you im very intrested in the reunion thank you shirlee anne

  18. i was in winlation in the early 80 s and was on every section in my 2yrs of institution and was i remember my first time arriving at remand coutesty of victoria police and having to get locked in bathroom and de nitted and pinosal bath and other in mates coming in and saying whats ya name where ya from i was as scared as sh** after bath was given my lovely winlation uniform the good old winnie dress and taken to recreation room and thank goodness a girl i went to school with was the first person i saw but i had no idea she was there omg was i so relieved to know someone she introduced me to other girls and i soon became friends of many and felt happy to have friends i was however 2 yrs later taken off my wardship as they decided i was instutionised and sent out on streets to defend for myself with no more help from anyone good job government dump my right in it luckly for me i survived on the straight and narrow and have had 6 children i have raised alone with no experience of a mother role or having a mother myself to teach me i still feel today i cant trust ppl thanks to being let down by the government and dumped from care

  19. i was in winlaton in the early mum died whilst in remand, it was a horrible feeling going to her funeral in handcuffs and surrounded my 2 police women. i remember miss d. she was a bit mean but she had a good heart. i would love to go to the reunion but i carnt afford it, so you girls have a great time.

Comments are closed.