Approaching truth telling, recovery and healing through the arts
Lotus Place’s Reconciling Histories project supported adult survivors of institutional abuse to reclaim their voice and connect creatively through visual arts workshops.
Reconciling Histories was a series of visual arts workshops delivered through Lotus Place (Micah Projects) focused on truth-telling, justice and healing for adults with lived experiences of institutional child abuse.
The project built on previous work by Micah Projects, supporting people who experienced abuse in an institutional setting to access support and share their experiences and strengths.
In developing the project, organisers noted that asking survivors to repeatedly talk about and ‘relive’ their damaging experiences took a serious toll. Therefore the Lotus Place approach for this project sought to focus on the strengths and resilience that individuals drew upon to survive, and to live rich and meaningful lives in spite of adversities.
Working with artists, art therapists and trained staff across a series of workshops, participants were supported to explore their past experiences, construct new narratives and reconcile their histories through a range of visual arts mediums – sculpture, printing, and photography.
The project engaged communities in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville. At each location, the series of workshops culminated in a community exhibition.
“Participants were given the space and support they needed to play, explore, and experience art making. Ideas were exchanged and community discussion stimulated. Leading to a natural side effect of reduced social isolation and skills acquisition. A process that enabled participating artists to express themselves creatively and produce excellent art. Developing tools to get their messages across.”
Project Coordinator: Katie McGuire
Unexpected Forces-Stories and Poems by Forgotten Australians
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Stories and poems by Forgotten Australians*
Change can come through re-imagining the past, claiming power over the stories we tell ourselves and inventing new ways of seeing these stories and ourselves.
Stories and poems from
‘The Healing Power of Story’ workshops for Survivors of ‘Out of Home Care’
Click here to view Unexpected Forces-Stories and Poems by Forgotten Australians
Lilypad Newsletters 2022
Newsletters for Queensland people who experienced childhood abuse in an institutional setting including out-of-home care.
Lilypad CQ November-December 2022
Lilypad CQ September-October 2022
Lilypad CQ January-February 2022
Lilypad NQ December 2022-January 2023
An art project seeding creativity and inspiring imagination and expression for adults who have a lived experience of institutional abuse as children.
Reconciling Histories appreciates that Art and Creativity are important, at any stage of life.
Reconciling Histories is a project supporting participating artists, who have had lived experiences of institutional abuse as children, to build skills and self-confidence, and develop a greater appreciation of their own creativity.
Professional local artists in three locations across Queensland, Brisbane, Townsville, and Rockhampton, worked alongside participating artists throughout the project.
Reconciling Histories is a Micah Projects Initiative proudly supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, in partnership with The Edge, State Library Queensland.
Project Coordinator: Katie McGuire
Videographer Katie Bennett, Embellysh
Wallet Cards for Forgotten Australians
The Historical Abuse Network participants in North Queensland designed these wallet cards for people to use when dealing with services, people or organisations. The aim is to communicate what it means to live with the legacy of trauma.
These cards are now being used in this community by Forgotten Australians and Former British Child Migrants. If someone you work with hands you a card, they are likely to be indicating that they are in distress and may need additional support to either talk or manage their emotions.
Click here to view the printable version of the wallet cards
This publication is a selection of stories and poems written by group members during Creative Writing sessions held at Lotus Place and facilitated by Edwina Shaw.
The Zine is a mixture of true stories, descriptive passages and fictional tales. It is available for purchase for $5 (until sold out).
Lotus Times August 2019
Lotus Times is published in collaboration with The Historical Abuse Network which works collaboratively with
people who experienced abuse and neglect in institutions, foster care and detention centres. We acknowledge their courage as they move from adversity to hope in seeking public recognition, justice and redress.
20th Anniversary of the Forde Inquiry, 1999 – 2019
The Forde Inquiry was established to investigate the abuse of children in Queensland Institutions. The Queensland Government held an event in Brisbane on the 31st May 2019 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Forde report.
View a film of the event on YouTube (57 minutes)
Lotus Times Special Edition
Special Edition on the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse as presented by Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten.
Lotus Times Special Edition
A special edition Lotus Times on the Queensland Parliament’s passing of the National Redress Act.
This Act of Parliament will enable the Queensland Government and non-government institutions to participate in the Commonwealth National Redress Scheme.
Remembrance Day 2017 Address by Karyn Walsh
A tribute to the Historical Abuse Network and all adults who as children experienced abuse in institutions, foster care, detention centres and out-of-home care.
Letter from the CEO of the Royal Commission
Lotus Place received the following letter from Phillip Reed the CEO of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Lotus Place. Creating justice. Responding to injustice.
A short film introducing the work of Lotus Place and acknowledging the courage of those who experienced childhood abuse in an institutional setting including out-of-home care.
More than 500,000 Australians were placed into institutions in the last century, with many suffering physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Director: Peter Hegedus (Soul Vision Films)
Meet the taxi driver going back to his childhood for the chance to perform with the Royal Ballet
Paul Morewood joined a group of Brisbane amateur dancers who took part in We All Dance, a workshop series facilitated by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in May 2017.
