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National Apology

On the 16th of November 2009, with support from Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued a national apology. This apology was addressed to all Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants. The apology was made in Canberra to an audience of Forgotten Australians and broadcast across the country8.

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day has been an annual event since 1999, where Australians come together to remember and acknowledge those who are survivors of childhood abuse while being under the church or state care and the mistreatment that they lived through in these homes.

UK Apology

On the 24th of February 2010, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, along with the Opposition leader David Cameron, issued an apology on behalf of the entire nation for the Child Migrant Schemes and the ongoing effects of this scheme10.

Child Abuse Memorial Statue

This statue was organised by the Historical Abuse Network and Survivors of Institutional Child Abuse organisations with funding from the QLD Government. The bronze statue sculpted by Gavan Fenelon was unveiled on 1 December 2004 and is dedicated to all the children who suffered or did not survive abuse in institutions within Queensland9.

Child Abuse Memorial Statue

New South Wales Memorial 

The New South Wales (NSW) Government held a healing service in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on 19 September 2009 for Care Leavers. There were more than 700 people who grew up in children’s homes, institutions and orphanages who were able to attend the ceremony. The ceremony included the presenting of a memorial in the gardens to commemorate the experiences of Forgotten Australians. The memorial is a stone plinth at the Twin Ponds site in the Royal Botanic Gardens. 

The inscription on the memorial reads:

For Forgotten Australians - In this place, we remember the many thousands of NSW children who grew up in care in the decades leading up to the 1990s – in orphanages, in Children’s Homes and foster homes, in institutions. We remember the lonely, the frightened, the lost, the abused – those who never knew the joy of a loving family, who suffered too often at the hands of a system meant to provide for their safety and wellbeing. We rejoice in their courage and strength.  This corner of the Gardens is dedicated to their memory. Erected by the Australian and NSW Governments.

New South Wales memorial
Victorian memorial

South Australia Memorial 

A memorial for the Forgotten Australians in South Australia was unveiled on 17 June 2010 at Peace Park at the corner of Sir Edwin Smith Avenue and Brougham Place. The monument consists of four large stainless-steel daises each in a different state of blooming, as a symbol of hope and healing for children who suffered abuse in out-of-home care. The memorial was unveiled by several Forgotten Australians, with nearly 200 Care Leavers in attendance. 

The inscription on the memorial reads - In honour of children who suffered abuse in institutional and out of home care. We have grown though awareness and unity. We celebrate our courage, strength and resilience. We are no longer forgotten. Dedicated to the future protection and nurturing of all children. The Hon Gail Gago MLC officiated at the ceremony on behalf of the Minister for Families and Communities.

Victoria Memorial 

The Victorian memorial for Forgotten Australians was unveiled on 25 October 2010 at Southbank Promenade, next to the river. The monument recognises al Victorian Forgotten Australians who spent time in orphanages, children’s homes or foster care as children. It is a lasting memorial of the experience of care leavers. 

The plaque that accompanies the monument reads:

World within, world without (2010) by Helen Bodycomb - This artwork reflects the constellations above Victoria at 11am on 16 November 2009, when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made his national apology to the ’Forgotten Australians’. Wattle blossoms represent the one thousand most visible stars and planets, one for everyone hundred children who were in Victorian state care. Here we remember those thousands of children who were separated from their families and grew up or spent time in Victorian orphanages, children’s homes and foster homes last century. Many were frightened, abused and neglected. We acknowledge the many shattered lives and the courage and strength of those who survived. Unveiled 25th October 2010 and developed with the support of the Australian and Victorian Governments and the City of Melbourne”.

Victorian memorial
Western Australian memorial

Western Australia Memorial 

The memorial for Western Australian Forgotten Australians was held on 10 December 2010 and stands on the grassed area in front of the Western Australian Museum’s Jubilee Building, Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Perth. The memorial titled ‘Unfolding Lives (Chatterbox)’ was created by local artist Judith Forrest and was modelled on a children’s fortune telling game made of folded paper, it shows the lines as if from an old exercise book, and the corners and flaps bear the words of Forgotten Australians themselves about their experiences and their present situations. 

