4 Nov 2010

Notorious Australian cult, The Family, still flourishing despite child abuse

NOTE BY PERRY BULWER - August 16, 2009

The articles in this post refer to a small cult in Australia called The Family. This cult should not be confused with The Family International, formerly the Children of God, but also known as just The Family. The Family International was also at the center of a child-abuse scandal in Australia as well as several other countries. However, while these two cults are separate groups, the issues of child abuse and children's rights are very similar, as they are to all totalitarian religious groups. See this page for articles on The Family International: http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.ca/p/family-international.html

**********************************

The Herald Sun - Australia August 16, 2009

Rein in Family cult

EDITORIAL



TWO decades ago, Victorians were shocked by revelations about children brought up in the notorious cult The Family.

The Sunday Herald Sun has revisited the main players to find the cult is still flourishing in the Dandenongs.

More disturbing is that cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne remains unrepentant about the cult's treatment of the children.

In 1987, Australian Federal Police and Community Services Victoria raided the cult's property.

They found that 14 children - many with dyed peroxide-blonde hair - had been brought up wrongly believing they were the children of Mrs Hamilton-Byrne and her late husband, Bill.

The children were allegedly subjected to a regimen of isolation, indoctrination and extreme discipline.

All Victorians should demand that such cults are closely monitored and that children are adequately protected.

This article was found at:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25935901-24218,00.html
********************************************************************************



Children from The Family cult, revealing their peroxided hair and identical outfits.
The Herald Sun - Australia August 16, 2009

The Family cult's secrets exposed

by James Campbell


EXCLUSIVE: THE leader of Australia's most notorious cult, The Family, remains unrepentant two decades after the raid that shocked the nation.

Anne Hamilton-Byrne broke her silence yesterday, saying she was ready to die after reconciling with Sarah Moore, the "daughter" who betrayed her to the authorities.

The Family made headlines around the world in 1987 when the Australian Federal Police and Community Services Victoria raided the cult's property at Lake Eildon and took six children into care.

Police later found 14 children had been brought up in almost complete isolation believing they were the offspring of Hamilton-Byrne and her late husband Bill.

In fact none of them was the Hamilton-Byrnes', but children of single mothers who had been pressured into giving them up for adoption or cult members who did not want them.

But it was the way the children had been treated that really shocked the nation.

Hamilton-Byrne had ordered the children's hair be dyed peroxide blonde and they be dressed in identical outfits.

It was also alleged they had been half-starved, beaten and forced to take large quantities of tranquilisers to "calm them down" and even fed LSD when they became adults.

Now, in the first ever interview at her sprawling Olinda compound, the cult leader has defended how she raised the children and attacked those who said she mistreated them as "lying bastards".

Of her critics, she said: "I would love to put them right, but I can't."

She also said she could have sued for defamation, but had decided against any action.

Asked about whether she mistreated her "children", she said: "They were normal children and they could be disobedient to a point, but not all the time."

But she would not discuss any specific claims.

On the issue of alleged LSD use in the cult, she said: "Everything on earth has its uses."

And asked about whether she had any regrets, she would only say: "I've got regrets about losing touch with daughter."

"I'm ready to die now. I don't mind when I go," she said after an emotional reunion with her favourite "daughter" Dr Moore, witnessed by the Sunday Herald Sun.

Inside the compound - one of at least half a dozen properties owned by Hamilton-Byrne - elderly helpers scurried around, avoiding eye contact.

The "wrinkly disciples" wore coloured wigs, with heavy make-up, and are said to be among up to 50 cult followers who still defer to Hamilton-Byrne - some living on the property and others in surrounding hills.

From the moment she invited this newspaper into her home, the frail woman was at pains to show off as many happy group photos as she could, to prove her family was as normal as any other.

"We have our differences like any other family," she stressed, smiling.

The sole male on the sprawling, but crumbling estate was self-professed senior cult member Michael Stevenson.

Dr Moore, also known as Sarah Hamilton-Byrne, had been expelled from The Family two years before the 1987 raid for disobedience, with the curse that she go and die in the gutter, she claimed.

She later qualified as a doctor and volunteered extensively in India and other parts of Asia.

But four years ago her life began to unravel - she developed bipolar disorder. Suffering from chronic pain, she began self-prescribing pethidine, but was caught in 2005.

