If the walls could speak I often wonder if any of these places are haunted today they are all filled with abandonment, fear loneliness, depression, and neglect.
If only the walls could speak.
Another chapter of my life the Minda Remand Centre, it was where the Australian Welfare Government placed children boys and girls age between 10/18, they were divided by a huge sandstone wall which seemed to reach the sky. We waited at the remand centre before attending the Children's Court where the judge would read all the files presented, before placing the child wherever the judge felt fit, it also depended on the child age. This being my first trip I was to be placed in Lynwood Hall in the Guildford area NSW.
Each time I ran away from abuse, humiliation, rape and torture from my foster parents or my foster brother I ended up here waiting and waiting to go before children's court to be placed in another institution depending on my age, I was 12 years old the first time I was placed here. My memories are very clear of being placed here; each time was a different experience due to my feeling of the place or who else was here, sometimes there were bullies who just loved to humiliate new girls.
My first trip here was very intimidating I was scared stiff, every day was covered by the bell; we had mainly female officers who we addressed as yes Miss or No Miss. We all had to see the doctor, within the first few days for a full check up, the main being a virginal examination, which was so disgusting and humiliating the doctor would check to see if a girl was a virgin or not, second to if she had any sexually transmitted diseases, pregnant or had any other problems. This was always such a hideous ordeal for any young girl, it was belittling shameful and fearful. I believe many girls who were virgins were no longer after the doctor forced his fingers into her virgina. There was always young girls' crying sniffling and wondering around the court yard and waiting outside the doctors rooms.
I am sure every child that was placed here would have been full of confusion fear and shame. You just felt like a number, worthless and useless waiting to know what your destiny would be, would it be for good or bad, forever waiting to know were in the hell you would end up, this was so draining not knowing, no understanding no asking the girls where would she like to go. Bewildered and confused just waiting like sheep in a slaughter house.
My second trip which was only 10 months later, I was sent then to Ormond Girls Institution my third trip here I was 15 years old but still fearful of the unknown. Each time you were sent there you knew what to expect you knew the drill your main concern was to stand your ground and not be bullied by any of the older girls or those who were tough re-offenders, who were full of anger and ready to lash out if you looked at them and they believed you were disrespecting them, like a game of cat and mouse. I always felt strong because I had been trained from an early age at my foster placement to stand don't cry so I survived better than most girls, thankfully.
Some girls wet the bed and were shamed, because each morning as we woke up to the bell ringing load and clear in your ear, enough to make you jump like mad to attention full of fear holding up your sheets waiting for the officer to walk past to check each girls, and heaven help if you did have an accident in the middle of your sleep. And then named and shamed and told to shower and take the sheet to the laundry it was horrible. If you had nits again you were named and shamed in front all the other girls, to go to the showers to be douched in special liquid that was shampooed into your hair, that smelt so offensive, one couldn't stand the smell of themselves, let alone another girl.
When I was released from custody when I was near my 18th birthday I remember driving past the remand centre, seeing the site, that it stood out so noticeable, like a child gaol, with high sandstone-walls and bare wire fences right on the main road between Lidcome station and the Bankstown area. It made me feel shame and like a kick in the guts that I was bad a bad little girl. If only the walls could speak.
The Minda Remand Centre was opened in Lidcombe in May 1966, by the Child Welfare Department. It was a shelter and remand centre for children appearing before the children's courts. Minda comprised a court and separate residential sections and schools for boys and girls aged between eight and 18, who stayed on average four weeks. In 1976, when Taldree opened, Minda became a facility for boys aged 18 to 20. In 1991 Minda became a Juvenile Justice Centre, under the control of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Location- Minda Remand Centre is situated at Rockwood Rood lidcombe
from - 1966 - 1991
Minda Juvenile Justice Centre 1991 - 2003
Home, Government-run, Juvenile Justice Centre
Minda Remand Centre
Minda Juvenile Detention Centre