'When her mother died Patricia Sykes and her sisters were taken to the Good Shepherd Catholic orphanage in Abbotsford. The year was 1952 and their father had no choice but to send his four little girls away ... Patricia Sykes has found that many memories and mysteries have stayed with her. In her collection of poems, The Abbotsford Mysteries, Sykes relives the experience of growing up in an orphanage in postwar Melbourne.
Sykes interviewed 70 women across Australia who lived there. "I put an advertisement in the paper and I was just bombarded with responses," she says. Sykes did not expect the overwhelming response and was delighted when women and their families travelled to Abbotsford to share their stories. "It's a privilege to share the life experiences of so many other women and for them to trust me," she says. "I hope I honoured our experience. My poems cover a period of 60 years so I'm very fortunate that so many women came forward."
The Abbotsford Mysteries weaves the voices of those women into poems with themes of loss and celebration, with religious symbolism playing a major role' (Melbourne Times Weekly 28 June 2012) .