In December her life took another turn for the worse - she lost her leg, the result, she says, of hospital mistreatment following a suicide attempt.

Having survived, Dr Moore said she has regained her will to live.

Yesterday as she reunited with Hamilton-Byrne, Dr Moore became emotional as remembered their rift.

"I just feel incredibly sad about it," Dr Moore said.

"When I was holding Anne then, I could feel her shaking and crying. I thought 'Why did it have to come to this?' "

Dr Moore said she could not escape the fact that she looked on the 87-year-old as her mother.

"I do love Anne and my feelings are still mixed about her," Dr Moore said.

"For many years I went nowhere near her or the cult.

"I was a prominent part of the public face of those that wanted to expose what happened to us children and to see justice done.

"But, despite perhaps appearances to the contrary, at that time I felt enormous loyalty to Anne. To my mind, I had put my life on the line to oppose her, as I believed at the time that to oppose her, to betray her, was to die."

Dr Moore said she still believed Hamilton-Byrne was responsible for mistreatment of children, but she said the cult leader blamed the "Aunties" for any abuse.

"That's as far she will go in acknowledging any wrongdoing," Dr Moore said.

"Otherwise she is unrepentant. She is a powerful and charismatic person, and I believe she initially meant well with both creating the cult and collecting us children.

"Both acts were in compensation and delusional repair for her own childhood."

This article was found at:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25934639-661,00.html

******************************************************************************

The Herald Sun - Australia August 16, 2009

A twisted controller

by James Campbell


CULT members Patricia MacFarlane and Peter Kibby gave evidence outlining their role in The Family. Here are edited versions of their stories:

MacFARLANE:

Raynor Johnson (the former Master of Queens College at the University of Melbourne) told me of this woman he had met.

He said that one day he answered the door to find a woman standing there. He said this woman's name was Anne Riley and she was spiritual being, or entity.

He said from that moment on he was enthralled by Anne.

In September 1967, my son, Adrian, was killed in a motor vehicle accident. My whole world was ripped apart.

Between one and two days later a woman appeared at our house. I realised she was the Anne Riley with whom Raynor was so besotted.

She believed I should undergo an "initiation" into "The Family".

The initiation was very simple and I don't remember any more of it. I think Anne may possibly have laid her hands on my head, but it was certainly nothing spectacular.

I vividly recall that Anne entered the Cotham Clinic, Cotham Rd, Kew, which was a private medical clinic.

Anne was an in-patient and underwent surgery for a facelift.

She summoned myself, (my husband) Don, John McKay and Elizabeth Whitaker to her bedside.

She told Don and I that we were to seek a divorce immediately.

She told Don he was to move into Elizabeth's house in Kew. She told (Dr) John McKay that he was to leave Jan and obtain a divorce immediately. John was to move in with me.

When I started working as a nurse at Newhaven, the majority of the staff were sect members. The day patients were there for Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT).

Newhaven specialised in the use of LSD and psilocybin (magic mushrooms), Deep Sleep Therapy and ECT.

Most psychiatrists used LSD and psilocybin.


KIBBY:

I was a solicitor on Collins St in the early 1960s when I developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was introduced to Anne through some friends and was convinced she could cure me.

I had two leucotomies - a form of lobotomy - at her suggestion.

I was very close to Anne and was responsible for her all her legal work, forging false birth certificates and adoption papers.

I knew all the inner workings of the cult's finances. But I became disillusioned by her in the late 1980s.

This article was found at:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25934441-2862,00.html

********************************************************************************

The Herald Sun - Australia August 16, 2009

Painful justice

by James Campbell


LEX De Man, the policeman who spent five years bringing The Family cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne to justice, is still haunted by the case and its toll on everyone involved.

And while proud that Operation Forest, the taskforce on which he worked from 1989 to 1994, eventually secured her conviction for perjury, he is still angry Hamilton-Byrne escaped punishment for alleged maltreatment of the children in her care.

Mr De Man said Hamilton-Byrne was lucky the children who had endured beatings, druggings and starvation at The Family's Lake Eildon property were too traumatised to testify against their alleged tormentor.

"One girl looked like she was seven but was, in fact, 11. She was suffering from psycho-social dwarfism," Mr De Man said.

"I didn't think at that time - and even today - that many of the kids would be able to sustain giving evidence in the witness box. I think they'd been damaged too much."

