30 Mar 2011

Christian Brothers school built by sex abused child slaves depicted in film on tragedy of UK's child migration scheme

Daily Mail - UK March 27, 2011

How one letter let me expose Britain's worst child abuse scandal

Social worker uncovered the horrors faced by children shipped to far-flung corners of the Empire

By Margaret Humphreys

Author Margaret Humphreys who works at the Child Migrant Trust in Nottingham has had a film made about her work and life reuniting children
Author Margaret Humphreys who works at the Child Migrant Trust in Nottingham has had a film made about her work and life reuniting children

Sitting in a screening room last week, I watched my life portrayed by someone else. A stranger played my husband and there were different children in my house.

My daughter Rachel, son Ben and husband Mervyn had swapped jokes for months about what this moment might be like. Now we were nervous.

On screen, actress Emily Watson appeared as a social worker coaxing a distraught teenage mother into surrendering her baby. I held my breath. A vignette from my life had transported me back 25 years.

The film, Oranges And Sunshine, which opens this week, is based on my memoir.

It tells a story which began in 1986 when, as a social worker in Nottingham, I received a letter from a woman who claimed that, aged four, she had been shipped to Australia by our Government.

Soon afterwards, a second woman told me how she had traced her brother, who had also been sent abroad as a child.

As I researched their stories, I began to uncover what are known as the Child Migration Schemes and, in particular, the most recent one, which came in response to the Australian government's desire to boost its post-war population.

The children had mostly been in the care of voluntary agencies with religious ties.

From the middle of the 19th Century until as recently as 1970, 130,000 British children - some aged just three - were rounded up, with the knowledge and support of organisations such as Dr Barnardo's.

They were put on to ships and transported to distant parts of the British Empire.

Many were told their parents had died but, in fact, few were orphans.

Some were from broken homes or simply placed in care by their parents until they could get back on their feet. Mothers were frequently told their children were being adopted in Britain.

The children themselves were promised a better life, where they would be raised by loving families and enjoy lots of oranges and sunshine - hence the title of the film. In reality, they were often used as slave labour and endured physical and sexual abuse.

Some organisations were so determined these children would never find their way home that their names, dates and places of birth were changed.

In 2002, I was approached by Jim Loach, who was passionate about making a film about this shameful chapter in our history.

Meanwhile, I continued tracing families and organising reunions through the Child Migrants Trust, which I founded in 1987. I also lobbied governments for the public apology the children deserved.

That milestone came in 2010 when Gordon Brown told Parliament: 'To all those former child migrants and their families... we are truly sorry.'

Some migrants managed to find their parents or siblings; others were too late.

The film focuses on a handful of these stories, but its power is not diminished.

These people are survivors; picking up the pieces of their past lives while searching for identity.

Most of us know who we are. Imagine having this stripped away, being unable to get a passport because you have no birth certificate, no real name.

The most frequent statement I've heard is: 'I'm nobody.' That's what they had been told so often as children - their sense of rejection remains profound.

At Bindoon in Western Australia, boys as young as 11 hauled rocks until their hands were blistered and cut.

They were building a school for the Christian Brothers, a place of beauty that hides terrible secrets. I have listened to men sobbing as they revealed what they endured there.

One of the most powerful scenes in the film is of my first and only visit to Bindoon.

We went early on a Sunday. In newspapers that day, a historian hired by the Christian Brothers suggested that child migrants who alleged sexual abused were already sexually active when they arrived in Australia because they were products of British childcare institutions. I was appalled.

I didn't want to go inside the building, but I had no option. I found myself staring at these black-robed men, eating toast and drinking tea.

There was absolute silence. I had been told many times of the terrible crimes committed here. And they knew who I was.

They seemed uncomfortable in my presence. It was probably a moment they had thought would never happen: an Englishwoman confronting them, and confronting Bindoon's past.

I do hope the film reaches a wide audience. Aside from drawing attention to such a scandalous experiment, it has something important to say about loss, identity, family and relationships. I don't need to see the film again. Our search continues.

Oranges And Sunshine, by Margaret Humphreys, is published by Transworld priced £7.99. To order your copy for £7.49 inc p&p call the Review Bookstore on 0 45 155 0730 or visit www.Maillife.co.uk/books

This article was found at:



The Guardian  -  UK   April 7, 2011

Child migrants: 'I didn't belong to anybody'

Harold Haig was among thousands of child migrants who were deported to Australia and subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse. A new film depicts their plight

by Patrick Barkham

When Harold Haig was 10 years old, a man in a suit came to visit. "He said to me, 'Would you like to go to this wonderful place called Australia where the sun shines all day every day and you pick oranges off the trees, live in a little white cottage by the sea and ride a horse to school?'" remembers Haig, who is 73 but looks younger, with Pete Postlethwaite cheekbones and flowing white hair. "While I was letting this sink in, he added, 'Well, you know you're an orphan, your parents are dead, you've got no family, you might as well go.'"

