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Parramatta Girls Home MemorialPrint Page Print this page

The Memorial honours the women and girls held at the facility who were subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Many Stolen Generation children were placed in the home. 

The memorial features a remembrance garden and sandstone structures with graffiti found etched on the walls of the building, which aims to express bonds of friendship and solidarity, overlaid with recollections of the ‘Parra Girls’ who once lived at the centre.

The Parramatta Girls Home is the site where neglected, orphaned, abandoned or girls convicted of crimes were sent between 1887 and 1974. An estimated 30,000 children, including a number of indigenous girls from the Stolen Generations passed through the school.

On the surface it was intended for care, reformation and training but in many sad cases was anything but. With an average of 160 girls living here at a given time, many of who had difficult upbringings meant it was a tough place to live. It was a bleak existence involving routine searches, many locked doors, a lack of privacy in toilets and showers, mail censorship and restricted access to families. It is also said to have had an authoritarian atmosphere with punishments including removal of visitor access, being made to stand still for hours, hard labour and isolation cells including the “dungeon” basement rooms. In extreme cases it’s said that anti-psychotic drugs and sedatives were used on the more difficult to manage girls.

Numerous male staff, and occasionally other girls, were said to have physically and sexually abused the inmates. A public hearing heard evidence about 11 men, most of whom were superintendents or deputies at Parramatta Girls. These men were entrusted with the girls’ care but witnesses spoke of regular bashings, rapes and assaults. Most of the alleged perpetrators were never reported or investigated. Others resigned or were dismissed after inquiries into their conduct. No criminal charges were laid on the alleged perpetrators.

Parramatta Girls Home was officially closed in July 1974, but continued to operate as a welfare institution under a new name, "Kamballa" and "Taldree."

Former residents of the Parramatta Girls Home were acknowledged today with the NSW Government opening a memorial for abuse survivors at the site in Western Sydney.

Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the commemorative site seeks to honour the women and girls held at the facility. “Parramatta Girls Home is a reminder of the mistakes of the past and I hope that this memorial can help us learn from those mistakes and acknowledge the pain experienced by so many who lived there,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said. “I want all survivors and their families to know that they are loved and appreciated and this memorial is to express that the state is truly sorry for what they have been through.”

In 2018, the NSW Government officially apologised to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, including those who suffered acts of exploitation at sites like the Parramatta Girls Home and have had to carry the trauma of those events.

The memorial features a remembrance garden and sandstone structures with graffiti found etched on the walls of the building, which aims to express bonds of friendship and solidarity, overlaid with recollections of the ‘Parra Girls’ who once lived at the centre.

In partnership with Triggerdesign, the Department of Communities and Justice consulted closely with former residents to design the memorial and worked with the Department of Planning and Environment to deliver it.

Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said he hoped the conversion of the site to a place of healing would go some way to help acknowledge the struggles of survivors. “This is a significant milestone in our efforts to restore and preserve historic sites within the Parramatta North Precinct, to provide a place for people to heal and for others to learn the important stories of our past,” Mr Roberts said.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin said for more than a century Aboriginal women and girls were taken to Parramatta Girls Home and have had to live through the trauma and cultural disconnection these past policies caused. This memorial is a reminder for those past mistakes to never be repeated.

“I’d like to acknowledge and send my sincere thoughts to the many Aboriginal women and girls that were removed and taken to the Parramatta Girls Home, those that made it home, those who are still on their journey and those that never made it home,” Mr Franklin said.

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said the memorial is now open to the whole community as an active place of history.
“From today this garden and memorial is a place where people will be able to come to learn about our history and the significance of what occurred here,” Mr Lee said.

The NSW Government committed to developing the memorial after the Royal Commission into Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse investigated abuse that occurred at the former Parramatta Girls Home.
Ministerial Media Release, NSW Department of Planning and Environment
6 April 2022.

Location

Address:Greenup Drive, Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, North Parramatta, 2151
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.803191
Long: 151.000082
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Culture
Sub-Theme:Crime

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 6th April, 2022
Front Inscription

NEVER 
AGAIN

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