Mothers among those to advise National Archives on forced adoptions project

Media release: Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Nine Australians affected by forced adoptions have been appointed to a federal government working group that will liaise with the National Archives of Australia to help implement its Forced Adoptions History Project.

Five mothers who had children adopted, three adult adoptees and a father who has written four books about his experiences of adoption, have been appointed to the Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group by the Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins.

Kathryn Rendell (Queensland), Christine Cole (New South Wales), Elizabeth Brew (New South Wales), Sue MacDonald (Western Australia) and Evelyn Robinson (South Australia), all had children adopted. Angela Barra (Queensland), Leigh Hubbard (Victoria) and Thomas Graham (ACT) are all adult adoptees. Gary Coles (Victoria) is a father who had a son adopted and wrote The Invisible Men of Adoption (2010).

The consultation group, chaired by Professor Nahum Mushin of Monash University, is charged with providing advice on implementing the recommendations made in a recent Senate Inquiry report into forced adoption practices.

One of the report's 20 recommendations sought to record the experiences of those affected by forced adoption and increase awareness of this issue in Australia. The Archives is responsible for producing a website to contain the experiences of people affected by forced adoptions and an exhibition which is to tour the country from late 2015.

The Archives is seeking expressions of interest from people around Australia who have been affected by forced adoption and may want to contribute to the proposed website and exhibition. Information about the Forced Adoptions History Project can be found at www.naa.gov.au/about-us/partnerships/forced-adoptions.aspx

'We have already received a number of submissions from people with some great suggestions for the website ranging from stories to art works and songs; all linked to their experiences with forced adoption,' said Caroline Webber, project manager of the Archives' Forced Adoptions History Project. 'We are telling a national story and we would like to hear from those affected – from the major cities to rural and remote Australia.'

Senators Sue Boyce (Queensland), Claire Moore (Queensland) and Rachel Siewert (Western Australian) have also been appointed to the group.

Contact information

  • Katrina Iffland (Media Officer, National Archives Forced Adoptions History Project)
    t (02) 6212 3903 e katrina.iffland@naa.gov.au
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014