The detective's decision to go after Hamilton-Byrne for falsifying documents came in 1991 when the cult's solicitor, Peter Kibby, decided to co-operate with police.

"Documents don't lie. People lie on documents. A document might be false, but it's a human being that puts the information on it," Mr De Man said.

Kibby then persuaded one of the former "Aunties", Pat MacFarlane, to make a statement.

After months of interviews, and later armed with the evidence to secure a warrant to arrest Hamilton-Byrne, police still took three years to find her.

But when he was told she had been arrested in the US, Mr De Man said he was overcome with emotion.

He then flew to New York where he was met by two US marshals, who handed over Hamilton-Byrne.

"She was a frail, old-looking woman without her wig," he said.

"Her first words to me were 'You're a lot younger than I thought you would be'."

Mr De Man said people were sceptical of the taskforce's success when it was established.

"When we started, people said to us 'You'll never find her and if you do, you'll never interview her, you'll never charge her, you'll never bring her back to this country, you'll never get her before a court and you'll never get a conviction'," he said.

"Four-and-half years later we found her in a joint operation with the FBI, we went and got her and we brought her back, fronted her before the courts and she pleaded guilty - even though the penalty was minuscule - $5000.

"In the end it was about the principle of justice."

This article was found at:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25934442-2862,00.html

**************************************************************************

The Herald Sun - Australia August 16, 2009

Payout for The Family sect victims

by James Campbell



THE Family cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne has paid six-figure sums to two former "followers" who sued her for alleged damage done to them in their childhoods.

Hamilton-Byrne settled the cases for payouts of an estimated $250,000 each.

In the first case, Hamilton-Byrne's granddaughter, Rebecca Cook-Hamilton, sued her in 2007, alleging she had developed psychiatric and psychological illnesses.

She alleged the injuries were caused by the "cruel and inhumane treatment" she had received from Hamilton-Byrne and her servants, including beatings, being locked in a freezing shed overnight and being forced to take tranquilisers.

Ms Cook-Hamilton also alleged her grandmother failed to provide adequate food.

In the second case, cult survivor Anouree Crawford brought a case alleging she was beaten, starved and drugged.

Hamilton-Byrne is also being sued by a former cult member over an aborted property transaction in the late 1990s.

In a writ filed in the Supreme Court, Cynthia Chan alleges she paid Hamilton-Byrne $352,115 to buy a property in Olinda, but that she never transferred.

The writ also alleges Ms Chan paid Hamilton-Byrne $70,400 for another property, which was also never transferred to her.

Hamilton-Byrne said she had no recollection of the matter.

In the 1980s, police estimated Hamilton-Byrne's wealth at more than $50 million.

This article was found at:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25934633-662,00.html

*****************************************************************************

The Herald Sun - Australia August 16, 2009

Creating the family tree


1961 ANNE Hamilton meets Dr Raynor Johnson, Master of Queen's College at the University of Melbourne and renowned authority on mysticism.

1961 (continued) Together they found The Family, a religion based on a blend of Eastern mysticism and Christianity.

1964 Dr Johnson buys land at Ferny Creek, where the cult builds Santiniketan Lodge, which becomes its headquarters.

1965 Hamilton-Byrne marries South African naval officer Michael Riley. The marriage does not last.

1960s The Family begins recruiting cult members from patients at the Newhaven private psychiatric hospital in Kew. The recruits are given heavy doses of LSD.

1968 Hamilton-Byrne begins adopting children with her "husband" Bill Byrne. Both change their surname to Hamilton-Byrne, but do not marry until the mid-1970s.

1970s She buys Broom Farm in Kent, England, and another house in the Catskills, New York.

1983 Australian Federal Police visit the cult's property at Eildon, looking for but not finding missing girl, Kim Halm.

1986 Newhaven hospital closes. The property is later the subject of a lawsuit between Anne Hamilton-Byrne and the descendants of a deceased cult member. She wins.

1987 Australian Federal Police raid the Eildon property, removing six children.

1988 Seven female cult members are jailed for defrauding social security of almost $200,000.

1989 Victoria Police establish Operation Forest to investigate The Family.

1990 Former cult solicitor Peter Kibby confesses to forging birth records on Anne Hamilton-Byrne's orders. Former "aunty" Patricia MacFarlane also gives details to police of her role in the adoption scams.

