New Contexts in Australian Public History: Australia's Institutionalised and Incarcerated

Australian Scholarly Publishing
Publication Type:
Silent System Forgotten Australians and the Institutionalisation of Women and Children, 2014, pp. ix - xiv
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During the twentieth century in Australia, more than half-a-million children grew up in 'out-of-home' care in over 800 institutions, including children's homes, foster homes, industrial schools and orphanages, a regime of mass institutionalisation which was sanctioned by legislation and administered by either the st.ate or by non-government bodies such as churches and welfare groups. Around 7000 children were child migrants from Britain, Ireland and Malta, up to 50,000 were Indigenous 'Stolen' children and more than 450,000 non-Indigenous children. Given a context of new social movements, in particular reconciliation, Indigenous children were the first group to have the injustices and abuses they suffered officially recognized by the federal government. This was acknowledged in the 1997 Australian Human Rights Commission's Bringing 7hem Home report on the Stolen children. During the same period, other had begun to agitate for similar recognition. This subsequently led to a number of Senate inquiries, each of which produced damning reports about the treatment of children in out-of-home care. The first was Lost Innocents: Righting the Record: Report on Child Migration (2001). Next, in 2004, came Forgotten Australians: A Report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-ofhome care as children. Lost Innocents and Forgotten Au.stralians Revisited was published in 2009. On 16 November that year, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd officially apologized to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants 'in Parliament House, Canberra. Some state governments and institutions were to also apologize. And there was much to apologize about.
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