FIRST AUSTRALIAN BOOK LAUNCH OF Out of the Forest, by Dr GREGORY SMITH
(Ngara Institute in association with PENGUIN BOOKS, AUSTRALIA)
During the course of the twentieth century over 500,000 children and young people were removed from their families and placed in “care”. The latter word is in inverted commas because, as noted in the 2004 Senate Report, Forgotten Australians, most of these individuals received anything but care. Rather, the orphanages, children’s homes, detention centres and other places of out-of-home care in which they resided were more often than characterised by cruel and inhumane practices that caused lasting harm. Abuse and neglect was commonplace, and love and warmth a rarity. Kids missed out on being with their siblings, and a sense of being part of a loving, caring family was denied. Dr Gregory Smith, now a Lecturer at Southern Cross University, is a Forgotten Australian. At nineteen years of age, having endured many long, hard years in the care system, Gregory went on to experience the pain of social isolation and confusion (inducing many years living a hermit-like existence in the hills outside Mullumbimby).
Despite having few practical skills and little or no formal education, Gregory survived, and went on to thrive. His is a journey of considerable suffering, but also of sense-making and coming to terms with some of the greatest challenges in life. His story is inspiring and yet deeply troubling. It speaks of the injustices inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of people just like Gregory; people who were supposed to be cared for rather than abused and discarded. Gregory is now one of Australia’s leading advocacies for the Forgotten Australians.
Greorgy’s memoir is published by Penguin Books Australia. The Ngara Institute in association with Penguin Books Australia are honoured and delighted to launch this major new work at the Politics in the Pub on 23rd of May. Before the launch, Dr Smith will be in conversation with Dr Richard Hil, his former colleague and now friend.
If you do choose to come along to this event, to listen to Gregory and purchase a signed copy of his book, it will be an unforgettable experience.