Background


The idea of Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children came in April 2014 when a group of friends met together to share their concerns about asylum seeker children being held in detention centres after seeking refuge in Australia.

Most of the group who founded Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children have been educators in early childhood development. All are grandmothers. All were deeply distressed by reports of the disastrous impacts detention was having on the emotional, social and physical development of children held in detention.

Dr Gwenda Davey's speech at the launch of Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children provides an overview of our cause..

On 28 June 2014 more than 70 grandmothers came to a meeting at St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Fairfield and enthusiastically committed to create a movement with the primary aim being to FREE THE CHILDREN.

We planned carefully for a launch of Grandmothers Against the Detention of Refugee Children on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in central Melbourne right opposite Federation Square and Flinders Street Station. We would carry banners and placards calling to FREE THE CHILDREN and hand out leaflets to supporters and passers-by.

“We also decided to carry one thousand paper dolls representing the refugee and asylum-seeker children in detention. We organised a working bee to prepare for 6th September at St Andrews Uniting Church Fairfield. The working bee happened. The dolls were cut out, the chains to be symbolically cut were constructed, and the wonderful placards were laminated. The banners were organised, the leaflets written and printed.”

On Saturday 6th September, Grandmothers Against the Detention of Refugee Children was launched. The grandmothers came in droves and so did their friends and supporters. We all chanted FREE THE CHILDREN. Denise Scott was M.C.


“Dr Gwenda Davey and Pamela Curr brought tears to our eyes as they described the plight of refugee children in detention. Margret Roadknight moved us all with song. Immediately after the cutting of the paper chains to symbolise the freeing of the children, the whole throng broke into a spontaneous rendition of We Shall Overcome.”

The Grandmothers Against the Detention of Refugee Children movement was officially launched.