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By Yvonne Vernon

Copyright 2000


I know of childhood !

I know about children

 lost and vulnerable,

of anger and confusion, 

torn from all,  good and bad,

that represented for them

home,  love and security.

I know about loneliness.

Children thrust

into an alien environment,

seeking solace for grief,

hungry for kind words, understanding,

an embrace for sobs of need.

Children desperate for some semblance of  normality

in the ‘human condition’.


I know of childhood

need for memories,

a link to a past, 

with which to relate,

in an overwhelming sea of indifference

or ignorant complacency.


I know of childhood emptiness.

A parents death,

the pain of unresolved grief, 

separation and loss,

kept secret,  unshared, 

of abandonment.

Young minds and hearts in trauma,

seeking sense in their displacement.


I know of childhood perceptions.

Emotionally sterile environment as punishment,

 for perceived self-inadequacy,

loss of love as unworthiness.


What did I do wrong?

 I’m sorry….

Come and take me home,

I’ll be good,  I promise,

Please!  Please!


I know of childhood acceptance.

Submersion of needs for love,  affection,  human warmth,

along with cherished memories buried deep in the psyche,

in order to survive

in an emotional void.

I know about subterfuge! Powerless, 

defenseless confusion.

A child branded and maligned,

Liar!  Bad Seed!  Scum!

because of  truth

argued on deaf ears.

Physical & emotional separation from siblings.


because Secrets had to be kept.

I know about insincerity,

enforced gratitude,

 for the ‘right to be’ 

for the necessities to sustain life,

a compulsory component of

 being needy’.


I know about Doctrine!

The ethos of

“The sins of the father

visited upon the child”.

The ripping apart of belief

in treasured memories,

in the name of 

“Saving” the child.

A ‘decent God fearing upbringing’

at any cost!

I know about Religion! 

of God presented as a 

“God of anger”  vengeful,  jealous,

the punisher of sin.

The ‘Love’ of  God….

an afterthought.


I know about “GOOD  PEOPLE”!

About lies,

even where truth was irrefutable,

about smothered individualism,

initiative and spirit,

under the guise of ‘benevolence’. 

I know about the few good people who could never stay,

they managed the fine balance of ‘job’ with personal humility,

They made a difference in our bereft childhoods,

however slight they may think,

in a system that enshrined a religious and caring ethos,

but functioned

in a separatist ideology.

The “needy” poor, 

seen as the agents 

of their own destiny,

socially and morally bankrupt.


I know about adulthood!

I understand emotional survival techniques,

adopted by children under threat, to survive pain,

trauma, abandonment and displacement.

I know about ‘Growing up’!

The pain of being invisible, unwanted & used

the constraints of life fulfillment,

of self-responsibility for life choices,

the futility of emotional baggage,

as an excuse or crutch.

I am the product of Nature

I am the product of lack of Nurture.

I take responsibility for me,

my actions,  my thoughts,

my space.

I know pain of failure,

elation in triumph, 

regret for lost opportunities.

I accept the myriad facets

of my character.


I  know about Reflections!

Contemplation of childhood

can be a painful, funny journey

and illuminates

the dichotomy for all

Forgotten Australians childhoods.

Our sharing of stories

and memories,

the sadness, the pain,

the suffering,

the isolation, the abuse

I know about the fun, gaiety,

 merriment and pleasures,

we the Forgotten Children,

We the Forgotten Australians derived from each other

and shared in the reconstructed Families

We created amongst ourselves.

That ensures the balance

is not lost in the dross.


I know about indebtedness!

we all bring to each other today,

not only our personal experiences of childhood,

but also our adult acceptance, maturity and diversity.

We share the need for roots

firmly anchored in a sense

of family ties and traditions,

that we the unwanted,

the unloved

and the forgotten

can only truly understand.


Thank you my fellow

Forgotten Australians

for being the catalyst for

“The spirit of the extended family”

we never had”



Yvonne Vernon

Dalmar 1950-1958

Copyright 2000

All rights reserved

Origins HARP Healing and Recovery Project for Forgotten Australians