Message board

This blog closed in November 2011 and is not being updated. This is a record of contributions from people who experienced institutional ‘care’ as a child, or wanted to comment inspired by the National Apology in November 2009.

189 thoughts on “Message board”

  1. My name is Gwen Robinson preferably known as Sandra and I am going to write a little about the Shock Treatment that I seen given to patients at Wolston Park Mental Hospital also known as Goodna Mental Hospital. First I will tell you a little about myself and how I got there. I was put in there for being an absconder, better known as an habitual run-away, and not because there was anything mentally wrong with me which was proven by the I.Q. test that I did there and it came out as above average. I had the brains to be an accountant, which is what I wanted to be, but I was never given the education to follow that profession. There is a letter in my files written by a doctor to the Childrens Department stating that Wolston Park was non-theraputic to me and I should be out in a hostel and doing a business course. Needless to say that never happened and the Childrens Department just kept me there to be kept drugged up. We were given a drug called peraldahyde and it had to be given in a glass vial as it melted plastic. The mind shudders as to what it has done to my body being given to me as a young teenager. We were also given other mind altering drugs which kept us immobilised, which led to some of us wetting or dirtying ourselves as we could not move. It also left the staff free range to do whatever they wanted when we were in this state. I have cigarette burns on my arms from the staff and other scars. I absconded from Tufnell Home and ended up in The Good Shepherd at Mitchelton and then I got out of there and was sent to Karalla House. I never got out of there but was locked up for more than a month in solitary confinement and when we got out of these rooms we came out as mad as hell and caused trouble and then this led me to be put in the Mental Hospital as it was the most secure place in Q.L.D. to keep me. I got out of there and was caught months later and was locked in a room for 2 weeks for the male staff to have access to as this was my punishment. I was also told at this time that if I escaped again that there was a lot of suicides in the Bremmer River. I believed them as I thought if you can lock me up with the Criminally Insane, and no one is doing anything about it, then you could do exactly as you pleased. Needless to say that I did escape from there one more time and was never caught, but I lived a life of being someone else as I thought I would be murdered. If anyone is interested I could explain that to them. In my mind I have never deserved any of this treatment as my only crime was being an orphan and being severly bashed at home and sometimes so bad that the school took me to the Hospital as I had blood and welts all over my body.

    I cannot remember the number of the Ward that I was in when I witnessed the horror of seeing people being strapped down for shock treatment and also seeing them come out of the room when it was done.I am sitting here writing this with tears in my eyes as the pure horror of what these people went through comes back to me. It was one of the cruelist things that I have ever witnessed. The patients would fight the staff and come and hide behind other people, such as myself, and beg us to help and protect them. There was nothing I could do and they would be dragged away by staff and they would be begging and pleading to the staff not to do this to them. When they came out of the rooms after Shock Treatment they would be left lying on the beds and this is when I seen male staff interferring and doing sexual things to some of the patients while they were unconscious. Even today thinking about it makes my stomach heave. I have always been quite a strong person and have had a strong sense of survival, but what I seen in this place and also had done to me has had the worst effect on me even these many years later. Sometimes for days and even weeks these patients who had Shock Treatment would walk around in a daze with strange eyes, like they couldn’t focus, and also loss of memory. They were forever asking others what their names were and where they were. Another thing is that they were very skiddish as hiding behind other patients, such as myself, so as not to be noticed by staff and if staff came towards some it was like they were frozen with fear and I witnessed some patients just pass out with this fear and some of the staff thought this was quite funny. My heart broke for these defenseless people and still does today. Everyone dreaded Shock Treatment days but some of the staff loved it.

    The Government in Q.L.D. will not compensate any of us who were children placed in Adult Institutions or who were locked up with the Criminally Insane. They keep saying that the Redress Scheme has closed but they fail to realise is that these Mental Institutions were not covered by the Redress Scheme as it only covered places in the Terms of Reference for the Forde Inquiry and this Forde Inquiry did not let us speak of these Mental Institutions and we were told that they would never be included as it was a seperate issue. None of us have ever found a lawyer who is smart enough or has the fight to take on the Government or Health Department on this issue. Even the legal part of the Senate Inquiry says we should be looked at again for compensation as it was wrong that we were excluded as we were put there by the Childrens Department.

  2. Christine Waite
    hello yes you got my permission to tell TV journalist mps ect
    please tell the world and anybody that will listen and help with our fight for justice and making the wrongs right. i would life them to ring me swell. now i can talk about these things i am going to the police but what they do well is your guess.

  3. To Rhonda Tibett and Christine Waite , could you email me ,my address I will ask Adele to pass it on .I may have something for you both, that may help Thanks Lawrie

  4. Y
    Dear Adele,
    On the 15th September 2011, Minister for Maroubra, Mr Michael Dalry, spoke in the parliament on my behalf and that of the Forgotten Australians. The document can be found on the NSW GOV Hansard record for that date. He was wonderful and quoted the Senate Committees report of 2004. He wants to debate the matter in the house. Please send this on to all who are interested. The only one to take it on, a good man is Michael Daley.
    Perhaps they will remember to rember the Forgotten Australians!!!!!!!! Regards Maureen

  5. Everyone go and educate your local member. The more the politicians know about us and who we are the better understanding they will have. Please if you can not get an appointment write them a letter asking for their support in the upcoming debate in State Parliament. If you want the Senate Committees report to finally be read by the State Parliament go and see the pollie, write to him, make him remember the Apology. We can all help each other or we can do nothing, it is up to us all to have a go. Pass this around to every NSW F>A> you know.

  6. just for the record. my admiration for rhonda knows no bounds. really !! dreadful tragedy all round. ian.

  7. Thank for the reply Ian. For all of the carry on that the pollies staged I doubt that they saw nothing but budgets before their eyes and this decision not to compensate the FA was only a budgetry matter. Please include Michael Daley MP on your writing list. He has stuck his neck out for us all. From what I have been able to ascertain, the pollies really have no idea what we are all disturbed about, but then it did not have the transparency about it that it has today. I found that, after speaking with most sitting pollies, they have no idea what happened to us at the hands of former govs.. We know that they were not born in the same era as us and so to keep it simple seems to be the best approach, Michael Daley was not even born when my trauma began and I do not blame him or his colleagues for this. I just want them to fix it before I pass. If Michael can successfully debate the Senate Committees report we have taken a step forward toogether. I have been emotional, no response, Ihave been angry, no response, I put forward points of law, no response but I have had response by getting to know my MP and he me. I have found the old adage of it is not who you are but who you know to be correct so in March this year I volunteered to work for the local member. Nothing sugnificant, letter box drops and hand outs at the pre polling booth. This allowed me to become more personable to the local pollies, this is where I found a mouth to speak for us. All emotion, even anger has subsided a little because it was the then govs. legacy and now we have an opportunity to start righting those hideous acts that were thrust upon us. Go gentlely amid the haste Ian, I feel your frustration, I admire your fighting spirit but we can do more for ourselves than repeating the cycle of pain.

  8. Maureen Redding ,you are spot on with your remarks on what we can do .Our local polies need to know about the FAs history . This is not only a country wide and state issue its a local one as well .Make this point to your local member and you will more likely to to receive a positive reaction

  9. Thanks Lawrie. If we all work together we will get through this. I do not know how to reach the NSW people and hopefully it will be by word of mouth. We need ground swell to keep our plight to the fore in the pollies minds. If you possibly can spread the word please do it. We have an in after all this time and trust me when I say that I will never ever give up hope I really mean it but I am a lone activist because I do not seem to fit the mould of the groups that represent us. I work hard for us all. Everyone suffered, we all know that, now we have to be mature enough to travel the next road together and support Michael Daley, educate our local pollies (you are right) and they will support Michael Daley but it is imperative we all do our bit . Thank you Adele for listing the Report on the Website. Lets all walk together on this ne people, there is hope.

  10. The site of the former Ballarat Orphanage has been sold to private developers who plan to build and sell houses and units for a handsome profit. Heritage Victoria refused to list the site to protect the remaining buildings because, they said, it was of local interest only and because the original (1865) building had been demolished.

    They are wrong about the local interest only claim. The Orphanage took in children including members of the Stolen Generation, from all parts of Victoria and former residents now live in all parts of Australia and overseas.

    They are wrong about the intactness issue. Their argument is crude: because something has been demolished, we can’t save anything. Yet there is an intact school, an intact toddler’s block, an intact gymnasium, an intact sloyd room (woodwork), etc. There is plenty to show how ideas about out-of-home care changed over the decades.

    But heritage is not just about buildings. Heritage means nothing without human memories, marking the experiences (good and bad) that thousands of people had in the place. It’s people who give meaning and value to a set of buildings, not the other way round. A group of us – former residents – are appealing the Heritage Victoria decision. Wish us luck!

  11. Good luck indeed Frank!

    I love your commentary about heritage – so true! Thank you.

    If there is anything that others can do to help, please let me know and I will post your advice, if you wish.