1993 Anne and Bill Hamilton-Byrne are arrested by the FBI in the Catskills Mountains, New York, after police traced calls made to Australia.

1994 Anne and Bill Hamilton-Byrne are extradited to Melbourne. They plead guilty to perjury through documents and are fined $5000.

2001 Bill Hamilton-Byrne dies. Anne Hamilton-Byrne attends his funeral in her only public appearance since she was convicted in 1994.

This article was found at:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25934637-662,00.html

7 comments:

  1. Herald Sun - July 29, 2011
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/cult-leader-pays-accuser/story-e6frf7jo-1226103806879

    ANNE Hamilton-Byrne, the former head of the Family cult, has made a secret out-of-court settlement with one of her alleged victims, who claimed he was routinely injected with LSD at her behest.

    Ms Hamilton-Bryne, who bleached the hair of children in the sect, and kept them hidden from the world, agreed to the settlement on Monday. Supreme Court documents show at least five former cult members in the past four years have sued the self-appointed mystic for treatment they claimed to have suffered at her hands or under her direction.

    It is believed Ms Hamilton-Byrne, who has dementia that her lawyers say renders her unable to remember the past, has settled at least two other actions and paid an undisclosed amount to shut down the legal actions. Ms Hamilton-Byrne - who lives in a suburban nursing home - also claims the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 destroyed documents relating to her activities and records of people at the Family properties. Court documents also claim other Hamilton-Bryne records were destroyed in a separate fire at Gembrook in June 2010.

    In this week's settlement, Robert Rosanove, now aged 59, claimed he was regularly abused between 1961 and 1974, when he was raised as a member of the Family in a range of locations in Victoria, including Ferny Creek. Mr Rosanove's statement of claim accuses Ms Hamilton-Byrne or her followers of subjecting him to abuse, including:

    FORCIBLY administering psychoactive and hallucinogenic drugs, including LSD.

    FALSELY "imprisoning" and "brainwashing" him.

    FORCING him to take medications not legally prescribed and involuntary admissions to psychiatric institutions.

    DEPRIVING him of "normal social interaction with other children and adults".

    Mr Rosanove said he suffers bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, severe depression, anxiety and sleep problems as a result of the alleged abuse. The LSD doses were allegedly administered during "clearing" sessions and the sect teachings were a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Ms Hamilton-Byrne's "own interpretations", court documents state.

    Ms Hamilton-Byrne, through her litigation guardian, denied the abuse claims. In her defence statement, Ms Hamilton-Byrne argued the courts should not allow Mr Rosanove's law suit to continue because it was too long ago. The Family's Lake Eildon property was raided by the federal police and child welfare officers in 1987 when six children were removed and authorities identified 14 children who had been raised by the cult. In 1993, Anne and husband Bill Hamilton-Byrne were arrested by the FBI in the Catskill Mountains, New York, and extradited to Melbourne.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Battle for control as cult leader deteriorates

    by Chris Johnston, The Age July 22, 2013

    Australia's most notorious cult leader is close to death in a suburban Melbourne nursing home as remaining members of the sect she formed in the 1960s scramble for control, sources say.

    Anne Hamilton-Byrne, 83, led the infamous Melbourne cult, The Family. She has had dementia since 2007 and lives in a nursing home in Wantirna South. Police and legal sources and also former victims of the cult say Hamilton-Byrne is now incapacitated.

    From the 1960s she was the cult's head at properties in the Dandenongs and Lake Eildon where dozens of children, obtained through adoption scams were allegedly kept, treated cruelly and administered LSD.

    The children were told she was a living God and were taught extreme Christianity and Eastern mysticism. Their hair was dyed blond and they were made to dress identically.

    A child victim from the 1970s - now living in regional Victoria - recently visited Ms Hamilton-Byrne. The man, a Pentecostal Christian, said the visit was in the spirit of forgiveness. ''She is in her final lap,'' he said. ''As I walked in, she was asleep on her bed, and she woke up and started rambling about her dogs being burned in a bushfire. There is a total disconnect with reality.''

    Another person who has contact with Ms Hamilton-Byrne said: ''She is in ill-health. But she's holding her ground.'' Ms Hamilton-Byrne's financial and legal affairs are handled by two key supporters, Geoffrey Dawes and Helen McCoy.

