Why we are involved:

We believe that detaining refugee adults and children is unjust, illegal under international law, and discriminatory treatment of people legally entitled to seek safety and freedom in Australia.

We are outraged that Australian governments persecute and harm innocent and vulnerable people for political advantage.

We are alarmed that many Australians are either oblivious to or uncaring about this systematic abuse perpetrated in their name.

We firmly believe that refugees should have access to the opportunities and rights enjoyed by all Australians to live safely in the community with their families.

Meet the Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children NSW - 2018 video and 2017 article by Emma Davies Photography


NSW Grandmothers featured in The Big Issue

UWS Masters of Social Work Students interviewed 2 NSW Grandmothers, mid-2019



Dr Gwenda Davey leads the launch of Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children, in Melbourne in 2014. 

How we will achieve our goals

We are grandmothers who have become activists in order to support all refugees entitled to seek protection.

We hold vigils, protests and marches in our towns and suburbs and in the Sydney CBD to promote our cause.

We provide accurate information to the Australian public about what is happening to refugees to demonstrate that detention is unnecessary and damaging.

We participate in refugee rallies and work with other groups committed to protect asylum seekers and their families. 

We have no affiliation with any political party and actively lobby politicians from all parties to stop this damaging practice and adopt humane alternatives to detention. 

We seek help from the media to publish the truth about the rights and the suffering of these men, women and children. 

We earnestly reach out to all honourable women and men in Australia to join us in this important mission.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.
— Maya Angelou - Poet, Civil Rights Activist, Grandmother


What We have Achieved

October 2019 Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children NSW had a name change. From now on we will be known as Grandmothers for Refugees NSW. We will continue to speak out against the detention of refugee children and all policies that cause harm to refugee children. The new name of our group confirms our ongoing commitment for all adults and children who have sought asylum from Australia. We will continue to speak up for all refugees in offshore detention as well as those within Australia. The group will continue to advocate for the just and humane treatment of refugees.

GADRC NSW commenced in February 2015.  To our great sorrow, refugee and asylum seeker children are still in detention (now in Australia), on our watch. 2019 UNHCR figures state the number of globally displaced people reaches record high of 70.8 million. See our BLOG / NEWS Page for current information.  Nevertheless we persist and adapt and our achievements to date include -

- an active Social Media presence - see icons below (in Purple footer to each page)

Protest Vigils in all weathers, where purple shirted Grandmothers engage with  passing members of the Public.  We hold up our Banners, hand out our Purple Contact Details Cards and regularly updated Information Flyers, discuss issues and provide factual information.  

Many of these Vigils have been under the Statue of Queen Victoria, outside the CBD QV Building, where many passers by take photos with us and share widely on their social media.  Some rushing by give us a thumbs up and Like us on Facebook whilst waiting at the traffic lights, some look away and a few are hostile.

Other venues for Protest Vigils included Cronulla, Gymea, Berowra, Parramatta, Burwood, Bondi Junction, Maroubra, Penrith, Hornsby, Wollongong, Gosford, the Blue Mountains, and weekly in Newcastle where there is an active Local Group (see Calendar) .

We also regularly update Placards which we hold up e.g. #SaveMedevac, #toNZ, #KidsOffNauru (now fortunately not required), #ReunifyRefugeeFamilies, #KidsOffAllOff.   Many members of the public take photos with us and post on their social media.

We are constantly out and about.  Some of our past achievements include -

Freedom Ride to Canberra March 2016, when NSW Grandmothers joined a large Victorian  contingent in a cavalcade of purple to ride to Parliament House and made our presence felt.   Over 200 grandmothers descended upon Capitol Hill & Parliament House to speak with our elected representatives about the plight of children in Australian Detention Centres. While ever there is even one child in detention we will continue to speak out against this injustice. Because "One Child in Detention is one too many!" quote Malcolm Turnbull 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IAeKIYrZec&t=2s



- Speech at  February 2016 Rally outside Sydney Dept. of Immigration following High Court decision re Offshore Detention  http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/hundreds-protest-in-sydney-against-asylum-seeker-high-court-decision-20160204-gmlo3o.html

- Talk to Sydney Grammar Secondary Students by Grandmother Gaby Judd, followed by an enthusiastic Q&A 

- Early 2017 interview on Shona Says.  3rd segment is with Grandmother Martine Valentine, just over 9 minutes in.  All worth listening to if you can, otherwise just listen to Martine who is terrific in talking about the particular role of Grandmothers.


What's the matter with Nauru?

There are 65 million people displaced in the world. The Australian government proudly says it has turned away more than 800 illegal boat loads of people asking for our help. 

- ABC Central Coast Morning Radio interview with Grandmothers Gaby Judd and Wendy Power, prior to a sell out screening at the Avoca Cinemas of Eve Orner's CHASING ASYLUM, organised by the Central Coast for Social Justice group.

- Article by Grandmother Jan Williamson published in CommonGroundByronBay 9/16


- Kinderling interview with Gaby Judd


- Snippet in 16 June 2015 Crikey post


- Developed and implemented 2016 & 2018 Federal Election Strategies including meetings with candidates.

- Developed and regularly updated Grandmothers Guidelines for Getting Publicity, including 'fill in the gaps'  Media Releases

- Monthly meetings in Central Sydney, often with Guest Speakers to inform us, including some with experience working in the Nauru or Manus Detention Centres.

- Holding screenings of Freedom Stories and Chasing Asylum in Public Libraries, Community Centres, Churches, including a sell out screening of Freedom Stories at the Leichardt Palace Cinema.

- Travelling to Melbourne to attend the Victorian Grandmothers October 2015 Conference, and their June 2016 Think Tank.

- Built strong links with a range of other organisations advocating for and supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

- Picnics in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, together with family and friends.

- Hornsby Advocate December 2015 Article


- Maroubra Vigil article in Southern Courier July 2016 

- Circulated Letter signed by 57 Academics and prominent Australians challenging the ethical basis of Offshore Detention, February 2016. 

- 9/4/2015 The first public event of GADRC NSW was a "knit-in" on the day of the state election outside the Cronulla electoral office of Cook MP Scott Morrison, led by Dr Di Gosden & Ms Meg Peterson. The event was reported in The Leader (newspaper for St. George & Sutherland Shire):


Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children at Parliament House 16th March 2016 calling on Malcolm Turnbull to live up to his words and let kids out of detention.