Haig was one of 7,000 children from British care homes who were shipped mostly to Australia and Canada between the second world war and 1967. The scandal of the lies and abuse suffered by these child migrants was exposed thanks to the tireless work of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham, who, in 1987, took it upon herself to help them find their families. As Oranges and Sunshine, a moving new film by Jim Loach – son of Ken – shows, Humphreys defied death threats to discover the truth about these former child migrants and their past lives. When Haig begins to talk, it is eerie because his softly spoken words and manner exactly resemble those of Jack, a traumatised former child migrant in the film who is played by Hugo Weaving. The British-Australian actor met and talked to Haig about his experiences before taking the role.

Apart from the man in the suit talking of oranges and sunshine, Haig barely remembers anything of his childhood in Britain. "Because of my lack of memories, I may as well have been born in Australia when I was 11 years old," he says, bleakly. He was sure he had a sister called Marie, but he could not remember anything at all about his mother: no image, no voice, no smell. "Just a blank. An absolute blank."

Surrounded by other "orphaned" children, the voyage to Australia was an adventure ("we ran riot"). When Haig arrived, he was dispatched to a Church of England boarding school in Melbourne. Other child migrants were less fortunate, as Oranges and Sunshine reveals through the story of Len, played by David Wenham. Many ended up in the care of the notorious Christian Brothers where they were treated as slave labour and suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse. One victim told an official inquiry that his Christian Brother carers competed to become the first to rape him 100 times.

Haig escaped such trauma – he would be beaten with a strap if he did anything wrong – but, as he says: "The thing missing in an institution for children is that there is no love. You get punished but there is no one there to put their arm around you and say it's OK." One of many powerful scenes in Oranges and Sunshine is when the character based on Haig falteringly explains how he feels: "There's an emptiness in me. There always has been and I think the only thing that could fill it was her, my mother." Haig says something similar when he talks of how he married, had three children and established a successful signwriting business: "Anyone would've thought there's a fella who's got everything, but it was like I had a block of ice inside me. I felt empty. I knew I was missing something. I couldn't work out what it was. And there was this feeling – I didn't know who I was. I didn't know where I'd come from. I didn't belong to anybody. I was in this void."

In the 1960s, Haig sank into a deep depression. He was prescribed antidepressants, saved them up and swallowed them all. "I wanted to die. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up to get rid of this pain, this emptiness," he says. His wife, normally a good sleeper, woke up and saved his life. He wishes he hadn't tried to take his life at home, while his children slept.

The "beautiful" younger sister he was always convinced he had eventually traced him through the Salvation Army. Marie had been separated from their mother and Haig, and raised in care homes in Britain; unlike Haig, she remembered her sibling. One day, in 1987, Marie told him she was coming to Australia with a social worker, Margaret Humphreys, who she wanted him to meet. Haig, by then divorced and wandering the Australian outback ("I don't know what I was looking for"), was unimpressed. "I'd seen a lot of social workers and I had no respect for any of them," he says.

While Oranges and Sunshine shows Humphreys struggling to win the trust of some child migrants, Haig quickly came to respect her. She was the first to raise the possibility that Haig had been told a terrible untruth – that he might not be an orphan after all. "I didn't think anyone would be so cruel to tell you that sort of a lie," he says. He is amazed by Emily Watson's performance as Humphreys in the film. "I could've been watching Margaret," he says.

Haig visited Britain for six months in 1989 to get to know Marie, who passed away 14 years ago, and to help Humphreys track down his mother. With so little record-keeping by the authorities, still in denial over the scale of the trauma they created, it took another few years for them to get confirmation that Haig had not been an orphan. His parents had separated during the war, and with two children, no benefits and no relatives nearby, his mother had been forced to give up her son and daughter.

Humphreys discovered Haig's mother had lived two miles from where he was kept in homes (eight institutions in 14 months before he was "deported" – as the former child migrants say – to Australia) and had died just a year before he first visited Britain. The belated release of more suppressed information 10 years ago also helped Humphreys, who was awarded a CBE this year, finally identify Haig's deceased father.

No photographs remain of his mother, and Haig will forever wonder why he was given up and whether his mother tried to find him. As Oranges and Sunshine shows, parents were often deceived by the authorities and told their children had been adopted or even that they were dead. "Mothers went to their graves never knowing that their children were still alive, and happy, and well," says Haig. "It's criminal. I don't know what worse you can do to people."

