Parramatta Girls Home Memorial

Co-designing a place of remembrance and reflection

NSW Department of Communities and Justice

The inscription on the face of the memorial reads: “In this place we remember the children who were abused.” This memorial is a response by the NSW Government to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to recognize and pay tribute to people who were abused as children at Parramatta Girls’ Home.

The design concept evolved from long and engaged research on the site, consultation and co-design with: former residents of the institution Parragirls; Parragirls Group founder, artist, author and historian Bonney Djuric OAM, curatorial advisor and co founder of the PFFP Memory Project Dr. Lily Hibberd and landscape architects Environmental Partnership.

Formed in a circular shape with a bronze plaque at its centre inscribed with the words ‘Never Again’, the Memorial provides a protected reflection space and seating area surrounded by a garden planted with natives including wattle and bottle brush, emblematic of Australians who as children spent time in institutional or out-of-home care known today as the Forgotten Australians.

The sandstone component of the memorial structure features graffiti found scratched into the walls of this institution by former residents during their time in the Home.

Sometimes numbers given as a substitute for names in the institutional environment, or acronyms including ILWA (I Love Worship Always) or TID (Till I Die), expressing bonds of friendship and solidarity, these are overlaid with recollections of Parragirls and their time in this institution.

Crucially, the involvement of Parragirls has been a central, guiding feature of this memorial to create a place of belonging, recognition and meaning in the shared expression of ‘never again’.

After 6 years in consultation, design development, planning and finally construction by skilled artisans the memorial was launched by the NSW Minister for Communities and Justice, Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, in April 2022.