Support for Forgotten Australians
The term Forgotten Australians was first coined in 2004 by the Australian Government’s Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs to refer to people who experienced institutional or out-of-home care in Australia during the 20th Century. The Australian Senate used the term when reporting on its 2003-04 Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care.
The Queensland Government was the first in Australia to formally recognise the experiences of Forgotten Australians after the 1998-99 Commission of Inquiry into abuse of children in Queensland institutions, better known as the Forde Inquiry. The Forde Inquiry found many children had suffered abuse or neglect in institutional care and these people continue to be affected by these experiences into their adult life.
In May 2007, in response to the recommendations of the Forde Inquiry, the Queensland Government established the $100 million Redress Scheme to acknowledge the abuse or neglect suffered by children placed in Queensland institutions by providing ex-gratia payments to those who were harmed.
Applications for a payment under the scheme opened 1 October 2007 and closed 30 September 2008. More than 10,200 applications were received by the closing date, with over 7,400 applications assessed as eligible for payment under the scheme. The scheme was finalised in June 2010.
At this time, there is no intention to reopen the Redress Scheme. People who did not lodge an application to the scheme and wish to claim for monetary compensation will need to proceed through the normal legal process.
Many Forgotten Australians are seeking access to records from their time in care and are looking to reconnect with family members. Former residents of Queensland institutions can receive assistance with this process through Lotus Place.
The Queensland Government holds a large number of files and records relating to:
- people who were under the care and protection of the Queensland Government and placed in orphanages/institutions (e.g. Tufnell, Neerkol, Nudgee, Queen Alexandra Home, Silky Oaks), family group homes and foster care
- people who were under the care and control of the State and placed in detention centres (e.g. Westbrook and Wilson).
The Queensland State Archives also holds records that may assist you, including school enrolment and historical records relating to the operation of children's homes and institutions in Queensland. Contact the Queensland State Archives for further information.
The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services currently funds Lotus Place, a dedicated support service and resource centre for Forgotten Australians. Lotus Place provides a:
- safe place for Forgotten Australians
- space where reliable connections to others, shared experiences of childhood, and the consequences of this, are respected
- gateway to government and community services.
Contact your nearest Lotus Place location for more information.
Find & Connect
The Find & Connect website brings together historical resources relating to institutional ‘care’ in Australia. You can use it to:
- read information about and view images of children’s Homes
- get help to find records about your childhood in ‘care’
- connect with support groups and services in Queensland.
You will not find personal information or private records on Find & Connect.
The Forde Foundation
- a ward of the State of Queensland
- under the guardianship of the State of Queensland, or
- a resident in a Queensland institution when you were a child
- with your dental needs
- with your studies
- obtain work and progress within your chosen field
- live independently.
Contact the Forde Foundation for more information.
Link-Up (Qld) Aboriginal Corporation supports the healing journeys of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been separated from their families and cultures through forced removal, fostering, adoption and/or institutionalisation. They deliver professional, culturally sensitive and confidential research, reunion and cultural wellbeing services to those over 18 years of age.
Find a Link-Up office near you for more information.
Post Adoption Support
Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN)
CLAN is a support, advocacy, research and training network for people who grew up in Australian orphanages, children’s Homes, foster care and other institutions.
Several memorials have been established to commemorate the experiences of former residents of Queensland institutions:
- A remembrance statue in Roma Street Forum, Brisbane was established as an initiative of Forgotten Australians.
- A commemorative plaque acknowledging the experiences of former residents of Karrala House, Ipswich, was installed on the site of the former facility which now forms part of the University of Queensland's Ipswich Campus.
- A commemorative plaque was established on the site of the former Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Detention Centre in Windsor, Brisbane.
- A Youth Justice Commemorative Artwork was dedicated at Kurilpa Point, South Brisbane.