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Unveiling of ‘The Space Between’, the Past Forced Adoptions Commemorative Public Artwork

On 14 July, 2016, the Premier of South Australia, the Hon. Jay Weatherill unveiled ‘The Space Between’, a commemorative public artwork dedicated to parents, adoptees and families affected by past forced adoption practices.

Speeches were given by the Hon. Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia; the Hon. Dr Susan Close, Minister for Education and Child Development; and Judith Cross, CEO of Relationships Australia South Australia to a crowd of 120 attendees at the southern bank of the River Torrens. The Past Forced Adoption community was represented by Liz Hein and Melinda Rackham, both of whom are directly impacted by past forced adoption policies.

“This artwork is a place of public acknowledgement and of bringing out into the open that which for so many years, was silenced,” said Relationships Australia South Australia CEO Judith Cross at the event.

The artwork was funded by the Government of South Australia, Department for Education and Child Development, with a contribution from Arts South Australia, and was coordinated by Relationships Australia South Australia’s Post Adoption Support Services with the help of a steering committee.

The artwork, designed by Deb Jones and Christine Chowla (CHEB Art), consists of a large granite block that had been divided into two, symbolising the separation of past adoption practices. A large boulder sits beside the memorial, serving as an ideal place for contemplation. Smaller stones are scattered on the ground around the boulder, engraved with words and messages reflecting the feelings that adoption separation brings.

After the unveiling, Premier Weatherill led the assembly in scattering rose petals around the artwork as an act of remembrance.

“I am touched and honoured to open this memorial that literally sets in stone our apology and awareness of the lifelong impact of forced adoption,” said Premier Weatherill.