  12. Hello I was transfered to Osler House in March 1988 after trying to kill myself while I was in PA Psych unit I was only 16 at the time. No one ever decided to contact family services and tell them that I was in need of help from them. So when they released me from Osler House in the May I was told to either go home to my parents and be beaten and abused or find alterative living arrangements.So with no one to help I ended up back in PA Psych 3 weeks later and the back to Osler House for 13 months and then onto Lewis House A for 4 months then a social worker from Wolston Park read my file and found out that no one had told family services that I was there.She told me that the hospital had to release me before I turn 18 so that there would be comeback at the hospital or Dr Haycock who sent me there.I never understood what she meant at the time. Things might have been diferent if some had ask family services to help me. I through the abuse at home was bad but the abuse in at Osler House was just the same only thing different was the people who were abusing me this time I didnt know.There was alot of young girls sent to Osler House when I was there it was like the dumping ground for all of Dr H’s trouble patients as one of the nurses referred to us as. I didn,t know till a couple of years after I was in there that it was for the Criminally Insane. What crime did I do to be sent to hell and back. I only wanted the people who were meant to be my parents to give me food and love not to be beaten, abused and treated like s***.I would love to see the day when justis is done for what happened not just to me but to Cathy, Margarie ,
    Catherine,Erica and lovely little Reberta if you all are still alive we can say we all survived and that is some kind of justice I guess. They killed every other part of us but we still survied.

  13. It is sad that this site will not continue after November 16th It has been one of the few places where FAs are not turned back because of funding or other reasons .It has allow ,in the last 6 months or so , FAs to express their experiences and lifes journey in a safe place and has gain momenton in that time and now it is to come to an end.

    Thanks Adele and hope that our decision makers will one day regret what was a usefull tool and the decisionj to cut the life blood for many FAs is now NO more

    Again Thanks Adele

  14. Thank you Adele and staff. My grandchildren are proud that I was finally able to release my BIG secret. You were a part of that personal development, for me. I thank you for the opportunity you afforded us all. History should never repeat and you have certainly been an outlet for us all. Best wishes on your new adventures and it has been a pleasure having you at the helm of a long forgotten history in Australias growth. Best wishes to you all in all that you may undertake.

  15. hi gabbi thanks for the reply, but im sad to say that i carnt make it to the reunion as i now live in qld and just carnt afford accodation and flights. but my best goes out to you all and i will be thinking of you all on this day ,as winnlation was also my saviour and my punishment .xxx colleen.

  16. An update on the campaign to get a heritage listing on the old Ballarat Orphanage. You may remember that the site has been sold to developers who have not yet disclosed their plans, but the prevailing view is that they want to make a killing by clearing the site so as to built units.

    Heritage Victoria refused to put the site on its heritage list. Some of us have appealed the Heritage Victoria decision and we have a formal hearing set down for 18 November. A good number of people have signed a petition asking that the site be preserved.

    On the assumption that Heritage Victoria would not change its initial negative decision, in August the City of Ballarat ran a ‘consultation’ session for former residents to gain our views. Discussion was in small groups only with no opportunity to hear what other groups in the room said. Fishy?

    The organisers at the City of Ballarat then refused to tell us what was sent in our name by way of a report to the developers about our views. Extraordinary, that we are not allowed to know what was reported to be our views! Fishier?

    I lodged an FOI request for the the document which is claimed to represent our views. The FOI officer rejected my FOI application. I have asked his boss for a review of that decision.

    Meanwhile, the developers, who are getting impatient, have asked to meet with those of us who appealed the Heritage Victoria decision on 25 October. Fishiest?

    We will go along to this meeting to get an update on their planning, but still intend to go full steam ahead to Heritage Victoria because that’s the only way we can get a legally binding requirement that the developers treat the site with sensitivity and have regard for the history of the thousands of children who grew up in the Orphanage.

  17. The need to ensure the INSIDE exhibit sensitively is presented as it travels Australia, and the web site kept active.

