In 1970 Bonney Djuric spent 9 months in Parramatta Girls Home, she was just 15 years old. This was a child welfare institution that operated from 1887 until 1986 in Western Sydney. It's an experience that she'll never forget.
Bonney is one of 500,000 Australians who were in an orphanage or some other form of out-of-home care during last century.
The 2004 Senate inquiry into children in institutionalised care, known as 'The Forgotten Australians', heard stories which told of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. They also heard from those who had been neglected and humiliated by people charged with their care. Bonney's experience was no exception.
Around 30,000 girls aged from 11 to 18 passed through Parramatta Girls Home. They were considered 'at risk' by the authorities. Many were from the Stolen Generations, single-parent families, foster homes, orphanages, state homes or regarded as 'criminal' girls. Bonney and a group of former inmates got together and organized a reunion in the grounds of the home in 2003. It was an opportunity to share their traumatic stories.
Parramatta Female Factory Precinct was formed in 2006 and the women have proposed to preserve the Parramatta site as a National Women's Heritage Centre including a 'Living Memorial' for Forgotten Australians and the Stolen Generations. The home continues its long history as a place of incarceration as the Norma Parker Periodic Detention Centre for women.