The National Site of Recognition for Thalidomide Survivors and their Families (Site of Recognition) acknowledges the thalidomide tragedy in Australia and serves as a lasting reminder to all Australians that the lessons of that tragedy must never be forgotten. In particular, the Site of Recognition honours the pain and suffering experienced by survivors, the memory of those who died prematurely, as well as the impact on their loved ones.
The project site is located in Wendouree Drive, Kings Park, Parkes, near the National Carillon.
The Site of Recognition was dedicated by The Honourable Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, along with thalidomide survivors and their families, on 30 November 2023.
A number of features of the design and its construction are internationally unique. Located centrally in the Site of Recognition is a three metre high, symbolic glass brick gateway. This gateway incorporates a ‘ripple’ effect acknowledging the pervasive and enduring impact of thalidomide. Selected words identified by survivors conveying their experience are etched into glass bricks facing the central walkway.
The lakeside of the Site of Recognition features a contemplative space for reflection set in a circular landscaped setting. The purpose-designed, surrounding concrete pavement incorporates an etched timeline which highlights key historical milestones.
The thalidomide community were consulted on the design and its key attributes throughout the development of the project. The Site of Recognition was designed by landscape architects Anna Chauvel and Gian Tonossi of Place Laboratory and constructed in 2023 by Pyramid Corporation Pty Ltd
The design and construction of the Site of Recognition involved a collaboration between the Department of Health and Aged Care and the National Capital Authority.
For more information regarding the Site of Recognition, the Australian Government’s 2023 National Apology to all Australians impacted by the Thalidomide Tragedy or to learn more about the Australian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program, please visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region.
We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.