Forgotten Australians, Responding to the National Apology

Don’t let this happen to the kids in the homes now

by Lynn Meyers (guest author) on 15 November, 2010

Lynnette Meyers
Lynn MeyersA response by a Forgotten Australian to the National Apology at Parliament House, Canberra, on 16 November 2009


My name is Lynette Meyers. I became a ward of the state with the Victorian government in 1959, September 1959. I was there until 1963. I was sent back to my stepfather in Queensland by the Victorian government and, on the recommendations that I have now read in my file, he was the last person I should have been sent back to. So I ran away from him immediately and went back to Victoria. From then on it was a revolving door until I got to about 30. I was in and out of Fairlea women’s prison from then right up until I was about 30 on and off over the years.

I got my tattoos on my arms when I first went into Winlaton in the lockup block in Goonyah. The girls used to have Indian ink and to rebel against the screws everybody used to tattoo themselves. I my first one was on my hand and then all over.

They used to lock us up in our quarters, that’s all, in our cells. At one stage I was in my cell for three weeks, me and another girl in the X cell. We scraped the bricks away so we could talk to each other. We had nothing in there but the floor. If you wanted to go to the toilet, you used to have to scream out for one of the screws to come and let you out to go to the toilet. They would only come when they wanted to.

What it means to me, it means that somebody is taking responsibility for the cruel things that happened to us in there. The tattoos, the drugs, the hidings, on Sparine and Largactil so we walked around like zombies. If you ever played up you got a needle in the bum by the men and just locked up, you know, solitary.

But also it means to me that I want the government not to let this happen to the young kids that are in the homes now. That is more important. What happened to me and others, we can’t do much about. But let’s not continue it on. That’s what it means.

6 thoughts on “Don’t let this happen to the kids in the homes now”

  1. I knew about gonyah I was in Karingal and we were sared of you.

    I was there in 1968 or maybe 1969 I left there and never returned.

    We had a better time of it not locked up music in the rec room etc.

    Why were we so frightened by Goonyah – bad stories coming out and secutity having to come in. I could walk to the dentist across the road went to school and had weekend visits. WHAT MADE YOU DIFFERENT TO ME?

  2. You were there 6 or 7 years after my time.Winlaton had only been open for 3 years when I was placed there,and Goonyah was the remand centre for all girls who first entered Winlaton,sentenced or remanded. I am told by girls and staff a lot of things changed in those few years,such as Winberra for remand girls,the swimming pool,that we were sent to Monbulk to pick fruit to help pay for it to be built.We had to earn our way to Warrina and Karingal,and then to Leawarra for some,(like myself) who had nowhere else to go.Such as family.When I was finely down in Warrina,we were made to go to school,and later to work in the the sewing room or kitchen,laundry and other jobs that were seen fit by the authorities.Music was only aloud on weekends and that was only for those who were deemed to have behaved themselves. I can remember 6oclock rock . We were also made to go to ballet lessons once a week. Miss D in charge and Mrs S was her deputy dog when i was there and they were very strict.I could go on,you are the only girl I know who has not had a bad time in Winlaton,so you were very lucky.

  3. i was tossed in there becos i objected to my baby being stolen from me. it seems various and different institutions like this worked hand in hand…all to feather their own nests of course. so many girls should never have been there.
    there was a girl there in karingal who used to draw horses beautifully.
    there was a lesbian we not allowed to go near and if we tried to be friends she would say go away you arenot allowed to talk to me…you’ll get into trouble…i said i’ll talk to who ever i WANT.
    escaping was fun…
    and i remember the 2 girls who got caught on the barbed wire fence and every morning had to go and get mercurochrome on their bums…
    and thats where i learned to scrub floors. good and proper.
    good old goonya. how could inot fall in love when i see those pics.
    as for a swimming pool. you gotta be kidding we were never allowed to use the pool.
    rock and roll music in the rec room or tv was on for a while but stopped when there was a mass escape after the screw got locked in the rec room on warina.
    i remember two girls telling me they were there becos there mothers didnt want them,. they were only 10 i think and shold never have been there under age. similarly rosie should never have been there as she was 21 but it was said she had syphillis was dying and couldnt be sent to fairlee.
    then there were those odd ones who went on to use and abuse other people in life and who still need to be held accountable…the wheel turns. dirt comes out in the wash.
    they might have pulled the evidence (winlaton) down but some of us are still around to testify.


  5. Yes – welcome!

    The National Museum of Australia welcomes to this website contributions related to all types of children’s institutions.

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