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Western Australia - Archival Item

Joanna Penglase interviewed by Susan Marsden in the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project (2010)

Reference No
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National Library of Australia Bib ID

[From the National Library of Australia's Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project]

Joanna Penglase talks about her parents, siblings and family background; the collapse of parents' marriage; being placed into a Children's Home (1944) in Sydney when aged 8 months with her 2 year old sister; the Children's Home move to Palm Beach; the fate of her brother; the children in care and why they were there, payments; mother's visits, her employment; Joanna and sister being treated differently; her schooling and love of books; community and friends; Child Welfare Department, Inspectors; the Home and surroundings; visits and outings with mother; food; children adapting to abusive situations; her relationship with brother; medical care, childhood illnesses; the emotional stress and atmosphere; the abuse of children by men and women; studying at University of Sydney (1962-65); the liberating effect of university; leaving the Home; studying psychology; working as Research assistant; the ongoing effects of the Home; searching for personal records; encounters with former inmates of the Home; personal relationships in adult life; her Social Work degree, going onto her MA thesis on N.S.W. Dept of Child Welfare and her PhD in Sociology at Macquarie University, her thesis and book 'Orphans of the Living'.

Penglase discusses State inquiries in N.S.W. and Qld. (Forde Inquiry); the setting up Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN); punitive and illegal conditions in Homes, child labour, lack of education; recording the stories; CLAN newsletters; financial supporters; setting up Senate Inquiry into Forgotten Australians; Andrew Murray; the recommendation for National Apology; the long-term consequences of 'care'; her career from 1968 onwards; the origins N.S.W. Historical Abuse Network (HAN); N.S.W. Child Welfare Act 1939; administrations of Homes, N.S.W. Homes; attitudes to children in 'care'; fostering in N.S.W.; the National Apology; Leonie Sheedy; Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull; the day of the Apology; changes in public attitudes since formation of CLAN; the changes announced by PM Rudd; state apologies, Victoria and N.S.W; setting up Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFFA), member bodies and individuals in AFFA; common attitudes to children, adults abusing power, systemic abuse of Aborigines and children; her work for Jane Austen Society and other current activities; the future; CLAN's 10th anniversary; forthcoming SBS documentary on Forgotten Australians; redress and support schemes; ageing of care leavers.

Related Organisations



  • Penglase, Joanna, Orphans of the Living: Growing Up in 'Care' in Twentieth-Century Australia, 2nd edn, Fremantle Press, North Fremantle, 2007. Details

Prepared by: Debra Rosser