Records and Access to Information

Voluntary Placement - recognition campaigns

Many children were placed into Care by their parents, rather than by the State. Children placed into Care "voluntarily" have been described as "largely invisible" to State Authorities (Forgotten Australians Report, p.72) Although the experiences of these children were similar or identical to those who were State Wards, there has been less recognition of their needs and support. In particular, access to records is often more difficult. Current campaigns are aimed at redressing this imbalance. For example, Tracie Oldham has led a sustained advocacy campaign through her own published memoir - My Shitty Life, publicity through social media, and direct lobbying of politicians.

For instance, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services, Hon. Colin Brooks MP acknowledged Oldham's activism in the Victorian Parliament, during discussions about the development of Victorian Redress Program in August 2022. He was responding to a question from MP Tania Maxwell, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party, who had highlighted Oldham's work in advocating for the status of those who were placed "voluntarily" into Care.

Key people: Tracie Oldham

More information:

Open Place (Vic)

A support and advocacy service for survivors of institutional Care in Victoria. Established and funded by the Victorian Government as one of its commitments after its formal apology to Victorian Forgotten Australians in 2006. Initially funding was provided to the community sector organisation Berry Street to manage Open Place. In July 2020 Relationships Australia Victoria became the provider of Open Place.

CLAN - Australian Orphanage Museum

Care Leavers Australiasia Network (CLAN) manages and operates the Australian Orphanage Museum. Established in 2001 at the CLAN offices at the time in Bankstown, NSW, it is in Geelong, Victoria. Scheduled for official re-opening in 2023.


The Care Leavers' Australasia Network (CLAN) was founded in July 2000, a membership organisation for people who grew up in Institutional Care.

Key people: Joanna Penglase, Leonie Sheedy, Frank Golding, Jim Luthie

Who Am I?

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Colonisation / European invasion

Before British colonisation there were hundreds of Aboriginal nations living in cultures of rich tradition which did not produce the so-called 'unwanted', 'friendless' or 'dangerous' children who European society opted to place in institutions and other placements apart from their families and loved ones.