documents, Forgotten Australians, photos

Children’s mass grave in Sydney

By John Murray (guest author) on 1 November, 2010

Below are John Murray’s photographs taken of a re-interment ceremony held on 1 May 2000. Over 100 children’s bodies were re-interred at the site of the former Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children. The bodies were discovered during the rebuild of the psychiatric ward at Sydney Children’s Hospital. An archaeological survey was able to identify 40 of the bodies.

Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children was opened in 1852. The 1873 royal commission on public charities recommended that large institutions for children be closed down and that children be boarded out. At the time of the commission, the Randwick Asylum housed between 700 and 800 children. However, the Asylum did not begin boarding out children until 1883 and did not close until 1915.

The State Records Authority of New South Wales holds records of the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children.

And the State Library of New South Wales has the report of the 1995 gravesite excavation.

17 thoughts on “Children’s mass grave in Sydney”

  1. What a disgusting time in our history and it still continued for years did the government ever learn or were they just dimwitts.

  2. It’s interesting – in the book “Orphans of the Living”, author Joanna Penglase notes the New South Wales’ McCulloch Report which was the outcome of an associated inquiry in 1934 and “expressed surprise that so many of the problems uncovered by the inquiry were old ones, identified time and again and yet not acted upon” (P. 49).

    Penglase also mentions the British Ross Report, which later in 1956, criticised many aspects of Australian institutions for children.

  3. What is more disgusting is that often individual is against individual and there is a complete disregard for the pain and suffering of some by others – this is partially due to a lack of insight and understanding and partially because regardless of every step to bring about a collective restoration some people seem to want to attack others whose suffering is then reinforced decades down the track.
    Is life so bad that we have to harm and wrong each other because of our own petty ignorance or inability to cope?
    But yes, you are so very right – it was a very disgusting time in history.

  4. The institution that these children were housed at (Ranwick Asylum) is illustrative of a great deal of the history, and continuing practice of child welfare in this country.

    A Royal Commission in the late 1800’s found that the system at this institution was incredibly brutal and soul destroying, and a recommendation setting up the present day Department of Community Services (as the then State Children’s Relief Board) brought about foster care (boarding out) and numerous other changes to the system.

    One cannot help but feel however that much that has been achieved, and changed since this time has not actually met the spirit of the inquiry.

    For example, the inquiry said that it was simply inhuman to call these children by numbers and (long before international treaties on human, civil, political and children’s rights) stated that these children had a right to be known by their own name.

    Long after the Royal Commission in the 1880’s this last point is still breached, and just as many of the children shown in these photos have no name, children who die while in care to this very day are not allowed to have their names publicised in the popular press.

    This is said to protect the privacy of the dead children, but we all know who it is protecting.

    There are people alive today, who went through very similar institutions to this one who were also called by numbers and not by names. You may be surprised to find that they are not all that old (and I hope that many of you will still be with us for another 30 or so years!).

    An interesting fact about this particular institution was that medical experiments were carried out on the children there, and this could very well account for some of the epidemics that not only afflicted and wiped out large numbers of children, but may have spread to the wider colony.

    I also believe that the reason for the lack of remains in the grave yard was the distinct possibility that some of these children had their bodies stolen to become specimens in various universities and hospitals.

    An indication of the harshness of the regime at this institution was the fact that only one little girl had anything buried with her- a rosary.

    This was a brutal and ungodly place, and I guess that is reflected to this day by the fact that these children are buried- like condemned criminals, in unconsecrated ground.

    A reflection of the good intentions we hear so much about today is aptly foreshadowed in this self congratulatory praise of 1856 announcing the opening of Randwick Asylum:

    “He who snatches an individual from habits of vice, and places him in the path of civilisation and virtue does more for the practical elevation of mankind than the admirer of a thousand theoretical schemes of social economy.”

    The re interment was a very special and moving day for me, as it felt like some great cosmic protest.

