In 1950, at age 20, my mother was taken to 'The Haven'

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In 1950, at age 20, my mother was taken to 'The Haven', North Fitzroy, Victoria – an institution that was run by the Salvation Army. My mother's name was changed and she was approximately three months pregnant. Her daughter was born at 'The Haven' in July, 1952. My mother remained a resident in this institution until her baby was 6 weeks old. At that time, she had to 'hand' her baby over to the matron of the establishment and leave immediately, without any ongoing support. It was common place for girls and women to be sent to such places and treated with little compassion or dignity. Her local doctor in the town of Trafalgar arranged for this event to occur in my mother's life with her parents.

Mum was taken for 'a drive' to Fitzroy North and had her name changed, as mentioned earlier, to basically turn 'shame' from her family and supposedly herself. The interviewing member from 'The Haven' was very happy that Mum was a nurse and asked questions about her nursing skills.

My mother lost her identity and lived this way for many months, never recovering from the shame and trauma for the remainder of her life.

Every day, while in ‘The Haven’, Mum would hold her tummy and say to herself, ‘Please don't be born baby, then they can't take you from me.’

Mum's father paid the Salvation Army money on a weekly basis to pay for her board. She and the other girls worked every day, looking after children that had been left in the 'home' for various reasons. They also had to clean, scrub wooden floors, complete heavy domestic duties - right until the birth of their babies.

 

In 1950, at age 20, my mother was taken to 'The Haven', North Fitzroy, Victoria – an institution that was run by the Salvation Army.