Forgotten Australians, memories, photos

St Vincent’s Westmead #2

by Graham Evans (guest author) on 23 September, 2011

Graham Evans shares a photograph of the St Vincent’s choir in 1962. Graham is standing at the far left of the front row. Graham’s role in the choir was lead singer (ensuring that all the boys stayed in tune) and drummer.

Photograph of boys in uniform with band in the foreground

documents, Forgotten Australians, memories, objects, photography

The cross was a knife for us

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 9 April, 2011

Award-winning film maker and visual artist, Rachael Romero, writes about the image of the knife that was used in a theatre production at the Pines (Convent of the Good Shepherd).

Rachael explains:

Imagery speaks to memory. Artifacts resonate meaning. In the Pines, (Convent of the Good Shepherd) year of 1968 we used this wooden knife in a play held as a charade for Welfare (as if we were provided for culturally). Never mind that there were hardly any books available; newspapers to read, radios to hear or any news crossing the barbed wire fences of our laundry prison.  We were told to offer up our suffering for the saving of souls. I see this knife as a kind of Magdalene  cross we were nailed to. After-all we were stigmatized and a regular cross would have been blasphemy. The knife was also the image of choice  for  home-made tattoo in the Pines;  crudely drawn into cuts on the  the leg in Indian ink–a form of self injury to reify the agony we felt .

I photographed the second image of my feet “on the cross” eighteen months after I got out. At sixteen–this is how I felt– crucified, but not redeemed from the extra judicial incarceration I had experienced. I had no-one to tell. Everyone looked away, pretended nothing had happened.We have only just begun to break this terrible silence in  “the lucky country” so that other unwanted children will cease to be so savaged.

The knife was used as a prop for the production of HMS Pinafore (image of the programme below), performed by inmates from the Pines. Rachael recalls:

It was directed by Mother Lourdes I believe. I made the drawing and did the scenery and sang in the chorus. I don’t remember much about it except that I was always glad to make art instead of working in the laundry.

The welfare workers, priest and family members were invited. It was all a big show to look as if we were being cared for.After the performance  the priest requested that my blonde curls be shaved and presented to him. I refused.

art, Forgotten Australians, theatre


by Wings for Survivors (guest author) on 7 March, 2011

Alchemy Theatre’s production of Sanctuary, written by Chris Dickens and directed by Deeanne Clapton is touring Victoria this month. Sanctuary creates an opportunity to continue the conversations about our institutional history and the development of our national character.

The tour is proudly supported by the CAFS Heritage Program Ballarat, the Department of Human Services Grampians Region and the Helen McPherson Smith Trust.

Alchemny Theatre – Sanctuary
Child Migrants, film, memories

Oranges and Sunshine

by Adele on 17 January, 2011

Emily Watson, Oranges and Sunshine

Oranges and Sunshine, a film produced in 2010 and directed by Jim Loach, tells the story of Margaret Humphreys who brought public awareness to the British child migration scheme and who later established the Child Migrants Trust.

Director Jim Loach and lead actor Emily Watson talk about their involvement in the film:

art, Forgotten Australians, Stolen Generations, theatre

The Fence – a portrait of love, belonging and dispossession

by Adele on 15 December, 2009

Coming up in January in Sydney – live theatre performance of The Fence, a story close to the hearts of Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations. Here’s the announcement from Urban Theatre Projects:

Urban Theatre Projects and Sydney Festival 2010 present


A portrait of love, belonging and dispossession.

The story takes place in the family home of Mel and Joy in Sydney’s western suburbs. It investigates the resilience and wisdom of five middle-aged Australians, four of whom grew up in care as part of the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations.

The audience will be seated in the backyard of a purpose-built house on-site in Parramatta, The Fence is the latest site-specific work from Urban Theatre Projects created in public dialogue with communities.

In developing The Fence, Urban Theatre Projects Artistic Director Alicia Talbot and cast spent have been working with 25 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian men and women who, like the characters, have had experiences of growing up in orphanages, foster homes and welfare institutions. Alicia acknowledges the community consultants as experts and together they have engaged in open dialogue that has informed the development of The Fence.

Community partners include Alliance Forgotten Australians, Stolen Generations Alliance, Origins HARP, Mens Shed – Emerton, Parra Girls, CLAN & Link-Up.

The Fence season runs from 14 to 30 January 2010 at 8.30pm as part of the Sydney Festival.

For more information, see the Urban Theatre Projects page about The Fence.