Wolston Park and Forgotten/Now Remembered Australians: Portraits
Award winning artist Anne Wallace remembered many of the women who were at the 2010 Apology through art, chiefly her Wolston Park and forgotten/Now remembered Australians portrait series.
Click here to acess the link to portraits
New package to help improve aged care for survivors of institutional child abuse launched in December 2016
People who experienced childhood abuse in an institutional setting including out-of-home care and their families will benefit from an aged care resource package launched in 2016.
'Have you Forgotten Me' music video and performance at the 2016 Songs of Justice Concert
Music video dedicated to the more than 500,000 children who were 'raised' in institutional care in Australia during the 20th century and who suffered unthinkable abuse in these places.
Performance at Songs of Justice concert
Micah Projects submission
Issues Paper 11
Catholic Church Final Hearing
Submission by Micah Projects
British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association June 2016 Newsletter
The Historical Abuse Network calls on the Queensland Government to respond to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Consultation Paper on Redress.
Fractured Families: life on the margins in colonial New South Wales (2015, UNSW Press) by Tanya Evans.
The book draws on the archives of The Benevolent Society (founded in 1813) to tell the stories of the ‘ordinary as well as the extraordinary’ people who lived and worked in colonial Sydney.
The importance of photos
Photographs play an important role in everyone’s life – they connect us to our past, they remind us of people, places, feelings, and stories. They can help us to know who we are. For people who were in children’s institutions, photographs are especially important – sadly, this is because for so many people, the photographs most of us take for granted, don’t exist.
2015 HAN framework for justice
The Historical Abuse Network (HAN) is a network of people who experienced abuse, including sexual abuse, in state or church run institutions, foster care, youth detention centres and those who as children were placed in adult mental health institutions.
Historical Abuse Network Brochure
The Historical Abuse Network (HAN) is a network of people who experienced childhood abuse in an institutional setting including out-of-home care.
The Forgotten Australians: Adele Chynoweth at TEDxCanberra
Adele Chynoweth is a theatre director and museum curator working on narratives of Forgotten Australians: more than 500,000 Australians who spent their childhood in orphanages and other institutions.
Find and Connect Australia Newsletters
Link to the Find and Connect Australia website
Online exhibition of 'Inside: Life in Children's Homes and Institutions'
The National Museum Australia (NMA) website of the exhibition Inside: Life in Children's Homes and Institutions went live on the third anniversary of the National Apology, Friday 16 November 2012.
The Untold is an oral history project developed by FAN Theatre, a group of Forgotten Australians who express themselves through various types of performance. For individual stories, please see the 'read more' section.
Forgotten Australians: Life Stories
The Alliance for Forgotten Australians' DVD is the story of six people who started life differently—one of them in another country—but who shared the experience of a childhood in Children’s Homes, institutions or foster care in Australia.
Link to the Alliance for Forgotten Australians website to view the DVD.
Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History Project
Throughout 2012 the National Library interviewed Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants across Australia to record their lives and document the lifelong impact of institutional and out-of-home care. The project concluded in November 2012 and aimed to ensure that the voices of many who were in care as children were heard and that their experiences will be remembered.
Link to National Library of Australia website
Lives of Uncommon Children: Reflections of Forgotten Australians
Ten years after the Forde Inquiry into the abuse of children in state care, the Federal Government finally issued a public apology to the ‘Forgotten Australians’ in November, 2009.
This book records the stories, the memories and observations of some of these children. Now adults, they are making their way in a world which has, until recently, barely acknowledged the pain and cruelty that marked their childhoods.
Wikipedia entry on Forgotten Australians
Forgotten Australians is a term applied to the more than 500,000 non-indigenous, child migrants and indigenous children who experienced care in institutions or outside a home setting during the 20th century. Many of these children were abused physically, emotionally, or sexually while in care. Many survivors to this day still suffer the effects of the child abuse.
Speech by Senator Claire Moore
"Today is a really important day. It is an important day for all of the people who came forward and told the world, the Senate and each other about their experiences, their pain, their loss and their betrayal."
Forgotten Australians 16 Nov 2009
Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Through the Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians project, A National Education Package will be developed and distributed so service providers in the aged care sector recognise the special needs of Forgotten Australians and provide appropriate and responsive care, including access to counselling and support services.
Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA) website
Established in 2006, the Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA) is a national group of organisations and selected individuals from across Australia that promotes the interests of the estimated 500,000 people who experienced institutional or other out-of-home care as children in the last century and who suffered physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse: the Forgotten Australians.
Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) website
Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) is a support and advocacy group for people from this background. We help everyone, including Australians who grew up in orphanages and Homes overseas.
The Child Migrants Trust
The Child Migrants Trust was established in 1987 and addresses the issues surrounding the deportation of children from Britain. In the post-war period, child migrants as young as three were shipped to Canada, New Zealand, the former Rhodesia and Australia, a practice that continued as late as 1970.
Esther Centre Booklet
This booklet was created in 2002 to recognise the history and work of the Esther Centre (now Lotus Place).