    Hello Australia! Are you listening?
    What great good fortune that National Museum of Australia was “loaned” Dr. Adele Chynoweth to set up a web site for the expression of “Forgotten Australians” and help shape the INSIDE: Life in Childrens Homes and Institutions exhibit (her ‘loan” to the Museum is up when the exhibit opens this November). Now is not the time to let her go. We need her. Let us take courage and see if she can be retained for the life of the INSIDE show so that the web site will grow and the exhibit can be taken around the country with continuity and strength and make history seamlessly.
    NOW is the time and ANM is the place and this gifted facilitator is the circumstance for Australians to begin to come to terms with past look-the-other-way-and-don’t-question policies and learn how the human rights of so many children hundreds of thousands of children were ignored.
    As someone dubbed a “forgotten Australian” I am concerned that the NMA without Dr. Adele Chynoweth’s presence, does not have what it takes in terms of expert understanding of this particular issue. We trust her. Her insights are necessary in order to fulfill the initial impulse that Kevin Rudd set in place in the highly unusual government mandate and underwriting to carry out this extremely sensitive and important task of giving voice to the experiences of a half a million people who have had their lives maimed by Australia’s child/racial, colonial policies, so as to educate and inform the public of the dust-under-the-national-rug. This was something new– a mandate by the nation’s leaders who, in a rare moment of acknowledgement of the moral weight of testimony from a vulnerable and undefended segment of the population.
    I’m still looking for the bold vision the new NMA Director Andrew Sayers spoke of when you said, “We want to make the museum a place where the issues facing our nation in the future can be debated and confronted.” In my experience and observation such bold vision does not arise from institutional precedent, buildings or policy. Nor is it often known to arise from professional public servants. It arises from the courage of one humble heart after the other, and builds like an avalanche–in recognition of a task asking to be done by the time, the place and the circumstance. It starts with an individual’s bravery.
    I am sure that Adele Chynoweth is this person called forward to this task by time, place and circumstance, not someone who can be swapped out and the show go on. This is a highly unusual and gifted person–we recognize her! The good she has built up should not be left to fizzle away.
    Of course Adele does not aspire to being singled out or championed–precisely because she is just doing her job. It is not customary to see when the confluence of experience and the unencumbered mind are able to purely act from the circumstance of vision on a task that is executed with integrity one step at a time. Perhaps my view from the diaspora is more acute because, as Proust observed, we have to be out side the room to be able to tell of it.
    Perhaps it is only from the outside that Adele’s work can be seen to stand head and shoulders above those who lack the parameters of her understanding that I am afraid seems to be lacking in the written-in-stone acceptance of precedent and the responsibility to put the museum itself first as an entity, (though perfectly understandable and necessary), rather than its mandate to serve the spirit of the nation which is yearning to be free from the fetters of self-delusion. A nation that really does want equality but hitherto for has understood that to mean snipping off the heads of every tall poppy that comes along–especially (again I am talking from personal experience here) if that poppy is feminine.
    I believe that Dr. Adele Chynoweth is the particular public servant who, with great compassion, understanding and hard work, is most able to fully recognize OUR bold vision to be included in the nation body. And isn’t this what every museum worth its salt wishes for—a chance to go the extra mile and make history by meeting the needs of the time? Let’s be creative and see what can be done to retain Dr Chynoweth whose aptitude to shape and curate a venue for of those of us marginalized, ignored, forgotten, and unwanted for so long should be allowed to thrive.

  18. Hi, Racheal Romero,

    Re letter dated 17/9/11 time 2.51am.
    I agree with everything you said in regards to F.As need Dr. Adele Chynoweth to carry on with our plight and represent us. Reasons being Adele has got to know F.As either in person or by phone and letters, in that she would be our best teacher to educate society of life in Childrens Homes. F.As need someone that is not fake and believes and executes F.As experiences with conviction and passion as I would want it to be done.

    I believe there are two types of people, those that believe it was the childrens fault and the S.C.D did the right thing placing the rebellous into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment [probally because they had no where else to put them] and believe Psychiatrists did the right thing giving electric shock treatment for rebellion or bad behavour such as standing up to tyrannical authority or to people that hurt them.
    Or those that believe F.As had no human rights and understand FAs how they were in a systems of abuse, children parted from their families was psychological assult for a start to which some of their sibblings they have never met in person.

    I would like to point out children that rebelled to nuns/carers in the homes were devalued greatly, thus they were placed by the State Childrens Department into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment [ in moral danger with the mentally crinimally insane] or so they claimed ,but as they obviously needed gunea pigs and were used for psychiatric experiements such as Deep Sleep Therapy, electric shock treatment straight jackets drugging worse than zombies and sexual things took place with girls wittnesses stated.

    The persons that have been chosen to educate society on Life in Childrens Homes , will they go in detail that children were placed by the government into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment explaining what was done to them. I dont believe they want that information released to the public, I hope I am wrong.
    What was done to my sister in the asylum [ and many others] because of “adolescent rebellion” was cruel, sadastic and barabic and hurts , and anyone please explain how does one forgive for such action performed on children, there is no justification for what ps did to them.

    F.A had not human rights in those days and the girls that stood up to tyrannical authority it took a lot of intelligence and God given guts. If an adult is hurting a child the child responded by standing up to nuns/carers or abscondered from the orphanages that was the only thing they could of done.

