Australian Orphanage Museum Grand opening

Media release                                                     16th March, 2023


Deputy Prime Minister and CLAN patron Richard Marles will officially open the Australian Orphanage Museum at 351 Ryrie Street, Geelong on 1st April, 2023.

The Orphanage Museum exhibits its unique collection of historic artefacts and memorabilia from a dark chapter in Australia’s history: cots, gates, badges, crockery, diaries, plaques, signs, pews, suitcases and numerous other objects.

The Museum tells a long-neglected history from the perspective of those who lived in orphanages, children’s Homes, foster care, training farms, missions, and laundries where, as vulnerable children, they lived and worked without love and nurturing and often subject to cruel physical and sexual abuse and neglect.

CLAN co-founder Dr Joanna Penglase says, “We had to grow up without our parents and pretend it didn’t matter.” 

A feature of the exhibition is ‘The Raft of the CLAN’, a giant painting by acclaimed artist Peter Daverington, which depicts the survival of abandoned children left to fend for themselves—’an image of strength, pride, activism and defiance’.

CLAN co-founder and CEO Leonie Sheedy comments, “This is about making our history visible.”

CLAN decided to open the Museum in Geelong which had 13 Orphanages, the largest number outside Australia’s capital cities.

CLAN is the peak agency supporting and advocating for victims of abuse, neglect, and child labour in orphanages, children’s homes, foster care, training farms, missions, and laundries in both Australia and New Zealand, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong.

Further details: Leonie Sheedy 0425 204 747