Why did this happen? For the British authorities, a one-way ticket to Australia was cheaper than looking after children in care homes. For the Australian government, petrified they would be overrun by Asian immigrants, white children were ideal fodder for the racist "White Australia" policy.

In 2009, the Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to child migrants. "It's a day we'll never forget," says Haig, who is secretary of the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families, and is still good friends with Humphreys. Gordon Brown followed with an apology on behalf of the British government a year later.

The trauma of all these state-sanctioned lies and abuse has left a long, scarring legacy. Haig is still estranged from his two daughters who felt deserted when his depression destroyed his marriage. "They think I abandoned them, and in many ways I did. I had trouble looking after myself," he says, anguish in his voice. He has since been reconciled with his son, and he hopes the film might yet bring him back together with his daughters.

"What Margaret did for me and for thousands of child migrants is to give us back our lives, give us back our identity, and shine a light in where there was just darkness." Where would he be without Humphreys? "I have my doubts about whether I'd be here alive," he says. "You should ask, where would all of us be?"

This article was found at:



Germany will compensate thousands subjected to slavery and brutality in Catholic, Protestant and state-run youth homes after WW2

Canadian Indian residential schools designed to assimilate natives traumatized individuals and generations

A brief history of Canadian residential schools designed to indoctrinate and assimilate aboriginal children

Pope expresses 'sorrow' for abuse at residential schools - but doesn't apologize

When will church learn lessons about abuse scandals?

Fresh allegations of historical sex crimes prompts new inquiry into Christian Brothers order in U.K.

Leader of Christian Brothers based in Rome refuses to talk about his role enabling pedophile priest to continue abuse

Christian Brothers cry crocodile tears, say sorry for child abuse


  1. Forgotten Australians call for Royal Commission into sexual abuse

    By Chris Peterson, GreenLeft Melbourne October 16, 2012

    Members of the Forgotten Australians rallied in Melbourne on October 13 to demand a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse, emotional and criminal assault, and torture of children in church and government-run homes, orphanages and foster care homes. The term Forgotten Australian refers to children who were placed in care outside of their family home during the 20th century.

    The Australian Mental Health Human Rights and Law Reform Coalition’s Greg Oke said: “The aim of today is to highlight the lack of resources provided to Forgotten Australians to get some justice for the absolutely hideous crimes that were committed while under state care.

    “Many Forgotten Australians are still living in appalling housing conditions. Many are still suffering from disabilities and traumas inflicted on them by the institutionalised and systemic abuse while under the care of the church and the state. So far nothing has been put in place to help these survivors improve their quality of life.”

    Indigenous rights activist Kelvin Onus-King said: “This is the first time many of these survivors have taken part in a political protest. These people were subject to torture including medical experiments without their consent. Successive governments failed in their duty of care and provide adequate resources to achieve redress and justice.”


  2. The Horror That Was Bindoon (Or: The Orphans’ Fiend)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)

    April 26, 2013 http://lewisblayse.net/2013/04/26/the-horror-that-was-bindoon-or-the-orphans-fiend/

    Bindoon Boys’ Town was a Christian Brothers’ facility in Western Australia. It was run by Br. Kearney, known in his circles as “The Orphans’ Friend” but as a “Christian Bugger” monster by the boys who passed through the facility. It was the first of the old “Homes” to come to public attention, in the late 1980’s. A recent U.K. House of Commons report describes events at Bindoon as “quite exceptional depravity, so that terms like ‘sexual abuse’ are too weak to convey it.”

    The purpose of this article is not to detail the events at Bindoon so much as to provide a concise source of references to that awful place. There have been several books, press articles, television documentaries and even a film based on Bindoon. Former Bindoon boy, Lionel P. Welsh, and co-editor and founder of the Bindoon activist group VOICES, Bruce Byth, published “The Bindoon File”. Lionel also published “Geordie: Orphan of the Empire” and “Geordie: An Incredible Story of the Human Spirit”.

    “Who Am I?” by Robert Taylor, also a former Bindoon boy, was published by Chargan of Perth and, according to the Nothern Territory Times, is available for $35 from Mr. Taylor (see reference below).

    As many of the Bindoon boys were child migrants from the U.K. (see previous posts), the facility caught the eye of Margaret Humphreys, who founded the Child Migrant Trust to fight for the rights of former child migrants and did much to publicize the plight of former residents of the place. Her non-fiction book, “Empty Cradles” became the basis for the film, “Oranges and Sunshine”.

    Alan Gill, a former religion writer, is the author of “Orphans of the Empire.”