  19. sad to read that all this is coming to an end i tried to have documents placed into the museum but unfortunally they won’t be placed in the exhibition, adele you have done a lot of great work here to now find out this is closing down is a tragic for all forgotten australians , child migrants , and stolen generation victims of childhood abuse whether we were in goverment childrens homes or church homes , the goverment and those of the churches still cover up about the crimes we suffered while under their care , im a real victim of daruk boys home windsor new south wales, 1976,1977,1978.
    I’m a victim who was sexually raped and sodimissed and assulted by 2 staff members who worked at daruk boys home windsor new south wales , and was assulted by other officers of this childrens home of which many other children were victims of assult , and rape, torture, slavery, placed in isolation cells, made to stand for up to 8 hours in one spot without moving , their is so so much more to write about this childrens home , of what was suffered by those who were their , the state of new south wales still cover up about daruk boys home windsor n.s.w if their was nothing to hide about this childrens home why has the state goverment not willing to show the log books of this childrens home of which shows the excursions from daruk to other childrens homes , or the outings on the river on cannoing trips to the hawksbury river and nepean river , or all the work allocations of where we children worked, and of where we children were made to dig trees out of the ground by the roots with maddocks, and that of dumping the tractor and truck and car tyres into 60 to 80 foot holes, of which this childrens home was making prophit from our slavery , their was only 2 job positions i never held at daruk boys home and they were the boiler house boy even though i had shoveled some coal , and that of store boy , they were the 2 kids who use to chase those who ran away and when they caught the run away child would belt them up until the officers came to them then the officers would give them another flogging , these are the stories that the goverment will not produce and we all can see and know why , because what we are telling is the truth , if it were not the truth the goverment would throw these log books open for the courts and the public if they had nothing to hide about victims just like myself , i would like for all the people who were in daruk boys home windsor n.s.w. who sighned confidentialality aggrements with the goverment to finally open the mouth up about daruk boys home n.s.w because those who signed these aggrements have stopped other victims of the same childrens home getting any justice, yes im real , my case file is still sitting at penrith police station waiting for other victims to come forward, i know many are dead now through suicde or have over dosed on drugs , or some are still to affraid to come out in the open to say what happend to them for fear it will destroy their life they have now, as it would cause either marriage break ups or faimly problems or some maybe still in and out of gaol, its nothing worse than a man coming out and saying he was a victim of rape as a child by a man , this is a fear with a man and why so many have not come forward because they feel they will be belittled or ridualculed by other men knowing they were raped by some bloke or blokes, i know their are other victims out their who suffered what i suffered in daruk boys home windsor n.s.w. and some even worse , i only wish they would come forward and help exspose daruk boys home for what it was , the haven for pedophile officers and abusive officers and those officers who just liked to assult the children ,

  20. Adele I am not very good at sending E. Mails so i wonder if you could give Dr Jay Auther a mesage. It will be alright for the media to use the photo of the Clontarf boys building the pool in any image they choose. The media should also know that the children worked under flash lights late into the nights while been driven by the brothers with sticks to work harder. The pool was not the only work site the boys worked on. Woe betide child who the brothers thought was not working hard enough they would be floged. Michael. O’ Donoghue.

  21. There is another scandal that has come out of St Andrews bording school Kataning WA. They are saying the pedaphile could be Australia’s worst and there are likely to be hundreds of boy victims. He has been found guilty of just few affences and they are trying to get other victims to come forward. Adele i will be very dissaponted to see the end of this Web Page. It has been an non biased and good theraph for us all. I have been inpressed by many of the woman hue have come out and have told their stories. The Child Migrants have been telling theirs stories for close on thrity years and with our counterparts the FA”S who were in the religous homes so it may seem that we are given too much atention. But you have to remember their is the historical value with the Child Migrants as there is with the Stolen Generation, we were both affected by the White Australian Policy. Michael.O’ Donoghue

  22. I was in parramatta girls home when I was 15 and pregnant, inside pregnancy was not seen as a condition and I remember vividly having to play softball at 8months pregnant and being hit with the ball! Parramatta was nortorious for being tough but it didn’t think about the lasting consequences it would have on the children who had been housed there.

  23. Lorraine there is no way they would of ever taken photo’s of everyday life in these childrens homes, these photo’s were publicity stunts to make it look like we were all happy and having a good time. I remember on a few occassions there were people who used to come to Nazareth House Ballarat and the nuns would take these people on a tour, I don’t know who they were, but the nuns must of known in advance they were coming because when we got up in the morning we had to change the canterpains and put these really nice ones on the bed then we would place a doll on the bed too. Once these visitors had left we would have to go upstairs to the dormitory and change it all back. One time I got caught hiding the doll under the mattress, the nun walked over and lifted the mattress up and pulled the doll out and placed it carefully in the box. She then came back and grabbed me by the hair and started to swing me around by the hair she suddenly let go and as I came down I hit my head on !
    the end of the bed, she then picked up a hairbrush and started belting me over the face and head with it, my face was so swollen Icouldn’t eat or talk properly for a few days I had lumps sticking out of my forehead and head as well and the night of this happening I couldn’t sleep because every way I turned my face and head would hurt. Funny you know that doll got better

  24. Vicki, their is a book you can get out of any library. It is called The Incnovenent Child and the author name is Sharon Crystal. Sharon was an inmate of both Parramatta and Hey institutions. Vicki welcome to the Web Page. Michael O’ Donoghue.

