ANU Virtual Book Launch: Goodna Girls

Image of young girl, excerpt from book cover

Join ANU historian Professor Carolyn Strange who will launch Goodna Girls, published by ANU Press. This virtual event will be hosted by Professor Laurajane Smith, Head of the ANU Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies.

Goodna Girls tells the story of children incarcerated in Wolston Park Hospital, an adult psychiatric facility in Queensland, Australia. It contains the personal testimonies of women who relate—in their own no-holds-barred style and often with irreverent humour—how they, as children, ended up in Wolston Park and how this affected their adult lives. The accounts of hospital staff who witnessed the effects of this heinous policy and spoke out are also included.The book examines the consequences of the Queensland Government’s manipulation of a medical model to respond to ‘juvenile delinquents’, many of whom were simply vulnerable children absconding from abusive conditions. As Australia faces the repercussions of the institutionalisation of its children in the twentieth century, brought about through a series of government inquiries, Goodna Girls makes a vital contribution to the public history of the Stolen Generations, Former Child Migrants and Forgotten Australians.

Goodna Girls presents the research that informed a successful, collective campaign to lobby the Queensland Government to make long overdue and much-needed reparations to a group of courageous survivors. It holds contemporary resonance for scholars, policymakers and practitioners in the fields of public history, welfare, child protection, education, nursing, sociology, medicine and criminology.

Buy or download Goodna Girls from the ANU Press website:

Dr Adele Chynoweth is a lecturer at the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at The Australian National University. She was also a curator of the National Museum of Australia’s touring exhibition ‘Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions’. She is the recipient of the 2018 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Public Policy and Outreach. In 2020 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to public history.

Professor Laurajane Smith is the head of the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the ANU. Her research focuses on the emotional politics of heritage; she is editor of the International Journal of Heritage Studies and series general editor with Professor William Logan of Key Issues in Cultural Heritage (Routledge).

Carolyn Strange specialises in the history of gender, crime and justice. A professor in the School of History, she is the co-ordinator of the campus-wide network on the History and Legacies of Violence at ANU. She has published extensively on the history of incarceration and public memory in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Date & time

Tue 22 Sep 2020, 6–6.30pm


Online event


Dr Adele Chynoweth FHEA OAM
Prof Laurajane Smith
Prof Carolyn Strange


Adele Chynoweth


Updated:  17 September 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications