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This web resource would not exist at all were it not for the hundreds of people who have had the courage to tell their stories. The childhood experiences of Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants were until recently a hidden and unknown part of Australia’s history. Because of the bravery and the commitment of many individuals and organisations to get this chapter of the past onto the historical record, today, we can hear the stories of hundreds of people – they have been captured in the submissions made to public inquiries, in oral history interviews, in memoirs, in museum exhibitions, in academic literature.
In the ‘Forgotten Australians’ report (2004), the Senate stressed how important it was for these voices to be heard, even though what they have to say is often very painful:
[these stories] must be acknowledged and addressed in a decisive and resolute fashion; that these events happened, that the care leavers were not to blame, that theirs is not a background of shame, that they should be recognised and understood as having had a childhood full of emotional and social deprivation.
We acknowledge the experiences of all Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, and we thank those who have told their stories so that this chapter of Australia’s history can be better understood.
The Find & Connect web resource team acknowledges the groundbreaking past work of people and organisations to research and compile vital information about the history of child welfare in Australia and the whereabouts of archival records. This website would not have been possible without the following key resources, which were integral to the development of Find & Connect.
- “A piece of the story” – National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission & Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, 1999. Available online at: http://www.cssa.org.au/storage/A%20Piece%20of%20the%20Story.pdf
- Boyce, James, For the record: background information on the work of the Anglican Church with Aboriginal children and directory of Anglican agencies providing residential care to children from 1830 to 1980, Anglicare Australia, Melbourne, 2003
- Care Leavers of Australasia Network (CLAN), ‘Homes and orphanages’. Available online at: http://www.clan.org.au/homes/
- Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children’s institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. Available online at: http://www.clan.org.au/perch/resources/missingpieces.pdf
- Finding Your Story: a resource manual to the records of the Stolen Generations, Public Record Office Victoria, 2005. Available online at: http://prov.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Finding_your_story
- George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005.
- Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, Perth, 2004. Available online at: http://www.dcp.wa.gov.au/SupportingIndividualsAndFamilies/Documents/Signposts DCD.pdf
- Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998. Available online at: http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/319256/connectkin_guide.pdf