  25. Is it my good fortune for not being able to remember the things that happened to me while being in Glebe Shelter, Minda, Ormond x 2, Parramatta & Myee?
    Or did I block it out for a reason?

    My files say that I was always in the lower sections/unprivileged, which meant I was not co-operating with their guidelines, so what was the consequences for this?

    What ever the punishment was, it has caused me to push it so far back in my sub-conscience that I feel that I am the lucky one after reading the experiences of other Forgotten Australians.

    Thank you for giving the opportunity for others to share their actuality of there childhood experiences.

    My Poem

    Never let it happen again, the cruelty of a child
    All entrances are locked to my mind
    No entry will you find
    The locks and chains are securely on
    What memories of you are sparse
    For if the day that I remember
    Will be my daily curse.

  26. I am looking for any body that was in Kyle Bay Legacy Home & The Church of England Girls Home @ Carlingford during the 1960’s! My name was then Christine Blume & would appreciate any contact as I’m doing my Healing walk back to MySelf now. Thankyou 🙂

  27. this is an open letter to the Hon Jenny Macklin, MP,

    Dear Jenny Macklin, MP,
    Since the exhibition INSIDE: LIfe in Childrens’ Homes and Institutions is funded by the Dept. of Families and Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, can you please help us (the thousands of participants and followers of this initiative) see that Dr. Adele Chynoweth is retained for the life of the INSIDE show, or at least allowed to continue the exemplary (and internationally recognized) blog site she fostered so that it is not shut down (as planned) when the show opens November 16, but continues to give voice to Forgotten Australians as the exhibit travels around Australia through 2014.

    As you no doubt know, the National Museum of Australia was “loaned” Dr. Adele Chynoweth because of her constellation of expertise, experience and compassion to help set up this internationally recognized, ground-breaking blog site for the expression of “Forgotten Australians.” (FA’s) that shaped the exhibit, INSIDE: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions. Many FA’s feel that now is not the time to let her go and even more strongly that the exemplary Blog she fostered NOT be shut down and fossilized at the very moment the show begins. We (those of us without anyone to hear us for so long) need this blog as a place to be able to break our isolation, continue to process our experiences, and respond to the exhibit as part of the national dialog as the exhibit travels around Australia with continuity and strength and make history seamlessly.

    Adele has earned our trust. She is a highly unusual and gifted person–recognized by the thousands who frequent the blog she has set in place. The good she has built up should not be left to fizzle away. Many of us feel that her oversight and insights are necessary in order to fulfill the initial impulse that Kevin Rudd set in place in the highly unusual government mandate and underwriting to carry out this extremely sensitive and important task of providing a forum (the blog) to give voice to the experiences of a half a million people who have had their lives maimed by Australia’s child/racial, colonial policies, so as to educate and inform the public of the dust-under-the-national-rug. As you are aware, this was a rare moment of acknowledgement of the moral weight of testimony from a vulnerable and undefended segment of the population.

    NOW is the time and INSIDE blog site is the place and this gifted facilitator is the circumstance for Australians to begin to come to terms with past look-the-other-way-and-don’t-question policies and learn how the human rights of so many hundreds of thousands of children were ignored. Please help us keep the INSIDE blog alive!
    I believe that Dr. Adele Chynoweth is the particular public servant who, with great compassion, understanding and hard work, is most able to fully recognize OUR bold vision to be included in the nation body. And isn’t this what the Dept. of Families and Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs wished for—a chance to go the extra mile and make history by meeting the needs of the time? Let’s be creative and see what can be done to retain Dr Chynoweth whose aptitude to shape and curate this Blog as venue for of those of us marginalized, ignored, forgotten, and unwanted for so long should be allowed to thrive with and for us.
    Thank you in advance for your oversight,