    1st of May 2000- being Millennium May Day

  5. Thank you for posting the above two links, Adele. They are an excellent source and reminder that policies and indeed life itself, has not necessarily targeted or contributed to the displacement on one particular individual and not the other, one particulare group of people and not another – the reality is that although we can each – and with some merit claim, ‘This happened to me…’ We need to also realise that, (as I had for so long mistakenly believed in thinking ‘I’m the only one’), ‘These (or similar) things have also happened in the lives of others…’ as the Barnados link says many are still coming to term with it.
    Nor can we force things – that is, everything takes time – forgiveness, the growth of increasing awareness (which for some is stagnant as they can’t allow themselves the blessing of getting beyond the inward-turning focus on what is an immovable bundle of confused emotion…)
    If someone wrongs me what do I do? Seek revenge/ Slaughter the person? Analyse the person’s background? Justify abuse and/or betrayal? Take it and learn from the privileged lesson then find the other person might not have moved on? etc..so many options in life. All of which are valid.
    However, there is no going back. The minute and second that has just gone by can never be known and or experienced again and as much as the distant pain is a product of wrong moves it can never be present again.
    The mother who miscarries can tell you this, the man who runs off the bridge and into a pram below only to survive, the person framed and wrongly convicted, the person denied a seat on the bus or a job because he is black, too old, gay or whatever – life is filled with injustices and expending one’s energy on what has passed beyond what is reasonable is a sheer waste of potential.

    I would encourage those who are torn apart with misery not because they have tehir lives today but because the memory of things past is an affliction, and that’s what it is – without the ability to reflect it is only a memory – I would encourage people everywhere to ask of themselves,
    What have I learned from this horrid experience? Where have I been and how have I been prepared for right here right now?
    If I could do ONE THING IN LIFE – what would it be?
    Go to the beach? Write a poem? Write a book? Start a business? Take my experience and contribute to others in hope of giving others some sort of awareness (YOU CAN’T MAKE THE BLIND SEE but you can provide ways and means of advancing a way to live a happier life)
    If someone screams at you then turns around and says, ‘It’s YOUR fault. YOU upset me. YOU made me scream…’ etc then who really is right? The person copping it sweet or the person trying to shirk responsibility for his/her actions and cast the blame on someone else?’
    The obvious is the obvious.
    Butterflies of Hope is evidence of the fact that ALL PARTIES CONCERNED are moving along TOGETHER, and this is the way healing happens – restoration cannot take place when people are against each other.

  6. Did government send the thousands of state ward children that died to universities for medical students to be dissected?

  7. The masochism and sadism action of our Australian Government for allowing innocent State Ward Children to be dumped by our government into adult mental asylums where the criminally mentally insane were, where State Ward children were at risk of great danger from the crinimally insane patients in the asylum.
    The State Ward children placed in the asylum as a form of punishment for adolescent rebellion [ standing up to nuns abuse] or if one was a bed wetter, runways from orphanages at the tender age of 13.
    Multipal electric shock treatment was performed on them where their eyes rolled back into their sockets body shaking and in an abnormal unconscious state for hours. 6 girls taken to have shock treatment only 3 returned and never saw the other 3 again may be they could of died from shock treatment.
    Placed in straight jackets, tied to a bed for days that had no matress given no food and little water.
    Lithem Largactil Melleril and Paraldehyde which melted plastic was given to state ward children that made them worse than zombies and whilst in the zombie state, male wardens performed sexual things on them a wittness stated.
    Every state ward child known as the Forgotten Children that was dumped into adult mental asylums for punishment in my opion should be compensated 1 million dollars lump sum tax free for pain and suffereing and be honored for being a suviver.
    If that lady that sued Daivd Jones CEO for 36 million but received 800 hundred thousand for an unwanted kiss, then those F.Australians should be compensated the 1 million.
    WHO AGREES?

  8. Masochism means; Abnormal PLEASURE obtained from the suffering of physical or mental pain.
    Sadism means; A perversion in which PLEASURE is obtained by torturing the loved one, PLEASURE in iflecting or watching cruelty. Those loved one were mothers & fathers children.
    State Ward children dumped into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment indeed were experiemented on for behavour science projects. The State Childrens Department known today as the Department of Community Services are guilty of allowing torture and cruelty to innocent children.
    One of the psychiatrists in Goodna Mental Asylum had a nick name from the procdure performed on girls before he did electric shock treatment , girls had to undress and put a white gown on and Dr Banana examines the girls all over including his fingers twirling in their vagina, paedophile heaven. This procdure done to virgin girls would of been painful.
    In my opion Psychiatrist giving and watching the response from electric shock treatment of children at age 13, and the State Childrens Department allowing it to happen fits the above words. Masochism and Sadism.

  9. I wonder if state ward children that were dumped into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment, when given there over experiemental drugs if any of them had side effects from the drugs, if any died from from the drugs or the drugs brought on eleptic fits and if so, was it reported to the AMA.?
    If the butcher psychiatrists didnt report to the Australian Medical Assosation, perhaps they fraudently gave false data, knowing there would be causalities in the experiementation which was exceptibal with the full knowledge of the State Childrens Department.

