State care abuse survivors to have say on memorial’s location

Media release
Survivors of historic institutional child sexual abuse are being given an opportunity to have their say on the relocation of a commemorative artwork dedicated to their experiences.
The Unfolding Lives sculpture

The Unfolding Lives sculpture at its former location outside the WA Museum. Photo by Moondyne under Creative Commons 3.0

The Unfolding Lives sculpture, also known as The Forgotten Australians, was created by artist Judith Forrest and unveiled in 2010 as a memorial to the tens of thousands of Western Australian children abused in State care.

Previously on display in the WA Museum precinct, the artwork was temporarily removed to store it while large-scale building works were carried out for the construction of the new Boola Bardip WA Museum.

While the sculpture has been stored, the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime at the Department of Justice has been exploring suitable locations for a future home.

Commissioner for Victims of Crime Kati Kraszlan said there were two options identified: one as close as possible to the sculpture’s original location in the Perth Cultural Precinct; and the other near the Elizabeth Quay children’s water park.

“I invite victim survivors to let us know which of these options they prefer, and anything else they want to say about this sculpture, which has enormous cultural significance,” Ms Kraszlan said.

“It is important the location is a well-frequented, prominent public place, somewhere which has particular meaning for survivors of abuse or where the environment allows a focus on the artwork and its significance.” 

If the Cultural Centre precinct is chosen, the memorial could be reinstated as soon as final upgrade works are finished in the area in 2024. The City of Perth has advised it may also consider adding benches and lighting around the sculpture on request.

If Elizabeth Quay is the preferred site, further work will be needed with the City of Perth and Development WA to develop a plan to position the sculpture.

Those wanting to give their views on where Unfolding Lives should be installed can email by 30 November 2021.

Anyone who cannot communicate their preference by email can call the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime on 61 8 9264 9877

Page reviewed 15 November 2021