    Rachael Romero,MA

  28. Even thou the Museum inside, Life in Children’s Homes has been a great thing and run by 2 lovely caring ladies, Adele and Jay, I feel that I have been dumped deliberately. I know some workers, who work for the government in different sections that hate what’s happened to us children, and don’t agree with what the government is doing now and back in the days when we were locked up but if they say how they really feel and how something should be done they will lose their jobs, sad hay.
    I have a 15 year old son and I can’t leave him as I have no one that can look after him. There are others who have cares and children who are in the museum as well. The Museum selected me and others to be present at the opening of the Museum on the 15 th of November and they will pay for my and their air fare and accommodation for two days..
    I have requested help for my son to come with me from the Forde Foundation and M.P. Jenny Macklin, etc. But there just running me round like they do to even the public. But so far lots have refuse to help me and they say because of limited funding. And that they had to say no to others who had careers or under age children with no one to look after them. What do they expect me to do with my son, neglect and abandon him for me to be at the Museum”, it looks like it. ? I am really p***ed off that they won’t help me. I can’t abandon or neglect my son as that is abuse. I feel they are abusing and neglecting me by not helping me with my circumstance. And hasn’t there been enough abuse thanks to our government. It’s not fair.
    The Museum is about the government trying to look good and make the public believe their sorry etc., with their sorry bit, and with doing this museum. But the government not sorry, there just words, where’s our free learning etc., the things we should have been tough when we were children and the things we need to learn now. And we should have compensation for being dumped in there and for what we went through and what we and our children and families are still going through now.
    Sometimes I feel the purpose of the Museum Life in Children’s Homes is a con on their part and it has just generated a few jobs for some selected people who are only told a limited amount of information, some of our poems and stories because they were too bloody and torture they weren’t allowed them on the site. Ok, children would see them that understandable. But how do the adults in the public see them on the museum. They can’t unless they go to you tube etc. . Anyone can put anything on you tube or Google. It’s not taking serest when it should be.
    These children especially the ones that were classified as uncontrollable or delinquents were sent to adult mental hospitals for the criminal mentally ill because of their behavior at psychiatrists request etc. , just so the government saved money on doing experiment on children with shock treatment, drug and behavior experiments.
    How many birth defects on F.As children that were in mental hospitals due to the drugs and electric shock treatments given that should never been given to children as young as 12 years old. The government is scared because they know we know how the government covered the whole picture of children being dumped and treated this way, for many decades. And we are still their Gunnies pigs they got our stories not only to tell the public but what they don’t tell the public is that how it was cover and what us children were doing there living with murders that they couldn’t handle in jail and other real mentally ill sick adults.
    Now this exhibition called inside is only going around Australia for 3 years after that nothing. See the government know what they are doing. If the pubic heard about the British being place in intuitions would they make a fuss and the forgotten Australia’s would they make a fuss maybe, but the Australia children being dumped into wards for the criminally mentally insane which 21 years of age was the starting age to be there and us children were 11, 12, 13 14, and 15 years of age getting raped bashed murdered and having shock treatment and treated and dragged worst lower than dirt, wouldn’t the public be wild and want to know why. And how can the government say we were there for punishment. Great punishment. It’s beyond me. I believe we should all stick together and fight together. Some of these organizations do nothing for us. What are they there for to look pretty or to make the government look pretty? The government a lot of the time waste they money. I am not coming to this party without a say or a fight. The only way they can stop me is kill me. And then knowing me, my spirit would take over. Ok.
    So far three of the drugs used on us children have been banded. Because of what they do to people let alone children. How sick and wrong.

  29. I received a phone call today from Keith Kelly and the news was not good . If anyone knows Keith he suffered in and extreme way at Mt Penang and Tamworth as well as Mittagong and some other institutions , Keiths biggest problem was he kept running away from horrific abuse and woulld often seek refuse by riunning to the only safe haven he new HOME .

    Keith was told today his claim for Victims Compensation was ——-DECLINED ———
    What can I say to Keith that will make any sense to him or me or all other FAs ——–

    ————————–NOTHING ————————————–

  30. Thanks Lawrie and Rhonda,
    I’d like to respond to your comments.

    It is an understatement to conclude that the lack of current justice is a huge part of this social history.

    The National Museum’s exhibition is open to the public in Canberra on 16 November 2011 until 26 February 2012. As part of the exhibition I understand the importance of letting visitors know, if they wish, how they can help Forgotten Australians to gain justice. How can we get active to right wrongs?

    I will investigate current campaigns. In addition, please feel free to let me know about what anyone can do to help. You may post your comments on this website or to my email address:

  31. I agree with Rhonda.

    The CHILDREN of Forgotten Australians are perhaps even more ‘forgotten’ in this current effort to raise awareness of the personal AND societal impact of the deindividualisation, dislocation, isolation and abuse perpetrated by hopelessly inadequate and uncaring systems and bureacracies across Australia upon hundreds of vulnerable, innocent children. It is a terrible shame that Jenny Macklin’s office refuses to acknowledge the impact on the children of these (now) adults who were so wounded by their experiences. The intergenerational impact can not, and should not be underestimated. Why is it then, that Jenny Macklin’s office refuses to support these young children to attend the opening of the exhibit that features their parents stories? In many cases, this hard line is preventing Forgotten Australians from attending themselves. Many Forgotten Australians remain isolated and disconnected from their families and communities, and don’t have the kind of informal, social support that many of us take for granted. They are still dealing with the aftermath of their experiences. This means that without support to take their children with them to Canberra to the opening, many are simply unable to come.

