Shame set in stone

Two sculptures dedicated to those affected by forced adoption policies have been unveiled on the sixth anniversary of the federal government’s national apology to survivors.

People remember the survivors of forced adoption. Photo: Eliza Lyon.

‘The Association Representing Mothers Separated from their children by adoption’ donated the sculptures to Victoria Park after receiving funding through the Department of Social Services.

ARMS coordinator Lynne Devine believes the sculptures will help mothers realise their suffering has been acknowledged.

Mrs Devine is a survivor of forced adoption and was among other mothers this morning who said they had been left de-humanised.

“We were left to cope with the lifelong impacts of trauma, untenable loss and the legacy of having to navigate the ripple effects within our families, our personal relationships and subsequent generations,” she said.

Michelle Davies had her baby son taken from her 62 years ago and said she still feels the pain of losing him.

“I met my son when he was 28 years-old and it was a wonderful moment to meet him,” she said.

Mrs Davies, now in her early nineties said she had to go to the Hillcrest Maternity Hospital during her pregnancy where she was put to work in their laundry.

She recalls being taken to a room at King Edward Memorial Hospital where she went through a traumatic birth.

“Nobody spoke to me, nobody told me if I had had a boy or a girl,” Mrs Davies said.

Minister for Culture and the Arts David Templeman and Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughn unveil the sculptures.

Minister for Culture and the Arts David Templeman said he could only imagine the “traumatic, enduring pain” the mothers went through.

“This memorial today is one part of the journey of acknowledgement, and it’s an important thing,” he said.

Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughn said the town is a caring community which wants to embrace and recognise the mistakes of the past.

“I think the sculptures are so beautiful and so reflective,” he said.

“You couldn’t come here and look at these sculptures without feeling a strong emotional attachment to them.”

The Women Affected

Cindy Stahl shares what happened when she reconnected with her mother.
Glennys Fragomeni shares her story.