E.M.D. (exposed to moral danger)
An exhibition has opened at the former site of the Parramatta Girls’ Training School. Titled “E.M.D.”, it features artworks by former inmates. Project curator Lily Hibberd spoke about the name of the exhibition:
EMD means exposed to moral danger, which was the criminal charge many of the girls went to court for. They were charged as criminals for their own neglect, so if your parents abandoned you, it was your fault.
The exhibition is on display within an area of the institution known as Bethel House, where some girls and young women were placed in isolation cells. “It’s a powerful building,” Ms Hibberd said in an interview with the Parramatta Sun:
In the confinement rooms, there’s the markings and scratchings of the women who were locked up there, scored into the skirting boards. One of the artists involved, Christina Green, her name is actually there.
The discovery of these traces of the former residents is even more remarkable, following a fire at the site in December 2012 which destroyed much of the historic interior, including graffiti from its time as a girls’ home.
For more information about the exhibition, visit the website of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Memory Project.