    Mrs McCoy runs a wildlife rescue service in Gembrook and is also the principal of a school for disabled children. Neither would comment.

    Along with other key supporters, including Michael Stevenson-Helmer, Peter Lyall (otherwise known as James Buchanan), David Munroe and Olivier Mackay-Dalkeith, Mr Dawes and Mrs McCoy are directors of a company called Life For All Creatures, registered to Mrs McCoy's Gembrook home and live in the Dandenong Ranges. Ms Hamilton-Byrne was a director until 2005.

    Sources said a power struggle had emerged in the sect between Mr Dawes and Mr Stevenson-Helmer over a succession plan once Ms Hamilton-Byrne dies. Mr Stevenson-Helmer, a long-time member who is very close to Ms Hamilton-Byrne, denied she was near death.

    ''As a true yogi, Anne will go when she is willing and ready,'' he said.

    He confirmed the sect still worshipped in the Dandenongs. ''We meditate,'' he said. ''You surmise we are secretive but we have never hidden anything from you people.''

    The cult was originally broken up when Australian Federal Police and a state government agency raided the property at Lake Eildon in 1987 and six children were taken into care.

    In 1994 Ms Hamilton-Byrne and her then-husband were extradited from the United States to Australia to plead guilty to perjury - the only charges they ever faced.

    Since 2010 Ms Hamilton-Byrne's lawyers have used her dementia as a defence in several civil court actions by former victims trying to sue. All have been settled out of court for amounts around $250,000.

    The victims have sought damages for ongoing mental health problems from abuse and cruelty suffered, false imprisonment, mind control and use of drugs.

    In 2010 her physical health also began deteriorating after she fell and fractured bones.

    Ms Hamilton-Byrne still owns at least three properties in the Dandenongs, including the original cult headquarters on the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, and several overseas. Her estate is estimated to be worth between $10 million and $20 million.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/battle-for-control-as-cult-leader-deteriorates-20130721-2qcoc.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Family's 'living god' fades to grey, estate remains

    by Chris Johnston, Senior Writer for The Age May 17, 2014

    Although she can walk and talk, according to former cult members, Anne Hamilton-Byrne, Australia's most notorious cult leader, doesn't talk much. A handful of acolytes still cling to the belief that she is a living god and visit her regularly, while behind the scenes her once plentiful assets and properties are being sold, transferred or given away.

    At 84, she is frail and isolated, cared for inside the dementia care wing at Centennial Lodge nursing home at Wantirna South, a long way from the messianic figure who ruled The Family in Melbourne through three decades from the 1960s.

    'She is lost in a regressed, demented state. Anne doesn't have to be a guru any more.'

    ''She's at least being fed,'' said former cult child and Hamilton-Byrne's ''adopted'' daughter, Dr Sarah Moore. ''She's very demented, rocking back and forth. Her only connection seems to be a plastic baby doll that she talks to and dresses.

    ''She is lost in a regressed, demented state. Anne doesn't have to be a guru any more. You can see the child she was and perhaps see how it all ended up in her grand but disastrous illusion.''

    Hamilton-Byrne has flashes of her old delusional self: a woman born Evelyn Edwards in Gippsland into a family rife with mental illness, who went to school in Sunshine and taught yoga in Geelong before starting her cult and positioning herself as a god.

    Recently, Dr Moore said, cult visitors to the nursing home showed her a DVD about eastern mysticism; when it finished she said to them: ''But I am still the one true master.''

    Moore, 45, suffers from a range of mental and physical illnesses that she partly blames on her horrific experiences, such as beatings, drugs and starvation in the cult, mainly in a house at Eildon, from birth until she was 17. She had one leg amputated above the knee after a botched suicide attempt and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. She suffers severe pain in her amputated leg's stump.

    She was taken from her teenage mother in Geelong by a doctor who was a cult member.

    She qualified as a doctor from Melbourne University after escaping the cult and has worked at the Austin, Royal Melbourne and St Vincents hospitals and Monash University as well as doing voluntary medical work in Thailand, Burma and India.

    Now Moore is confronting that which haunts her by calling for fresh scrutiny into The Family's activities from the early 1960s until 1993, when Hamilton-Bryne and her husband were arrested near New York.

