I am a mother of a stolen child and am part of Australia’s white stolen generation. I had my first baby stolen at birth in 1969 and given to a middle class, married couple. The policy of the day was to forcibly take the newborns of mothers if they were unwed. The experience has impacted on my life and that of my subsequent children and grandchildren. It is a trauma that you never get over and at best learn to live with.
I became a human rights activist in 1994. I believe the theft of my newborn was a gross violation of my human and civil rights and as yet no one has been made accountable. In 1994 I joined a mothers’ political rights group: Mothers for Contact. In 1995 with the implosion of that group I set up another group: Origins. I was its first Chairperson. I spearheaded the group leading a campaign that resulted in the NSW Inquiry into Past Adoption Practices (1998-2000). Unfortunately this group also imploded and I retired from activism in 1999. Origins is still operating, but I have no association with it nor does it represent the group I and other mothers set up in 1995.
In 2000 I entered University for the first time and completed a combined degree: Bachelor of Social Sciences and Law. I graduated in 2004 with majors in Sociology, Psychology and Law. In 2006 I graduated with First Class Honours in Sociology and a Graduate Diploma in Law. In 2006 I began a scholarship and completed my PhD with the University of Western Sydney, School of Social Sciences and Psychology in 2013. Whilst doing my doctoral studies I formed an activist umbrella group: Apology Alliance Australia in 2008. I completed the book, Releasing the Past: Mothers’ Stories of their Stolen Babies; A chapter in the book, Other People’s Children titled: The Hidden Tragedy of the White Stolen Generation and had a number of articles published on the Australian Journal of Adoption. I successfully spearheaded the campaign for a Senate Inquiry into the Commonwealth Contribution into Forced Adoption (2010-2012) and to achieve apologies from all AustralianStates and Territories and the Federal Government for the trauma and damage caused by illegal adoptions so labelled: Past Forced Adoption.
I won an Australia Human Rights Commission Award for the best submission submitted to an Inquiry utilising human rights principles awarded in 2013. I sat on a committee that worked with the Federal Government on constructing the formal part of the Prime Minister’s Apology to survivors of Forced Adoption. I presently sit on the Implementation Working Group advising the Federal Government on the most efficacious way of implementing mental health services to the survivors of Forced Adoption.
I was nominated for Australian of the Year Award in 2012 and 2013 for my services in activism and achieving justice for survivors of illegal and Forced Adoption.
Dr. Christine A. Cole
PhD, BSc. (Psych & Sc.) & Law, Sc. Hon, Grad. Dip. LLB.
Stolen Babies Broken Hearts, Doctoral Thesis, available at http://arrow.uws.edu.au:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/uws:17555