Media release: Thursday, 20 March 2014
One year on from the National Apology to Australians affected by forced adoption policies and practices, the National Archives of Australia has launched a website raising awareness of the issue.
The forcedadoptions.naa.gov.au website shares the history of forced adoptions through documents, images and personal experiences. The launch coincided with the unveiling of the National Apology parchment in Parliament House
'The aim of this website is to increase Australians' understanding of the history and impact of forced adoptions,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives.
'The National Archives' Forced Adoptions History Project enables all Australians to learn more about this shameful aspect of our nation's history. Documenting what happened in this way will help ensure we, as a nation, don't repeat the mistakes of our past.'
Mr Fricker explained that the project would eventually include contributions from far and wide.
'We encourage everyone affected by past forced adoption policies and practices to share their experiences. It is only through a diversity of stories and experiences that a rounded history can be created.'
People affected can add personal experiences immediately. Once they are moderated by National Archives' staff, they will be published with no capacity for comment or judgement by others.
'Stakeholders told us it was very important to create an online space where they felt safe leaving details of their personal experiences,' said David Fricker. 'The website is built to ensure no judgements can be made on an individual's contribution – each one stands alone as a testimony of that person's journey.'
This website has been created as part of the government's response to recommendations of the 2012 Senate Report into theCommonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices.
National Archives' staff will continue to add to the website new content collected from their ongoing community engagement. A touring exhibition, which is the second part of the Forced Adoptions History Project, will be central to the second anniversary of the National Apology on 21 March 2015.
The formal national apology parchment has been preserved and framed by the National Archives. It was designed by calligrapher Gemma Black* and will be on public display in the Members' Hall of Parliament House. It will sit alongside the formal apology parchment for the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, also designed by Ms Black.
The Forced Adoptions History Project website can be viewed at forcedadoptions.naa.gov.au.