    She said an inquiry into the Newhaven psychiatric hospital, which was in Kew, could reveal how The Family recruited members and sourced LSD. Staff at the hospital were cult members. She said the cult's adoption scams should be investigated - cult lawyer Peter Kibby confessed to forging false birth certificates and adoption papers. Dr Moore said the cult's assets should be seized by the state when Hamilton-Byrne dies and used for compensation to the cult's victims. Despite getting rid of properties, her estate is estimated to be worth more than $10 million. Land titles show she has given two properties in the Dandenong Ranges to a company she is linked to called Life For All Creatures, whose directors are all current cult members.

    continued below

    ReplyDelete
  4. The neighbouring properties in Olinda were cult headquarters. One was her home.

    Dozens of children acquired through adoption scams and cult marriages were imprisoned here and at a property in Eildon until an Australian Federal Police operation freed them in the late 1980s.

    The cult also owns a property in nearby Ferny Creek, on Belgrave-Ferny Creek Road, called the Santiniketan Lodge, designed by former devotee and architect Don Webb.

    ''To us it is a sacred place,'' cult member Michael Stevenson-Helmer told Fairfax Media. ''If you went in there you would feel it. It is our great divine responsibility to preserve it.''

    Stevenson-Helmer, who is related to former governor-general and prominent Melburnian Sir Zelman Cowen, is poised to lead what is left of the cult with Eltham man Geoff Dawes, the son of former senior cult member Leon Dawes and former cult ''aunty'' Helen Buchanan.

    Hamilton-Byrne's squad of ''aunties'' were the women in charge of the cult children. Buchanan later married another senior cult leader, James Buchanan, otherwise known as Peter Lyall, who died late last year.

    Stevenson-Helmer saw Hamilton-Byrne two days ago and said she was ''stable''.

    ''It is always wonderful to be with her,'' he said. He claims not to know anything about her assets.

    Dawes and fellow cult member Helen McCoy, of Gembrook - a wildlife campaigner and principal of a school in Wheelers Hill for disabled children - control Hamilton-Byrne's affairs.

    In New Zealand when a dangerous communal cult called Centrepoint was exposed and leader Bert Potter jailed on child sex charges in 1992, cult assets were seized by the government and given to victims for therapy, counselling, education or poverty relief.

    Dr Moore said the same should happen in Victoria. ''That way she can make a contribution to society.''

    A new inquiry into the cult would ''bring it up to the light'', she said.

    ''It is an indictment on the state that this thing continued for so long and was able to infiltrate the medical system. ''

    Fellow cult child Ben Shenton, now a Christian minister in Perth, said the reason The Family was able to procure children from state institutions and drugs from a research facility was because they were ''too untouchable''.

    ''The money is still there,'' he said.

    Former cult child Wayne Callister, meanwhile, has had allegations of being drugged and cruelly abused by cult doctor John McKay deemed ineligible by the child abuse royal commission. Dr McKay, 82, is a recently retired Ferny Creek GP.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/the-familys-living-god-fades-to-grey-estate-remains-20140516-38fhv.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Authorities launch review after links between notorious cult ‘The Family’ and Melbourne school

    by STEPHEN DRILL, HERALD SUN Australia JULY 26, 2014

    THE Education Department has launched a review after links were revealed between a Melbourne school for students with disabilities and notorious cult “The Family”.

    Cult member Peter Lyall was awarded contracts for architectural work on projects worth $8 million at the Monash Special Developmental School.

    The school is run by Helen McCoy, 64, a close friend of cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne who was subject to an Australian Federal Police raid over claims she fed children LSD, took them from their mothers under forced adoptions and kept them in near starving conditions.

    Ms McCoy told the Sunday Herald Sun she had never been a member of The Family, but confirmed she has power of attorney for Ms Hamilton-Byrne, 84, who has dementia and lives in a nursing home.

    The Education Department is reviewing how Mr Lyall was awarded a contract to design a $7 million redevelopment of the Wheelers Hill school in 2008 and a $1 million hydrotherapy pool in 2011.

    Ms McCoy said she declared her association with Mr Lyall at the time of the tender process.

    It comes as the school faces a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission conciliation meeting on Tuesday.

    The school is accused of restraining disabled children and making them strip naked in front of each other after swimming in the school’s pool.

    Ms McCoy denies any mistreatment of children or that she was a member of The Family, which made world headlines when its Lake Eildon property was raided in 1987.