    A particularly good, complete yet concise account, presented to the British Parliament by VOICES is available at http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199798/cmselect/cmhealth/755/755ap12.htm

    The gather.com site (listed below) gives an excellent set of photographs of Bindoon Boys’ Town.

    Bindoon represents the epitome of a scheme gone wrong. From the middle of the 19th Century until as recently as 1970, 130,000 British children – some aged just three – were rounded up, with the knowledge and support of organisations such as the Dreadnought Trust, Barnardo’s, Fairbridge and the Big Brother Movement. They were shipped off to the Empire and ended up in places like Bindoon, as “Child Migrants”.

    In 1998 a House of Commons select committee described the migration scheme as “Britain’s shameful secret”. An inquiry by the Australian Senate in 2001 heard stories of rape, abuse and cruelty, including children scrambling for breadcrumbs on the floor and a boy being forced to shoot and skin a horse he considered his only friend. Almost as shocking was the deceit that had been practised on children who had been robbed of their country, roots and identity. “We were told we were orphans, that we had no one,” says Mick Snell, but this was not true. Many were just illegitimate or from impoverished families.

    Although children were also shipped to Canada, Rhodesia and New Zealand, Australia became the favoured destination after the war. The young immigrants were cheap to house and a good source of labour. And, importantly, they were white. As the Archbishop of Perth declared in 1938, at a time when Australia was desperate to boost its population: “If we do not supply from our own stock, we are leaving ourselves all the more exposed to the menace of the teeming millions of our neighbouring Asian races.”

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  3. One former child migrant recalls his welcome to Australia by the Bishop who said “We welcome you to Australia. We need you for white stock. The reason why we do is because we are terrified of the Asian hordes!” This was when Australia had the infamous “White Australia Policy”, introduced by a Labor Government, which banned non- whites from entering, or living in, the country. It was only abolished in the late 1950s.

    Child migration to Canada had been a regular, but small-scale feature of Catholic ‘rescue’ for deprived British children from 1872. The emigration to Canada continued until the Depression in 1930. When the Canadian government finally refused entry to unaccompanied children, Catholic organisations saw Australia as a possible destination for the youngsters.

    One of the major destinations was Bindoon, an isolated institution 60 miles north of Perth, run by the Christian Brothers. The first shock for new arrivals was the desolate landscape; the second was the place itself, an abandoned farm property. It was the boys who were to build Bindoon, and children as young as 10 (some accounts indicate children as young as 8) were set to work, constructing schools, dormitories and kitchens. They hacked at the ground with picks and shovels, and mixed concrete by hand in the blazing heat. Those unable to cope with the back-breaking labour were flogged, sometimes until their bones were fractured. Then there was the third shock of rampant sexual abuse.

    The Christian Brothers member, who headed the place for many years, will be the subject of the next posting, particularly from the viewpoint of the extreme differences of accounts of the man from the boys and from church and state authorities.

    Read more here:

    Authors: Welsh, Lionel P and Byth, Bruce and Welsh, LP (eds); Title: The Bindoon file; Imprint: P&B Press, Perth, 1990; ISBN/ISSN0959660666; Description: ‘The Bindoon File’ is available in Western Australian libraries. Call No. Q362.732 WEL Abstract’

    Welsh, Lionel P, Geordie: orphan of the empire, P&B Press, Perth, 1990. Details: Welsh, Lionel P, Geordie: an incredible story of the human spirit, ELJAE Press, Victoria Park East, 2004




















  4. Brother Francis Paul Keaney, the Abuser (Or: Spare the Rod? No Way!)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)

    http://lewisblayse.net/2013/04/27/brother-francis-paul-keaney-the-abuser-or-spare-the-rod-no-way/ April 27, 2013

    Brother Kearney, of Bindoon notoriety, was a saint to the Catholic Church and a monster to the boys placed in his “care”. The Catholic Church erected a huge statue of him at Bindoon. In a case of typical Aussie larrikinism, former boys at the Home knocked its head off one day. Reports indicate that they were observed attempting to use it as a football.

    One of the six Royal Commissioners, former Senator for Western Australia, Andrew Murray, once described Kearney as “a sadist who indulged in criminal assault and who knowingly protected rings of predatory Brothers engaged in systemic, long-term sexual assault on defenceless children (Hansard 2001, p.27275 – Matter of Public Interest). Presumably, Mr. Murray will be eager to revisit the matter during the course of the Royal Commission.

