Forced Adoptions Memorial ("Empty Arms - Broken Lives")Print Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris Abbott

Two sculptures, titled Empty Arms – Broken Lives acknowledge the people whose lives have been affected by forced adoption in Australia. 

The culptures have been donated to the Town of Victoria Park by the Association Representing Mother’s Separated from their children by adoption (ARMS), and were funded by the Department of Social Services, through grants from Forced Adoption Support Service (FASS) at Relationships Australia WA.

Forced adoption in Australia was the practice of taking babies from unmarried mothers, against their will, and placing them for adoption. In 2012 the Australian Senate Inquiry Report into Forced Adoption Practices found that babies were taken illegally by doctors, nurses, social workers and religious figures, sometimes with the assistance of adoption agencies or other authorities, and adopted to married couples. Some mothers were coerced, drugged and illegally had their consent taken. Many of these adoptions occurred after the mothers were sent away by their families 'due to the stigma associated with being pregnant and unmarried'.The removals occurred predominantly in the second half of the twentieth century. It was a practice which has been described as 'institutionalised baby farming.

On 21 March 2013 in the Great Hall at Parliament House Canberra, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered a National Apology to those affected by Forced Adoption and/ or removal practices and policies within Australia. Acknowledging the unjust and often illegal acts used in coercing Mothers to give up babies for adoption (now referred to as “Forced Adoption”) and recognising the ongoing mental suffering and life-long effects on all impacted by adoption.



Address:Salford Street, Read Park, Victoria Park, 6100
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.976969
Long: 115.898938
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Culture


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 21st March, 2019
Front Inscription


This memorial has been erected by the Association Representing Mothers Separated from their children by adoption Inc

Our children were wanted and deeply loved

Empty Arms – Broken Lives

Approximately 200.000 mothers and babies were torn apart at birth through forced adoption.

19 / 10 / 10 W. A. Parliamentary apology – a world first.

29 / 2 / 12 Federal Senate Inquiry finds laws were ignored and lives were shattered.

21 / 3 / 13 Federal Government apology to mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.

Dedicated to those who have endured immense trauma and to those who did not service

Forced Adoption Support Services
Relationships Australia Western Australia

ARMS acknowledges the success and dedication of the apology alliance towards obtaining apologies Australia wide.

Plaque :

ARMS is grateful to the Town of Victoria Park for accepting the donation of this memorial.

Unveiled on 21 March 2019 by Hon. David Templeman, Minister for Local Government, Heritage, Culture and the Arts and Mayor Trevor Vaughan.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au