Australian Orphanage Museum Collection News

Did you know that the green jacket worn by ex-Royal Commissioner Jennifer Coate is in Australian Orphanage Museum in Care Leavers Activism Room? Jen also donated $150 towards the framing of the jacket for the exhibition.

Thanks to Jen for this kind donation!

Jennifer Coate at the Royal Commission in the green jacket now in the AOM collection


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

Wishing all Clannies & supporters a safe and happy Christmas & New Year!

Office closure dates:
Last day: Friday 23rd of December 2022

First day back: Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of people for different reasons. Whilst Christmas is meant to be a happy time it can also be quite stressful, it may highlight financial hardship and many mourn the loss of a loved one or the disappointment they have experienced during the year. Christmas can be a difficult time all round.

For Care Leavers in particular Christmas may be a hard time because of the emotions and memories that it bring up. Christmas is a reminder of your childhood and memories of feeling sad and alone. These memories seem to be enhanced every year when Christmas comes around because of what it represents.

Christmas is supposed to be a time where everyone is happy, where families get together and where children are happy. Unfortunately for Care Leavers this is not the Christmas that you experienced, in fact it may have been the total opposite.

So to help you cope with these feelings and memories this Christmas we have included a few suggestions of things to do:

  • Take care of yourself – make sure you take the time to do things that you enjoy doing. If you can make the day enjoyable for yourself Christmas will be easier to cope with
  • Take time to relax – don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get things done make sure you have some time to yourself
  • Try to attend any events you have been invited to – the hardest part is getting the motivation to go but a lot of the time once you are out you will enjoy yourself and the company
  • Plan your day ahead of time so you know what to expect
  • Think of others who may be experiencing a hard Christmas like yourself. If you know someone personally perhaps make plans to do something together. If you don’t, maybe you may want to volunteer somewhere?

If Christmas does however get too much for you and you do need to speak to someone please try calling

  • Mensline on 1300 78 79 78
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • CLAN will be re-open on Tuesday January 3rd 2023


Labor pledges extra $15m to child abuse redress scheme as backlog grows

Compo ‘overdue’ for Vic care abuse victims

Public Service minister Chris Hipkins addresses the interim report of findings by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State and Faith-based Care

Interview by Minister in link:


A CLAN member’s daughter, Kaz Therese has developed a play – Sleeplessness. Part-mystery, part-documentary, part-forensic investigation. Sleeplessness is a quintessentially Australian story about three generations of Western Sydney women. Fusing film, text and choreography, this acclaimed contemporary practitioner throws a fine light on the intergenerational impact of institutionalisation and migration.

On Thursday 11 August, CEO and Co-founder of CLAN, Leonie Sheedy, will be part of a panel at the end of the show.

Dates: 4-13 August
Time: 7:30pm
Where: Carriageworks Multi Arts Centre, 245 Wilson St Eveleigh (corner. Codrington St.), Eveleigh

To buy discounted tickets for $25 (RRP $50), go to this link:

To read more about the play here: Sleeplessness – Carriageworks


It’s been nearly 22 years since CLAN was first published in the media. On 14 October 2000, Good Weekend magazine published “The anguish of being left: Stories of life in Australia’s children’s homes”, written by Nikki Barrowclough.

CLAN Co-founders Joanna Penglase and Leonie Sheedy are both featured.

Read the full article below.


Thank you Tania Maxwell MP for bringing this important issue to parliament and asks why the State has not yet provided a redress scheme for care leavers who experienced physical, psychological and emotional abuse while in Victorian orphanages.

“In the absence of commonwealth action, as with other redress Victoria could and should lead the way, so I ask the government: what are you waiting for? Care Leavers recently issued their plea on the steps of this Parliament—and they asked the government to please hear them, please see them and deliver to Care Leavers the recognition that they deserve.”