A year on from the Apology …

Next Tuesday the 16th of November 2010 will mark the first anniversary of the Federal Government’s Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

The Apology in the Great Hall of Parliament in 2009 was an amazing day, and a long-overdue endorsement of Recommendation 1 of the Forgotten Australians report (2004).

A year on from the Apology, we have seen things get moving on some important projects to collect, document and share the history of Forgotten Australians – the National Library’s Oral History project, and the national exhibition being developed by the National Museum of Australia. We look forward to hearing more soon from FaHCSIA about progress on other ‘service and support initiatives’ for Forgotten Australians, announced in the wake of last year’s Apology.

A year on, it’s important to reflect on this history and to listen to the stories of people affected by institutional ‘care’. SBS will air a new documentary on Tuesday 16 November at 8.30pm about Forgotten Australians, and the story of CLAN (the Care Leavers of Australia Network, founded in July 2000).

All Australians need to know more about this aspect of our history. As the years continue to pass, it will be critical that Australians are more aware of how this history has affected Forgotten Australians and their families, and that health, aged care and other services for Forgotten Australians are provided in a way that is sensitive, appropriate and responsive.

The history of ‘care’ may have been hidden or little-known, but it is not as if this history is undocumented. The Pathways website is being developed to map all of the diverse historical resources that are distributed in various collections and repositories around Australia, to help people access information and learn more about the story of ‘care’ in Victoria.