12 September Friday Forum - Parragirls

The next Friday Forum is on 12 September. Bonney Djuric and Christine Green are the guest speakers and will talk about setting up Parragirls, the official support network and contact register for Parramatta Girls Home. Bonney and Christine are former inmates of Parramatta Girls Home.

Bonney Djuric and Christine Green formed the Parragirls Project Group in 2006 to address the lack of information about Australia's oldest and longest running welfare institution for girls, the Parramatta Girls Home.

Through their research, they discovered that the site where the Girls Home is located was once an orphanage built to house the children of the women of the adjacent Female Factory. The convict built Female Factory was the first welfare institution for women and their children. The institution was reassigned as the Industrial School for Females in 1887 and operated until 1986. The site remains in use as a periodic detention centre for women.

At least 30,000 girls aged between 11 and 18 passed through this institution. On average 90% of girls were committed on the offence or complaint of 'Neglected' and charged with 'Exposed to Moral Danger' by the children's courts. Both the Female Factory and Parramatta Girls Home have been relegated to the shadows of history, yet both played a significant role in the shaping of welfare policies for women and children.

Today, Bonney and Christine lead a campaign for the dedication of the site as a Living Memorial to women and to the forgotten Australians who experienced institutional or out of home care as children.

Bonney will also be talking about the book, 14 Years of Hell, an anthology of the Hay Girls Institution which was an annex of the Parramatta Girls Home. Between 1961 and 1974 the old Hay Gaol became a Total Security Institute for 'incorrigible girls' committed to Parramatta Girls Home in the care of the child welfare department.

Date: Friday 12 September 2008

Place: Teachers Federation Auditorium, 39-41 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills.

Join us from 5pm for drinks and food. Bonney and Christine's presentation will start at 6pm and conclude at 7pm.

RSVP to the Library by Friday 5 September. Details below.

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