We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land and pay respect to their leaders, past and present. Visitors to this website should be aware that names may be mentioned, or images portrayed, of people who are now deceased. Any distress this may cause is sincerely regretted.
Many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were removed from their families, with the authorisation of Australian governments, to be raised in institutions, or fostered or adopted by non-Indigenous families. Some were given up by parents seeking a better life for their children. Many were forcibly removed and see themselves as 'the stolen generations'.
Many of these children experienced overwhelming grief, and the loss of childhood and innocence, family and family relationships, identity, language and culture, country and spirituality.
This artwork is constructed from stainless steel and slumped glass, and features an image of the boy in the bungalow. Housed within the artwork is an empty coolamon - a traditional vessel for carrying a baby - from which a recorded Indigenous lullaby can be heard. It is a place for quiet reflection - to contemplate the silence and emptiness experienced after children are taken from community.
To symbolise the reconnection with culture, words meaning baby, child or children from a number of Indigenous languages of Australia are etched into the glass panels.
Aboriginal Cultural Advisor: Sharon Payne;
Architect: Simon Kringas
Exhibition Designers: Marcus Bree, Benita Tunks
Graphic Designer: Alan Vogt
Images (by permission of)
Aerial of spinifex: Richard Woldendorp
Boy at the Bungalow: National Archives of Australia 1930/1542
Coolamon: Karen Casey
Homes are sought for these children: National Archives of Australia A1,1934/6800
Methodist girls at the Bungalow: National Trust (Northern Territory)
Mission school, Bathurst Island: National Archives of Australia A263;27a
School fife band at the Bungalow: National Trust (Northern Territory)
Three aboriginal children in bath playing in the water: Merle Jackomos
Water, Sand Pattern: Richard Woldendorp
Inanay (lullaby): Lou Bennett (mother's voice), Pep Gascoigne (child's voice), Tim Cole (sound production)
Click here to learn more about Reconciliation Place and its artworks.
Acknowledgement of Country
Our work is on the land of the Ngunnawal People, Ngunnawal Country. We pay our respects to their Elders – past, present and emerging.