Nell Musgrove

Publication Date



In Australia, as in a number of other nations, personal testimony has played a central role in achieving formal recognition of the great damage done by child welfare policies and practices of the past. Over time, public narratives have emerged around the experiences of particular groups—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people sent to Australia as child migrants, people who grew up in institutions, and families separated through adoption—yet within these, voices from people who experienced foster care have been largely absent despite their constituting a significant portion of people who grew up in out-of-home “care.” This article uses testimonies submitted to one of Australia’s national inquiries into historical child welfare systems to explore the roles that place and space play in these accounts of out-of-home care. It argues that collective memories of foster care in Australia have developed more slowly than those tied to institutions and that this can be partly explained by the fundamentally different ways in which survivors of each type of care have been able to engage with the physical locations of their childhoods—be they remembered or actually revisited


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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