These are the very words that set me on the well-travelled family history trail. Ducking and diving through swathes of digitised records, crawling in and out of rabbit holes lined with red herrings and eventually uncovering a number of families that you probably wouldn’t choose for yourself.Continue reading “You Can’t Choose Your Family”
Every now and then someone comes along, someone neutral, and they find something, a quality within your work. This isn’t your family or best friend, this is someone who’s first connection to you is through your art.Continue reading “Validation is good for you”
She was reported to be ‘deficient’ and ‘mentally difficult’; a description that could apply to me at various times of my own life. But when did this apparent state of mind develop? Did it already exist or was it a control mechanism? Was it because they wouldn’t return her children?Continue reading “Mentally Difficult”
Making many copies of my own artwork provided freedom—I found myself taking risks because I wasn’t worried about losing the original drawing.Continue reading “Abandoned original artwork”
‘You can’t choose your family,’ the 89-year-old man said to his five-year-old great grandson.Continue reading “Forgotten Australians – a story”
‘Abandoned’ – by Kendrea Rhodes
a snippet from a story about a boy lost in institutional care in the 1920s
We left him to rest, or so we thought.
In the hospital lobby I realized my son was missing, so we retraced our steps back to my grandfather’s room. The picture was memorable: an 89 year old man chatting to his 5 year old great-grandson.
Noticing me at the door, Charlie quickly whispered in his great-grandson’s ear, ‘You can’t choose your family.’
That message is the reason for this short story and the many more that follow; and the reason that my five year old asked, ‘Why can’t you choose your family?’
Charlie’s mother abandoned her seven children at Young and Jackson Hotel in Melbourne in 1926. All seven children became wards of the State of Victoria and were sent to separate orphanages, institutions and foster homes; living in an unaccountable and unrecorded system of care.
During the early twentieth century, approximately half a million children experienced care in institutions or ‘out of home’. Known as ‘Forgotten Australians’, they lived in an unsupervised system sometimes neglected and exploited for the benefit of their carers. Many children weren’t orphans, but their carers told them that their parents were dead.
Want more?…read the following blog posts:
further research on these interesting websites:
Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA) is a national alliance of Forgotten Australians and supporters working in partnership to advocate for, and promote, national policies and services to meet the needs and interests of Forgotten Australians.
Find and Connect provides history about Australian orphanages, children’s homes and other institutions.