    “Decades ago I learnt meditation from Anne Hamilton-Byrne and attended an adult meditation group that she ran,” Ms McCoy said.

    “She and I have remained friends since. As her health deteriorated, I was named as one of her powers of attorney.

    “My association with Anne Hamilton-Byrne has never involved any children.”

    A copy of a VEOHRC complaint, dated January 25 this year, has been seen by the Sunday Herald Sun.

    “Children at times get changed at the side of the pool in full view. No dignity and privacy given,” the complaint said. “This has been the case at times when visitors or volunteers are present.”

    Besides the clothes’ changing issues, the complaint also raises concerns about using restraints on children.

    Disability advocate Julie Phillips, who is supporting two parents in their discrimination complaint at the commission, said: “These are some of the most complex and vulnerable kids in the community and some of them are non-verbal, so they cannot complain to their parents about their treatment even if they wanted to.”

    MSDS has more than 180 students with disabilities. It runs a kindergarten, primary school and secondary school on site.

    Ms Hamilton-Byrne’s estate, that still includes property in Olinda, is expected to be worth up to $20 million.

    Dr Sarah Moore, who was born into the cult after her young mother was forced to give her up for adoption in 1969, confirmed that Mr Lyall, who died last year, was a cult member.

    Dr Moore, who wrote a book about her experiences, said money from Ms Hamilton-Byrne’s estate should be used to compensate victims.

    Education Department spokeswoman Anna Malbon said the department would review the procurement process for the tenders awarded to Mr Lyall, but said the department had no evidence of the mistreatment of children at the school.

    A FAMILY WHERE LOVE WAS SCARCE

    THE children starved, while the cats ate pieces of steak.

    Poor handwriting was cause for a beating. A five-year-old allegedly wiggling her bottom while she walked was cause for a beating.

    Inviting someone in for a cup of tea was such an offence that the host was thrown out of the house, disowned and told to die in the gutter.

    continued below

    ReplyDelete
  6. That was life in The Family a notorious cult than ran for decades in Melbourne until one woman, Dr Sarah Moore, managed to escape.

    Months later, in August 1987, Australian Federal Police used her evidence to justify a raid on the cult’s Lake Eildon property.

    Six children were removed by authorities over concerns about their care.

    Anne Hamilton-Byrne, a self-declared God, was at the centre of a circle of misery that she created to feed her ego.

    Now she suffers from dementia and lives in a nursing home, while disciples wait on the sidelines to claim a fortune of up to $20 million amassed from members’ hard work.

    Dr Moore still bears the physical and emotional scars from her time in The Family. She used pethidine to manage her pain, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar and lost a leg as a result of a suicide attempt.

    She said the children, many of whom were adopted in suspicious circumstances, were treated worse than animals.

    “Anne fed the cats and dogs real steak, while we kids were getting nothing,” she said.

    “If you got caught you were in trouble. The cats were seen as cult members who died but didn’t quite get it in a past life so they had not been reincarnated. Animals were higher beings than humans.”

    Hamilton-Byrne ordered the aunties, the name she used for her trusted cult members, to feed the animals good-quality food.

    “Anne never did anything physical in her life, not even make her own bed or get her own cup of tea, let alone feed animals and cook for them or us … that was what cult members were for,” Dr Moore said.

    Some of the children had their hair dyed blond to look like Hamilton-Byrne and were given LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs.

    Dr Moore said she believed that the hair colour was to confuse outsiders about the number of children living in the cult.

    “I think the purpose was to make us look alike so outsiders couldn’t tell difference when she was flying kids overseas ... that probably explains why most of us had several identities, passports and birth certificates,” she said.

    Dr Moore said she was aware of claims of sexual abuse, particularly against the boys in the homes in England and Ferny Creek.

    Hamilton-Byrne claimed she was the mother of the children in her care.

    But in fact, some of them were ripped from their mothers’ arms under forced adoptions; others were created when Hamilton-Byrne ordered them to have sex.

    One cult member was called the stud because he had fathered so many children.

    Hamilton-Byrne enlisted aunties, who ran schools on the sites of her homes, to keep the children under a strict regime of order and punishment.

    Any so-called misdemeanours or bad behaviour would be reported to the matriarch.

    At its peak there were 28 children at the Lake Eildon property, which opened in the mid-1970s, during Dr Moore’s time there.

    But she said there were four sites where there were children.

