Child Migrants, Forgotten Australians, memories, objects, Stolen Generations

Cleanliness is Godliness

by Adele Chynoweth on 22 February, 2011

As a child, were you required to fulfil cleaning duties in your institution? The National Museum wishes to draw attention to this work in it pending exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes. Can you help?

We are interested in learning, from former residents of Children’s Homes, about what cleaning products or objects you cleaned with.

Please feel free to post a response below or on the message board on this site.

You can also email me us at:
if you don’t want your contribution to be published online.

We understand that writing about such incidents may mean reliving them so please don’t feel obliged to share, if this is too distressing for you because your wellbeing is more important than our list!

We also have included a list of links to advocacy, support, counselling and record-finding services on the right hand side of this website. If you would like further assistance you are most welcome to email us here at and we will endeavour to locate appropriate contact information for you.

2 thoughts on “Cleanliness is Godliness”

  1. On the subject of cleaning products I believe if you were to add a toothbrush to your list of objects is a powerful message A lot of forgotten Australians would vivedly remember as a punishment dished out by a lot of the institutions was the main tool
    You, would be left all night to scour which ever floor that the Matron had chosen needed to be scrubbed till she could see her face in it. A lot of tears are left on those floors by children that had done nothing wrong but want comfort. Yes most of us did not need any water as our tears mopped up any smudges left by little feet

    Love Eileen Kennedy nee Diane Mancuso or who ever I am!!!

  2. Yes of course Diane – the dreaded toothbrush – of course!

    Ironic, isn’t it, that some survivors of Homes, talk about the lack of possessions regarding personal cleanliness and yet toothbrushes seemed plentiful when it came to punitive cleaning of an institution’s floor!

    I am sorry to say that the National Museum has now finalised its objects for the exhibition “Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions” but your point is well made Diane/Eileen – and you know who you are. That’s all that matters!

    Many thanks and best wishes.

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