Australian Orphanage Museum Opening

On 1 April 2023, Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, officiated at the long-awaited opening of the Australian Orphanage Museum in Geelong. The opening included a luncheon and dinner at the Geelong Cats ALF club and the day was attended by around 150 Clannies (care leavers).

You can read more about the opening in James Taylor’s Geelong Times article from 6 April 2023.

Curator, Karen Wykes, recently provided us with some fantastic photos from the day, which you can scroll through below.

Don’t forget to come and visit us, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, to see our permanent exhibition, as well as the recently opened temporary exhibition, Our Lives, Our Stories: Geelong Care Leavers Talking Back to Their Records.


Australian Orphanage Museum Opening

Visitors at the opening of AOM

CLAN CEO, Leonie Sheedy, at the opening

The Hon Richard Marles MP officially opens the AOM

The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP speaks at the opening

Richard Marles, Joanna, Frank Golding, and Leonie Sheedy at opening

Richard Marles giving a speech at the opening of AOM

Bob Atkinson and Jennifer Coate, Commissioners from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

CLAN CEO, Leonie Sheedy, and The Hon Amanda Rishworth, MP

John Eren, retired MP, and ex-member of the AOM committee

Frank Golding, OAM, committee member

Dr Joanna Penlgase, Co-Founder of CLAN, and Pat Griffiths, Secretary of CLAN, in background

The Hon Richard Marles, MP, and Leonie Sheedy, with offical opening plaque of AOM

Permanent exhibition at AOM


Permanent exhibition at AOM

Permanent exhibition at AOM

Frank Golding and Karen Wykes, Curator at AOM, at luncheon at Geelong Football Club

Clannies listening to redress information at luncheon at Geelong Football Club

Luncheon at Geelong Football Club after the museum opening

Luncheon at Geelong Football Club after the museum opening

Santa Terry giving out presents at at the luncheon

The Hon Justice Jennifer Coate giving a speech at the Geelong Football Club

Did you know that the green jacket worn by ex-Royal Commissioner Jennifer Coate is in Australian Orphanage Museum in Care Leavers Activism Room? Jen also donated $150 towards the framing of the jacket for the exhibition.

Thanks to Jen for this kind donation!

Jennifer Coate at the Royal Commission in the green jacket now in the AOM collection

A new temporary exhibition opens at Australian Orphanage Museum, tomorrow Tuesday 6 June 2023.

Our Lives, Our Stories: Geelong Care Leavers Talking Back to Their Records features stories from people who lived in some of Geelong’s thirteen children’s Homes and Orphanages. The exhibition enables the voices of Care Leavers to be heard, reflecting on and talking back to the archival records of their childhoods.

Further information on the exhibition can be found on its dedicated page.

Come and see the exhibition and the museum during opening hours, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm.

The exhibition will continued until late 2023.


Australian Orphanage Museum gratefully acknowledges the Local History Grants Program and Public Record Office Victoria, supported by the Victorian Government through the Community Support Fund.



On Saturday 1 April 2023, the Australian Orphanage Museum will finally open its doors and welcome guests from all over Australia to its official opening by the Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles.

Watch this space for photographs and reports about our long-awaited grand opening!

In July 2022, the AOM welcomed a group of Australian historians, who were attending the annual conference of the Australian Historical Association at Deakin University’s Geelong campus.