Lost but not for­got­ten

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Zis

A STATUE de­pict­ing the sor­row and loss of a mother, one arm across her face and the other out­stretched in need, is part of a memo­rial to be un­veiled in Vic­to­ria Park for peo­ple sep­a­rated by adop­tion.

Read Park is the sug­gested lo­ca­tion for sev­eral sculp­tures com­mis­sioned to mark the WA Par­lia­ment’s 2010 apol­ogy for past adop­tion prac­tices and poli­cies, which was the first of its kind by any govern­ment any­where in the world.

Eight years on from that his­toric event, and five years af­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard’s na­tional apol­ogy, Vic­to­ria Park Coun­cil will tonight de­cide whether the park near Al­bany High­way is an ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tion for the do­nated memo­rial.

The memo­rial, which in­cludes a sec­ond smaller but just as poignant sculp­ture of a small child asleep in a gi­ant hand, was com­mis­sioned for the WA branch of the As­so­ci­a­tion Rep­re­sent­ing Moth­ers Sep­a­rated By Adop­tion Inc (ARMS).

It will also in­clude a plaque ded­i­cat­ing the memo­rial to those who have been sep­a­rated by adop­tion. Its head­line reads: ‘A Quar­ter of a Mil­lion Moth­ers’.

Re­ports es­ti­mate about 150,000 chil­dren were taken from un­mar­ried moth­ers and pro­vided to cou­ples want­ing a child in the 1950s and 1960s alone.

ARMS orig­i­nally ap­proached the Town of Vic­to­ria Park to ac­cept and dis­play the solid gran­ite sculp­tures at the McCal­lum Park fore­shore be­cause of its prox­im­ity to par­ent­ing sup­port ser­vice Ngala in Kens­ing­ton.

While McCal­lum Park was not vi­able, ARMS’ re­quest met all cri­te­ria un­der the coun­cil’s com­mem­o­ra­tive recog­ni­tion pol­icy and Read Park was con­sid­ered the best site. The not-for­profit has com­mit­ted to pay­ing for de­liv­ery and in­stal­la­tion of the memo­rial.

In a re­port rec­om­mend­ing Read Park, coun­cil of­fi­cers said ac­cept­ing the do­na­tion should be viewed as a state­ment of good­will to those af­fected Aus­trali­aw­ide and not as a re­flec­tion of past forced adop­tion prac­tices in Vic­to­ria Park.

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