The following preliminary symbols developed as attachment skin’s for the registered babies of the Lying in Home (within the Migration Museum). The ‘skins’ were named symbolically to embody meaning in representing the child’s history and in relation to the research acquired from the Museum. Foregrounding environment as a major influence, an imagined prenatal world of colour, form and soft sculpture, supports 26 projected life attachments between mother and child.
Form of agreement between the Destitute Board and inmates of the Lying-in Home
The Destitute Asylum, run by the colonial government’s Destitute Board, was an operational care institution for nearly 70 years, between the early 1850s and 1918. It housed those who had nothing – the destitute, abandoned and infirm. While women had been giving birth in the Asylum since its founding, in 1877 a specially designed Lying-in Home was built, and between 1880 and 1909 over 1600 babies were born in the home. These babies mothers, sometimes scarcely more than children themselves, signed an agreement placing themselves under the legal control of the Destitute Board, and under the practical control of the Lying-in Home matron. This agreement included compulsory residence at the Home for six months after the birth of their child.