articles/lectures, Child Migrants, Forgotten Australians, memories, Responding to the National Apology

Forgotten generation fears return to homes

by Maureen and Pauline McDonogh (guest author) on 12 November, 2010

Forgotten Australians Maureen and Pauline McDonogh write in today’s Sydney Morning Herald about what last year’s National Apology to Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants means to them.

[2020 note] This article is no longer available on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

2 thoughts on “Forgotten generation fears return to homes”

  1. Well written and presented.
    The Apology was a great and memorable day indeed.
    Re: comments on the aforesaid article:
    The reality is that it is and it is not [also] ‘about money’
    For those whose lives were ripped apart there is no real compensation.
    What can replace human life?
    What can replace the terrible cruelty imposed upon innocent people who were so abused by callous, cruel people who had no right to abuse them?
    On the same hand the loss of opportunity, career, family life, motherhood etc needs to be addressed.
    Conversely, the most important factor is that all parties forgive and work together to secure quality life from now on in.

  2. Oleeja is correct in what has been said.

    I’m writing from a Barnardo Farm School POV.

    It was not so much about abuse – there really was very little. Harsh corporal punishment, yes – and the administrator was not beyond going the extra stroke of the cane. We took that and then forgot it.

    What was hurtful was our position in regards to the ‘matrons’ – the so-called cottage mothers in charge of us. They went from the ‘saintly’ to the bloody horrible, and to this day I can never and nor will I forgive those women, who made me feel like a third-rater.

    The boys who were under the care of two of these cottage mothers – Higgs and Thornber Cottage fared better.

    We were shown no love and it was deemed unmanly to give vent to one’s emotions.

    There was no way that the different personalities – the extroverts, introverts, aggressive and shy boys were counselled accordingly.

    To seek escape, I turned to writing, story-telling and trying to use humour as a defence.

    Unfortunately for me – there was a turn around at the BFS in 1956, by then I had been thrust out in the adult world without the opportunity to be a kid – or a teenager.

    I am sorry that I don’t warm to the apology. To me it was just a written statement – the deeds were done and some half a century plus, thankfully, the memories fade.

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