  10. Question please.
    Where are researchers journalists politicians spokes persons film makers writers and solicitors to act on behalf of the Forgotten Australians that were used for all sorts of experiements such as behavioural projects, electric shock treatments, drug expereiments, psychological and phyicial abuse. Those who named their sexual abusers are compensated but the Goodna girls that were sexually abused whilst in an unconscious state fron psychiatric drugs and were oblivious of sexual things done to them but witnesses can testify it happened. How hypocritical.
    Children that died from failed experiemental drugs.
    Children that were dumped into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment [not mental problems], where multipal shock treatment performed on them there eyes rolled back into their sockets body shaking and in an unconscious state for hours and whilst in that unconscious state male wardens performed sexual acts on those children.
    How many girls died from shock treatment and was it passed off as part of experiements which was acceptable and were their bodies sent to universities to be dissected as they did to the DUPLISSIS ORPHANS IN QUEBEC. ?
    Why dont the above mentioned persons willingly search out victims that survived the masochism and sadism torture in Goodna Mental Asylum then compensate them for pain and suffering.
    Why are they so silent and bury the data from society and history hiding in burrows like an ornithorhynchus.

  11. Professor, Zooligst, Scientist on human sexual behavour Alfred Kinseys teaching is used in Universities globally
    Professor Kinsey,himself a Pedophile , trained & paid other pedophiles to molest thousands of children as young as 2 months old getting pedophiles to measure and record ,what he classified as “sexual responses” of their victims using stop watches and charts. Kinsey called the victims response from being molested “orgasms’.
    Dr Reisman was told by the FBI that we have been conned by Scientist Kinseys teaching and makes a point, what kind of person would assosicate sobbing, screaming, violent resistance, & pain with sexual climax in children. The kind Kinsey was ;a sadomasochistic pederast.

    Kinseys documentation of a 4 yr old child having 26 orgasm in a 24 hour period. Kinsey was a crinimal also used pedophiles molesting children which is crinimal.
    Universitys praising and giving tribute to Alfred Kinsey is chronically sickening,
    no wonder Psychiatrists from Goodna Mental Asylum before giving the young girls electric shock treatment as part of examanation, twirled his fingers into State Ward Children [ Forgotten Australians] vaginas after having Kinseys teaching.

  12. Hi, Rondah Trivett,

    Thankyou for exposing the sadomasochistic action that was done to your self whilst in Wolsten Park. My sister was placed in Goodna Mental Asylum 1964- 66 by the State Childrens Department as a form of punishment for her adolesecent rebellion & supposing bad behavour. My sister had the God given ablity to stand up to the gestpo nuns bad treatment, she also defended other children in the orphanage too. It was terrible how we were looked down upon in those days by society.
    Prime Minister Menzie stated in his speech, orphans are not worth investing in. Hence Forgotten Australians were looked down upon and treated as slaves and second class people, hence the bad treatment.

    My sister was given multipal electric shock treatment, put in straight jackets, heavilly drugged worse than zombies. She told me sex happened with the girls there in Goodna to children. The more she and others stood up to authorities abuse, the more they deemed F.Australians as rebellous and didnt care a crap what psychical or psychological trauma we the F.Australians went through.

  13. I cannot understand how Unversities and our Government for excepting a sadomasochistic pederast and crinimal Scientist Alfred Kinseys Philosophy and life style.

    People that give tribute to Alfried Kinsey must believe its ok to molest children, Kinsey paying pedophiles to molest children as young as 2 months old.
    Determined detective Dr. Judith Reismanhas dedicated decades of reaserch to exposing the Kinsey con. The FBI stated to Dr. Reisman we have been conned by Alfred Kensey.

    The State Childrens Department, Psychologists, Psychiatrists when completing their Social Science Degrees, would of been taught Kinseys Philosophy. Those who are proud and untouchable achievers who think their better than any one else, are not so smart after all, as they were FOOLED by a crinimal. I strongly suggest watch the documentary Dr. Judith Reisman did on Kinsey.

