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Gregory P. Smith is a Forgotten Australian. Surrendered with his sisters to an orphanage at the age of 10, he grew up ‘in care’. He was released into society at the age of 19 in 1974 – when children’s care was de-institutionalised and the year after the supporting mother’s benefit began.

His current PhD project “Nobody’ Children” is an exploration of Forgotten Australians’ sense of belonging and unbelonging, and fears of returning to care in old age.

Early interviews reveal how deeply some have been hurt by their experiences and how important it is for each person to tell their story – and be believed.

Since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants, services such as Find and Connect have been established and the National Library has recorded interviews with forgotten Australians and carers (Project call number ORAL TRC 6200).

Gregory has completed most of the confidential interviews and will release a report to participants and for publication upon completion.

He believes his research will be an important contribution to Australia’s policies for those who live/d ‘in care’.

Gregory credits important authors, such as Douglas Adams, with transforming his outlook. Douglas Adams thought outside the square and his definition of flying, “throw yourself at the ground and miss”, gave Gregory hope and courage to give society one more chance.

Gregory’s 2007 honours thesis, “I would like to tell you a story but I’m not sure if I can”, was the seed for his PhD thesis.

Thank you, Gregory. I’m glad you had the courage to fly.