Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Stories of lost childhoods uncovered

An exhibition unveiling the lost childhoods of the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants will today be officially opened by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin.

The opening comes on the eve of the second anniversary of the Australian Government’s National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

The National Museum of Australia exhibition – Inside. Life in children’s homes and institutions – tells the stories of the estimated 500,000 Forgotten Australians and 7,000 Former Child Migrants, who were in institutional care in Australia last century.

It sheds light on the true reality of life inside those institutions.

Many of the children whose stories are told in this exhibition were deprived of the love, warmth and affection they deserved.

These brutal and harrowing stories of childhoods betrayed have remained untold for too long, and I congratulate the National Museum and thank all the survivors who shared their experiences for this exhibition.

This exhibition will make certain that the stories of the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants will be heard and not forgotten.

The exhibition will run at the National Museum from 16 November 2011 until 26 February 2012. It is expected that the exhibition will tour to other museums next year.

The Australian Government provided $1.2 million for the exhibition at the National Museum. This exhibition is complemented by a $1.6 million investment in an oral history project to record the stories of Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants managed by the National Library of Australia. The oral history project will be completed by the end of next year.

To mark the second anniversary of the national apology, Ms Macklin also launched the new Find and Connect web resource that helps care leavers find records held by past care providers and government agencies. The Find and Connect web resource is now available online at

The web resource is part of the national $26.5 million Find and Connect service which will help care leavers locate their personal files, piece together their past and, where possible, reunite with family members.

The Find and Connect services, and national history projects, were part of the Australian Government’s 2009 National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants for the neglect and mistreatment they experienced in institutional and other forms of out of home care last century.