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  • Open
  • Free general admission

This website uses words, photos and objects from people who spent time growing up in children’s homes, orphanages and other ‘care’ institutions.

These pages feature personal contributions to the National Museum of Australia’s Inside exhibition. They tell only a small part of each person’s story.

Hughie McConnell

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'We made our own canoes out of corrugated iron … and had lots of fun playing ‘Broadside’ where you would use your own canoe to sink others. I would giggle with delight and yell ‘There goes the Titanic!’, attributed to 'Hughie McConnell, Clontarf Boys Town, Waterford, Western Australia, 1950s'.

Douglas Mann

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'Hunger pains were always with us ... I used to always offer to do the dishes so that I could scrape the pots and eat the scraps', attributed to 'Douglas Mann, Parkerville Children’s Home, Parkerville, Western Australia, 1950s, 'Orphans of the Living', by Joanna Penglase, 2005'.

Peter Martin

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'I went to one of the kids from schools place to have a meal, he had parents. His mother asked me what I would like to eat and I just cried, never in my life had someone asked me what I would like to eat', attributed to 'Peter Martin, St Vincent’s Home, South Melbourne, Victoria, 1960s'.

Mary Mason

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'Somebody must know something about me', attributed to 'Mary Mason, 'Telegraph', UK, 25 February 2010'.

Maria Monaghan

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'It was a safe place for me. [Before that] I was in Wilson [Youth Hospital] ... Kedron Lodge was my first happy place', attributed to 'Maria Monaghan, Kedron Lodge, Kalinga, Queensland, 1970s'.

Mary Owen

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'You ate and slept with 60 other kids; there was no privacy and no choice', attributed to 'Mary Owen, St Brigid’s Girls Home, Ryde, New South Wales, 1960s, 'Orphans of the Living', by Joanna Penglase, 2005'.

Nigel Owen

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'When I was five years old, I was trafficked to Australia for four years along with my brother and sister. I had no idea even where Australia was’, attributed to 'Nigel Owen, 2011'.

Anna Phillips

Exhibition graphic panel that reads: 'Once a week we were allowed to watch 'Hawaii Five-O' with a cup of watery hot chocolate and one scotch finger biscuit. I don’t think they liked us very much. The Home was next to a golf course and I used to collect golf balls and golf tees just to get away from everything. I had over 300 golf tees when I left', attributed to 'Anna Phillips, Tresca, Fairbridge Home, Exeter, Tasmania, 1960s'.

Warren Porter

A sketch showing a man standing, lashing a naked boy who leans on a table. The boy has red weals across his back and red drops of blood lie on the floor underneath. The man says 'I'll teach you not to p__s off you low life good for nothing snake in the grass' The boy says 'Oh no sir, not another forty lashings'.
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