You are in site section: Exhibitions

Outside the gates

Inside: Life in Children's Homes and Institutions

WARNING: This website contains confronting and disturbing content, and names and images of deceased people. It may not be suitable for children under 15 years. Many of the historical images show an official, sanitised view which did not reflect reality. The faces of some adolescents have been blurred to protect privacy.


Outside the gates

A battered blue suitcase.

Some children lived all their childhood in the Homes. Others only spent some of their childhood there.

However, when children reached the age at which the state was no longer responsible for them, they were obliged to leave the Home. It may have been the only one they knew.

What was it like for those socialised differently from the majority of the community to make a life 'outside'?

'I've longed to belong to a family ...'

Exhibtion graphic of black handwritten text on a beige background reads 'This is Spring in my garden. I love my garden. It is a source of great pleasure and an outlet for creativity. I have always trusted the seasons, perhaps more so than people. Seasons are reliable, a sense of the constant in a chaotic world for me. My world is not so chaotic now-days', attributed to 'Janice Konstantindis, 2011'.

'Life in Bloom' slideshow by Janice Konstantinidis

This Life in Bloom 'Smilebox' was created by Janice Konstantinidis in spring 2011, about her garden in California, America. Janice spent almost four years in the 1960s at Mount St Canice in Hobart, Tasmania, where the Sisters of the Good Shepherd ran a laundry. Courtesy Janice Konstantinidis and Smilebox.

Audio: 'A severed life' poetry reading by Rachael Romero

audio_w15 Hear Rachael Romero read her poem, 'A severed life

The poem recalls Rachael's experiences at the Convent of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Plympton, South Australia, in the 1960s.

Recorded in 2010 by the National Museum of Australia
Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Read a transcript of Rachael's poem