Forgotten Australians, music

Dreary old world

by Buddy Williams (guest author) on 6 April, 2011

Australian country singer, Harold “Buddy” Williams (1918 – 1986) was born in Sydney and was placed in Glebe Point Orphanage. He tried to escape many times and was eventually fostered out to a farming family in Dorrigo, NSW. It soon became apparent to him that the foster care arrangement was a means for the family to secure his unpaid labour. At the age of 15, Buddy ran away from his foster family and took up a series of jobs including busking along the north coast of NSW. When he later arrived in Sydney, he successfully auditioned for EMI and secured a recording contract.

You can access his recording of Dreary Old World here at YouTube.

And the joy of this world, when you sum it all up, is found in the making of friends.

documents, Forgotten Australians, memories

Graham John Davis 1946 – 1974

by Warren Porter (guest author) on 5 April, 2011

Following on from his autobiography, A Tormented Life, Warren Porter writes the story of his deceased brother, Graham Davis. Warren writes about their abusive stepfather, how Graham was sent to Westbrook Farm Home in 1961 and police violence. Warren argues the case for a Royal Commission into the treatment of children in Australian institutions.

Warren mentions several locations in the south side of Brisbane including “the Gabber (the Five Ways)” which refers to the then layout of the railway yards in the suburb of Woolloongabba.

Download Warren’s account of his brother’s history: Graham John Davis 12.3.1946 – 23.10.1974 (PDF 7mb)

events, Forgotten Australians, memories

Making memories – for life

by Julie Forrest (guest author) on 10 March, 2011

Julie Forrest, the daughter of an orphanage survivor, is holding a function to honour her mother and her friends from the Home.

Any other WA former residents of Homes are invited to attend. Julie says:

Come and join in celebrating the good thing about being in these orphanages etc, which are the lifelong friendships that have been formed and that they survived and have each other to lean on. We are celebrating and not dwelling,

but we are acknowledging and validating what has happened.

 

Poster advertising an event called 'Making memories'
Poster advertising an event called ‘Making memories’
documents, Forgotten Australians, memories, objects

Holy cards

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 10 March, 2011

Rachael Romero who was sent to the The Pines, Plympton, SA, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, recalls the importnace of holy cards:

Holy cards were currency -emotional currency–in a place where expressions of contempt are the norm; where you can’t trust anyone because of co-ersion and it is unwise to share secrets, the holy cards where a sanctioned (because purified) way of showing loyalty and caring between people–to say what otherwise may not be said–to give each other courage. We weren’t allowed to speak more than an hour a day–otherwise we were in silence and the thundering noise of the Laundry Mangle or being raved at by the head nun as we ate the rotten food. Allways watched, we could buy the cards for pennies from the nuns and sometimes we were given them as gifts. We could not pass notes or letters unless the nuns read them first but the holy card was ok. It carried our “voice” however coded, however muffled.

They were given on Feast Days and Birthdays because we had no other gifts. We got 20c every week towards buying our own shampoo, soap, tooth paste–and holy cards, from the nuns.

Holy Card, The Pines
Holy Card, The Pines
Holy Card, The Pines
art, Forgotten Australians, memories, painting, Stolen Generations

Escape and Blood Sisters

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 16 February, 2011

Rachael Romero shares two of her paintings which depict experiences at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, ‘The Pines’, Plympton, South Australia.

Frederica’s Escape Attempt
mixed media on rag paper (ink, watercolour) 22 x 30″, copy right Rachael Romero, 1984

Freddie tried to rush up the wall over the barbed wire one night. The dogs were barking on the other side. We were all wishing her up and over and out, but of course she got dragged back.

She would keep trying.

Blood Sisters
mixed media on rag paper (ink, watercolor) 22 x 30″, copyright Rachael Romero, 1984

Me and Lilly did this because we felt we had become sisters in horror. Lilly had been taken from her mother to a mission then The Pines. She didn’t remember where she was from. I didn’t want to be from where I remembered.

documents, Forgotten Australians, memories, objects

Don’t let me catch you back here

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 14 February, 2011

A fellow resident gave Rachael this holy card  on her leaving The Pines.

Holy card depicting Mary and Jesus
Mary and Jesus

The message reads:

To dearest Rachael,

I am sorry to see you go.

I hope you make the most of everything, and that all goes well for you.
Wish things were a little better in the family situation, and for God’s sake don’t let me catch you back here.

All the best,
your friend

……… x

P.S. I hope you pass Inter[mediate], and go on to get good grades in Leaving.

As soon as I get out I will contact you, and I will come over and have some ‘Brandied Bananas’.