    Some of the adults worked two weeks in society and two weeks at the homes. Many were nurses who worked night shifts, offering their wages supposedly to further charitable causes.

    But the cash raised during her Thursday night sermons went into furthering her wicked empire and her life of luxury.

    She travelled around the world to her various properties, went on shopping sprees at Harrods and bought Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar cars.

    Following her release, Dr Moore did get in contact with her biological mother, and they are still in contact.

    She maintains some contact with former members. They are now angry about what will happen to The Family’s estate.

    “Ex-cult members should be able to apply for that money and it should be put in a central fund,” she said.

    see photos in this article at:

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/authorities-launch-review-after-links-between-notorious-cult-the-family-and-melbourne-school/story-fni0fee2-1227002815050?nk=c7c99dac543235532ff877b0da9382f0

    ReplyDelete
  7. Read the secret diary that reveals the bizarre beliefs of aliens, super human powers and twisted child mind control inside The Family cult

    by STEPHEN DRILL, HERALD SUN Australia AUGUST 22, 2014

    A SECRET diary uncovered after more than 30 years has revealed how notorious cult The Family trapped people in a web of fear and dependence.

    The 47-page document, obtained by the Herald Sun, shows how cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne convinced followers that she was Christ who had returned to save the world.

    Her cult was based on a mix of warped Christianity, Eastern mysticism and threats of alien invasions.

    Followers were ensnared from her yoga classes across Melbourne and through psychiatrists who referred on patients.

    The warped teachings included:

    * ALIENS were going to invade the earth to cleanse the world of evil.

    * NO-ONE should intervene if children were suffering because they should not interfere with God’s plan

    * HAMILTON-Byrne told followers that she died for a few minutes and rose from the dead to prove her power to a sceptical psychologist.

    * A FOLLOWER believed he was John the Baptist reincarnated, and,

    * MIRACLES were delivered during yoga practices.

    The diary was written by Raynor Johnson, an academic who lived at Melbourne University’s Queen’s College for decades before joining the cult on his retirement in 1964.

    It was kept hidden in a National Bank safety deposit box but was later given to one of the cult members who typed out the handwritten notes.

    Mr Johnson, who was a qualified physicist, left his job and followed Mrs Hamilton-Byrne believing that he was John the Baptist reincarnated.

    “I imagine some of those first disciples must have been when called upon to face the incredible reality that the long expected Messiah of the Jews was among them now,” he said.

    “The first disciples must have felt the same as I had felt. They were right, the others were wrong.”

    The cult made world headlines when it was raided in 1987 — the same year as Mr Johnson died.

    Under Mrs Hamilton-Byrne’s command, children were kept isolated at rural properties and forced to take LSD and other drugs in her search for enlightenment on their behalf.

    Many of the children were allegedly brought into the cult under forced adoptions.

    But the grip that Mrs Hamilton-Byrne had on her cult members was complete.

    Mr Johnson and his wife Mary bought a property at Ferny Creek in 1964 at Mrs Hamilton-Byrne’s request.

    The home they called Santiniketan, and which became a key base for The Family which included a chapel with seating for 120.

    The diaries also give an insight into what may have driven Mrs Hamilton-Byrne to devote her life to controlling others.

    She told Mr Johnson the grief over the death of her first husband Don was a punishment for being too close to him.

    As a result, she devoted herself to her version of God, which meant that she did not have strong attachments to anyone to avoid being hurt.

    “Anne said it was because she had attached herself too closely in love to Don; so She had to learn the hard way again, and God, by taking Don, had taught her,” the diaries say.

    Mrs Hamilton-Byrne, 84, is now living in a Wantirna South nursing home — a fight is expected to occur over her $20 million estate when she dies. She was only ever charged with perjury.

    read the diaries at:

    The Family diaries part one http://resources.news.com.au/files/2014/08/22/1227033/034639-the-family-diaries-part-one.pdf |

    The Family diaries part two http://resources.news.com.au/files/2014/08/22/1227033/040492-the-family-diaries-part-two.pdf

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/read-the-secret-diary-that-reveals-the-bizarre-beliefs-of-aliens-super-human-powers-and-twisted-child-mind-control-inside-the-family-cult/story-fni0fee2-1227033002897?nk=495944fc4e94392f9a1d17348c2267a0

    ReplyDelete