    People that repeatibly raped Rondah Trivett in Wolsten Park, girls in Goodna Mental Asylum raped whilst zonked out on psychiatric drugs, a sadomaschistic psychiatrist “love” watching and torturing children as young as 13 yrs of age, giving multipal electric shock treatment in Goodna Mental Asylum causing damage, should be compensated by the Federal & State Governments no procrastinating or avoiding what happened.
    To me, by avoiding they are just as GUILTY and extremelly heartless as the people that raped and tortured the F.Australians such as Rondah Trivett, my sister and many others that went through the same abuse in Wolsten Park, Goodna Mental Asylum.

    How can the Prime Minister, Premiers, members of Parliament & Director Generals of Department of Communities in our nation Australia be silent?, they have a lot to answer for.

  14. Hi Adele ,

    I have come to the conclusion that the reason that so many Forgotten Australians were “classified as rebellious ” and sent off to adult Mental Hospitals , was for the express purpose of using strong willed Forgotten Australians as “Guinea Pigs” for all sorts of experiments and vaccine trials etc by these sadistic Doctors and Psychiatrists who were working on Eugenics programs which the Government were totally involved in, as they had an endless supply of Forgotten Australians that come from orphanages/institutions that they believed nobody would miss.

    It was not too hard for them to be brutal with them, which is exactly how they were ;and many can testify to that. This same sort of “Policy” was employed over in Canada during the same period of time as all of this was going on here in Australia, 1940s -1970s in what has come to be called the” Dupleiss Orphans scandal ” where thousands of mentally stable, sound children in Orphanages [ children placed in orphanages but had parents too]were”Reclassified ” as mentally deficient and placed in adult Mental Hospitals for Treatment, such as Electric Shock Treatment drugged worse than zombies placed in straight jackets, tied to a bed for days with no food and little water etc. It is noticable that they usually picked the strong willed children from orphanages/institutions for all of this “Treatment “also.

    The fact that the Queensland Government destroyed many of these files makes one believe that there was a lot of damming evidence about this also in those files. Again the fact that no mention was ever made about these Mental Hospital “Rebellious Forgotten Australians from orphanages/institutions “, who were sent off to these places to be experimented on , with electric shock treatment drugged worse than zombies etc in the Federal Apology 16th November 2009 in my opion certainly makes one believe that they , the Federal and State Governments are withholding all this evidence , and certainly did not want the public to know about all of this evil practices they were fully involved in upon the most vunerable ones of our society.

    Does society give Electric Shock Treatment to all of the “Rebellious People “who end up in our Prisons? No ,they certainly do not. As Psychiatrists are the most mentally troubled people in our Medical Profession like Psychiatrist Collin Bouwer in Otago Prison New Zealand for life for murdering his wife. It is certainly most notable that they NEVER advocate this Electric Shock Treatment to themselves for treatment!! They certainly know and have seen first hand the damage this “Treatment” has done to their unfortunate patients !

    Giving electric shock treatment to children for so called “rebellion, defience, standing up to abusive people”, in my opion was evil crimes against children and there in none of you CEOs government MPS expressing compassion sadness and empathy acknowledging they were wrong and evil for doing it.
    Even thou FAs are gratefull for the apology [thankyou], saying sorry at the apology on the 24/3/10 at Brisbane Parliament Qld was a very hollow form of sorry, no compassion no compession, but if it happened to them like Premier Anna Bligh,M.P Jenny Macklin, Joe Hocky Toni Aborrt, John Howard and Menzies they would of screamed blue murder and sued for millions.
    But PM Menzies said these people are non worthy children not worth investing in. Perhaps our government may believe the same way as PM Menzie, which explains their complete lack of compassion and compensation to Forgotten Australians that went through that damaging torture.

    ECT consists of electricity being passed through the brain with force from 70 to 400 volts to 1.600 milliamperes used in ECT is quiet powerful. The power could kill the person if the current was not liminted to the head.
    The electricity is so powerful that it could burn the skin on the head where the electrodes were placed, hence they used electrose jelly to prevent skin burns from the electricity and the electricity going through the brain causes SEIZURES. To prevent musele paralyzing, a drug is administered imediately before treatment.
    Doing that 10 to 12 times on 13 year old Forgotten Australians is cruelty and crinimal assult and crimes against children I believe.

    Many Forgotten Australians has presented of the barbaric torture, rapes, drugging worse than zombies to our Federal and State government, but still to this day not a word for compensation WHY. In my opion , the fact they dont compensate is proof they must of agreed to the torture and crimes against Forgotten Australians that took place in the adult Goodna Mental Asylum and others.

    Forgotten Australians that were placed [dumped] into those asylums had no human rights and were miss understood children.

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