These life stories may contain descriptions of childhood trauma and abuse, as well as images, voices and names of people now deceased. If you need help, you can find contact details for some relevant support services on our support page.

South Australian homemaker, administrator, quiltmaker, sewist, volunteer and writer, Amanda Gargula (b. 1965), was in a children’s home, foster care and a cottage home as a child.

Amanda says:

I’m trying not to live a reactive life. I realise I have the power & ability to live proactively. 
I have the knowledge, now, about those wretched human beings & how pathetic they were, to move forward with my traumas & experiences, to live an empowered & actively healing life. It’s an ongoing exercise that I’ll need to practice until I die. At least I didn’t lose my life early & have been given the opportunity to tell a small portion of how I lived.

Amanda Gargula has contributed her story to two edited collections:

  • Gargula, Amanda. “Cloudy Wishes.” In Recipes for Survival: Stories of Hope and Healing by Survivors of the State ‘Care’ System in Australia, edited by Deidre Michell and Priscilla Taylor. South Australia: People’s Voice Publishing, 2011.
  • Gargula, Amanda. “9 Clouds gets to University.” In Against the Odds: Care Leavers at University, edited by Deidre Michell, David Jackson and Casey Tonkin. South Australia: People’s Voice Publishing, 2015.

In the above video, Amanda mentions:

  • The Morialta Protestant Children’s Home (1924-1972) at Norton Summit in South Australia. For more information, visit
  • Norton Summit Primary School is a public school in South Australia,
  • The Department of Community Welfare (1972-1990) was previously the Department of Social Welfare and Aboriginal Affairs, South Australian Government (1970-1972), and subsequently the Department for Family and Community Services, South Australian Government. For more information, visit
  • Cottage Homes were used as a smaller, more ‘family-like’ alternative to large dormitory-style children’s homes. For more information, visit
  • Orana Cottage Home (1975-1980) was operated by the Roman Catholic Church after they closed the St Vincent De Paul Orphanage (also known as the Goodwood Orphanage). For more information, visit
  • Ted Mullighan (1939-2011) was a South Australian judge best known for his role as Commissioner of the Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry established by the South Australian Government and convened from 2004 to 2008. The Commission of Inquiry (known as the Mullighan Inquiry) was established to investigate allegations of the sexual abuse of children in state care. Of the 792 people who made allegations of child sexual abuse, 242 were confirmed to have been in state care when the alleged crime took place. Ted Mullighan’s final report can be found at:
  • The South Australian Police Paeodophile Task Force was established by then Commissioner of Police, Mal Hyde, in 2003 to examine allegations of child sexual abuse within the Anglican Church. The Task Force was disestablished in 2009 with the Sex Crimes Branch continuing to investigate cases of historical child sexual abuse.
  • A class action was launched in the South Australian courts in 2009 with up to 140 victims of child sexual abuse in state care making claims against the South Australian Government. The victims were represented by lawyer Peter Humphries.