The inscription on the memorial reads:

This memorial is jointly funded by the Western Australian and Commonwealth Governments and is dedicated to all Western Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home ‘care’ as children. This memorial brings the “Forgotten Australians” out of the shadows and into the light.  Their most enduring legacy will be that the people now and, in the future, will know their stories and build upon them a platform for better care. There is a strong thread that links the way a child is raised with the person they become in adulthood.  This memorial stands as a reminder of that thread to all who create policies that affect children.

Western Australia Memorial 

On 8 May 2023, a rededication ceremony of the Western Australian Memorial for Forgotten Australians was hosted by Tuart Place in collaboration with Government of Western Australia, Department of Justice. 

Forward from Dr Phillipa White, Director, Tuart Place: 

Place is important.  When the Unfolding Lives memorial was placed outside the old museum in 2010, many Care Leavers were surprised and heartened to see it in such a prominent location, where it would be seen by many passers-by.  The positioning was seen as a mark of respect; a signal that those in authority did not want Care Leavers’ histories to be hidden or forgotten.

In 2020, when asked about the reinstatement of their memorial, the overwhelming wish expressed by the Care Leavers was for it to be returned to the same place.  Negotiating the obstacles took some time, but thanks to the perseverance and commitment of a community of people who care about ‘The Chatterbox’, it once again stands in a prominent place – outside the Boola Bardip Museum.

Care Leaver advocate Mark Farmer guided this project to success, alongside artist and sculptor Judith Forrest – to whom this is obviously more than just another artwork.  Thank you to Commissioner Kati Kraszlan, Michael Martin, and members of their team; to the Departments of Justice and Communities for their collaborative work, and, most of all, thank you to the many Care Leavers who generously contributed their time and efforts to this cause. 

Western Australian memorial with forgotten australians around it

Tasmania Memorial 

The memorial for the Forgotten Australians in Tasmania is the rose walk in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart. The rose walk was dedicated by Lin Thorpe MLC, Minister for Human Services. 

The inscription on the memorial reads:

In recognition of those who experienced out of home care as children

The Forgotten Australians

In remembrance of those children who languished in institutional care. To those who succumbed to harsh punishments meted out by a severe system, we remember you. To those who overcame such experiences, we acknowledge your courage and your determination to have your story told.

"The Forgotten Australians"

Tasmanian memorial
tasmanian memorial

Tasmania Memorial 

A second memorial for Tasmanian Forgotten Australians was unveiled on 18 September 2017 and is located in the Rosny Park Golf Course, where people can sit, reflect, remember and grieve. 

The inscription on the sign reads:

Forgotten Australians Tasmania - In memory of all that suffered while in care in Tasmanian institutions and out of home care.

Proudly sponsored by Alliance for Forgotten Australians

The memorial sign was funded by the Australian Government through the Find & Connect Program and supported by Rosny Park Golf YMCA.

Northern Territory Memorial 

The memorial for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants in Darwin was unveiled on 16 November 2017, which coincided with the 8th anniversary of the National Apology to Forgotten Australians. 

The Acknowledgement Seat was completed by the join initiative of Relationships Australia Northern Territory, the City of Darwin and the Alliance for Forgotten Australians.

The inscription on the plaque reads:

In acknowledgement of Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. In honour of the children who suffered abuse and neglect in institutional and out-of-home 'care'. This seat acknowledges the experiences you endured and offers a place for affirmation, remembrance and reflection.

Northern territory memorial plaque

Northern Territory Memorial 

The second Acknowledgement Seat for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants is placed in Alice Springs and was unveiled on the same day as the memorial in Darwin, Northern Territory. 

The inscription on the plaque reads:

In acknowledgement of Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. In honour of the children who suffered abuse and neglect in institutional and out-of-home 'care'. This seat acknowledges the experiences you endured and offers a place for affirmation, remembrance and reflection. 

northern territory memorial plaque
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