    As an Australian, this makes me feel terribly ashamed. After all that these adults have been through at the hands of Federal and State Government policies and systems, I should think that the cost of a few airfares for their children to attend the opening of the exhibit would be the least that we could do. It won’t make up for the losses these families of the Forgotten Australians have suffered, but it will give them the message that they too are important, and that their experiences as members of families that were torn apart long before they were born, are acknowledged. SHAME Jenny Macklin.

    Having said all that, IT IS NOT TOO LATE. I would like to respectfully request that on my behalf, and on behalf of all the other Australians across our ‘lucky’ nation who stand in support of the Forgotten Australians and their families, that you correct your oversight, and offer these families the opportunity to be together in Canberra as the exhibit is officially unveiled.


  32. i can only hope that Ms Macklin the head of FaHCSIA , will not allow this to happen by having this closed , as their are still many people out their who are not aware of this site and i feel it is a important part of our history that this continues not only for the forgotten australians but for those of the australian public who will be able to see and be able to comett , to the stories that everyone has put in here , its so sad to know the goverment starts something then pull it down from underneath our very own feet , we are being swept under that goverment carpet again , and until the goverment charge all the perpertrators who did these crimes non of us forgotten australians will ever be able to have closure or move forward the and be able to go on and live a normal life without having this suffering that we carry everyday wake up Ms Macklin and see the big picture we are real human beings , still being treated the same as if we were in the childrens homes under goverment control because you deny to charge these abusers who have done these crimes to those of us who were in these childrens homes through out this country of australia, by protecting the abusers still to this day

  33. Thanks so much for your support of the website Michael.

    Please be assured that while there will be no more comments or postings on the site after November 16, 2011, the website will remain online so that all the stories and comments that have been uploaded will still be able to be accessed by anyone who logs on.

  34. I am a Canadian Sociologist (and former therapist) who is researching and writing about the Magdalene experience. I am heartened by the presence of this blog, I follow it with interest and compassion, and I cannot understand why such a long awaited and vital source of support should be closed. Those institutionalized as children have waited their entire lives to find significant connections and understandings tied to their experiences of abuse and incarceration. This site offers them that. It seems to me that keeping this going is the very least the Government can do if they are at all serious about supporting the people they have wounded so deeply. I commend Adele on her outstanding contributions here and with the exhibit and call upon the Government to keep this site alive. Other countries are watching Australia. Please honour the people you once so betrayed so completely.

  35. Isn,t it strange? Human God Police reprimanding China and the Middle East on human rights. Are we not human beings in this the lucky country? What about our human rights?
    Gillard wants to return the budget to the black side of the ledger, wants to sell uranium to India, pays millions in care and court costs for the asylum seekers, intervenes in the Bali Boy incident but never a word for us. It did not take Macklin long to recind our funding for this site, recind dental and medical in some states and ignore us nationally. Rudd said we would be The Remembered Australians and we ate it up, the ill, the old, the needy. Well a lesson has been learnt here, it is not to trust any politicans rhetoric, spin and bull. Why should they care when all they need is our vote for them to keep their jobs and that is all it is. It is about furthering themselves. Empty vessels making sounds to appease. None will get my vote, I”ll pay the fine, and leave it to the more gullible in society to make the choice of which liars and low characters they will have lead them.

  36. Bye all, let us all go out with Dignity. Macklin has already scrapped it. The budget to surplus is the name of the game and we the inconvienient truth. Let the once Labor Party of the people join the conservative ranks of the other weak opportunistic employees of the people. Politicians are theorists, they do not get down and get dirty, they talk crap and we eat it. They take care of the dollars. Our dollars by the way. Our paid taxes and their paid wages. Keep fighting the good fight against the abuse of children, it sure is a lifelong agony.

  37. As a parting comment, I would like to thank all those people responsible for this exhibition. Nothing can take away the memories I have of my incarceration, the effort it took for me to educate myself after I was discharged from the home, the impact the years spent in this home has had on me and people who have been close to me. I could go on…so many repercussions. But as I sit tonight, a long way away from the institution, in another country, I am reading what has been said about me and others who suffered as I did. I am understanding that people see what we went through as shocking, and this gives me a sense of validation and peace. To many of us living through the hell of all this, it seemed normal at the time, it was all we knew…

    Thank you Adele and Karolina. Janice.

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