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Inside: Life Inside Children's Homes and Institutions

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by Denise H-C (subscribe)
Freelance writer with a BA double majoring in Literature and Australian History who loves finding random places of social or historical treasure whilst travelling around visiting festivals, markets and quaint cafes with my husband and baby
Event: -
Pay tribute to these poor children and the crimes they faced
Qld Museum, Inside: life inside children's homes


Running at the Queensland Museum until 17 November 2014, Inside: Life inside Children's Homes and Institutions explores the sad and hidden lives caused by growing up in children's homes, orphanages and institutions in Australia from the mid-20th century.

Institutional care has been a blight on the history of Australia for nearly a century. Australian children, as well as children who came from the United Kingdom, were forced into orphanage living, many of whom had families out there. The sad truth of the people who grew up in institutional living was a silent fight, discussed in hushed whispers behind closed doors, but never recognised by society.

During the 60 years from the 1920's to the 1980's, over 500,000 children spent a portion of their childhood in orphanages, children's homes and institutional care, some poor souls spend their entire childhood in this care.

In the interests of full disclosure, it is true that many of the caregivers in these institutions did their best, and they did what they felt was right. However, it is also true that many of them were hard people, without love or feeling. Worse still, were the caregivers, religious persons or teachers who abused the children, mentally or sexually or both.

Children ended up in these homes for many reasons, including removal by the state and being surrendered by families unable to manage in a time of inadequate social services or welfare support. Sadly, lots of these children were taken from single mothers or families who were struggling, at a time when they were most vulnerable, and their families spent years trying to find them. Some still haven't been reunited.

The treatment these poor children received often affected their entire lives.

There were around 5.5 million people in Australian in the 1920's and that number rose to over 13.5 million in 1980. When you consider that these institutions affected over 500,000 children, then you realise how much these homes have stamped their imprint on Australia's history.

Inside: Life inside Children's Homes and Institutions depicts the moving, life changing stories of these individuals and their families, through their memories, documents, photos and possessions.

This exhibition is by the National Museum of Australia External and supported by the Department of Social Services.

WARNING: This exhibition contains confronting and disturbing content, and names and images of deceased people. It may not be suitable for children under 15 years.

Inside: Life inside Children's Homes and Institutions is located on Level 4 of the Queensland Museum. The admission is free.
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Why? Pay tribute to this important part of Australia's history
When: 9 August to 17 November 2014
Where: Queensland Museum, Southbank, Brisbane
Cost: Free admission
Your Comment
Thank you for your article I would love to go and have a look
by schal (score: 2|155) 1862 days ago
Bless you for having the compassion and courage to alert people to this exhibition. I won't be going since I, unfortunately, (now 53) was a child in one of a children's home for crippled children at Cooparoo - I am still traumatised by memories of those years. One can forgive but the subconscious does not always allow us to forget. Thank you for alerting the public of the potential to read unsuitable material for those under 15 years of age. Sadly, for those in such places, our childhood was more a memory of our tears salting our tongues then of being able to know the taste of joyous innocence. Please keep writing!
by mjm13 (score: 0|5) 1860 days ago
Don't forget, CLAN are a struggling community group doing their best to mop up the pieces for all the broken children these institutions have left behind. Please support them, the whole fabric of Australian culture has been affected by these awful crimes.
by srm64 (score: 0|3) 1857 days ago
Thank you for your kind comments, it is a privilege to be able to bring people's attention to this moving exhibition.
by Denise H-C (score: 2|159) 1859 days ago
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