    Former inmates of Bindoon also pull no punches with regard to “The Orphans’ Friend” (as the plaque on his statue reads) Kearney, an abuser who stood 6ft. tall and weighed 17 stone. Laurie Humphreys says that “I guess you could call him a sadist”. John Hennessy, also from Bindoon, speaks with a stutter which he says is a legacy of being stripped naked and publicly flogged by Kearney. He notes that “At Bindoon, the threat of violence was ever present. The Brothers carried a strap consisting of leather stitched together and a metal weight.”

    In a glowing tribute to Kearney, even the Christian Brothers had to acknowledge that “Conversely, some former inmates remember him as a brutal disciplinarian with an ungovernable temper, who neglected their education, exploited their labour and turned a blind eye to sexual abuse of them by other members of the staff.” Note the use of “some” rather than “all” in that statement. The paragraph concludes, for some reason, with the statement that “An enthusiast, Keaney was easily depressed by criticism.”

    The 2001 Australian Senate Community Affairs and References Committee Report, titled “Lost Innocents: Righting the Record – Report on Child Migration”, detailed evidence which revealed the “depraved, violent and abusive nature” of Brother Keaney and his role in the “systematic abuse of children under his care”. In submissions to the Committee report, individuals who had been abused by Keaney described his brutality; "I lost my teeth at Bindoon – my face kicked repeatedly by Brother Keaney". Similarly - "Br. Keaney was a very sadistic, perverted and deviant paedophile. He abused many of the boys... in his care. Tragically, there was just no one that we victims could go to for help. Who would have believed us anyway?"

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  5. Another former Bindoon resident stated that “The Christian Brothers used to walk around with a thick 18in leather strap hanging from the waist of their long, black outfits, and they'd give you a wallop at the slightest opportunity. They'd hit you wherever they could – be it on the backside or sole of the foot – and boy, did it hurt. Once I was on the receiving end of a real hiding from one of them. He was giving a younger lad a hard time and I must have said something under my breath. He lashed out with his strap and put in his boot. I ended up cowering under my bed, trying to escape him, and was left covered in bruises.”

    Yet another noted that “He liked to prod us with a walking stick, and was one of the cruelest people I've ever met.”

    A secret church report about Christian Brothers’ institutions such as Bindoon in Western Australia from the mid-30s right up to the mid-60s refers to:

    --brothers who were "odd or mentally unstable",
    --of a "sex underworld"
    --of brothers who "shared boys" for sexual purposes
    --and that often the church hierarchy knew of the abuse and did nothing about it.

    Kearney’s Bindoon was billed as an educational institution, but as one former resident claimed, “There was no teaching at Bindoon, and I know of several former inmates who still cannot read or write.” Another reported that “there wasn't much in the way of schooling. I'd always been good at school in England but it pretty much ended overnight. A lot of the boys at Bindoon never learnt how to read or write.”

    A CBS Television documentary aired in the U.S. claimed that, at Bindoon, “The priority was construction. Brother Francis Keaney, an imposing, white-haired Irishman who ran the place, was obsessed with building the largest Catholic institution in Western Australia. He used his charges as labor. From sunrise to sunset, the boys built Brother Keaney's shrine, with no shoes, and no questions asked.”

    When the Christian Brothers arrived in 1939 with the first group of seven boy labourers, the only building on the property was a mud-brick homestead which became their home. After the work of a generation of boys, the facility is grandiose and has been listed by the West Australian Government as a heritage-listed property. The “Statement of Significance” refers to “The design, use of local materials, use of child labour, relationships of the buildings, and period during which they were constructed, make the places exceptionally significant, both individually and in their precinct setting. The place has an exceptional 'sense of place' for the 'boys', and their families.”

    When Kearney arrived in 1940, with another eight boys, foundations were dug and one wing of the first building, the dormitory block now known as Edmund House, was officially opened by 1941. Most of the building work was completed by 1953. During construction, two boys died in accidents and a third died from an undefined cause. They are buried in simple graves on the site, while Br. Kearney’s grave has a large marble headstone, and, of course, a (headless) statue.

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  6. Not only did Kearney use forced child labour to build his edifice, he treated the boys badly in ways other than sexual abuse and violence. One of his slaves remembered that, on arrival, “We were immediately put to work. I learnt how to milk a cow within a week, and then we began constructing a new building. By the time I was 14, I was driving a truck. We'd work, sleep and eat. That was it.”

    He also reported that “We slept on open verandas all-year round – and when a wind blew up, it got pretty cold. Foodwise, we'd get crushed wheat or porridge for breakfast, followed by bread in dripping (cow fat). The rest of the meals were similarly plain: we seemed to subsist on a diet of swedes and turnips.”

    For his efforts, Kearney received Imperial Honours awards, known as an MBE and ISO. Despite all of the evidence of his unworthiness for such prestigious awards, attempts by many people to have the awards rescinded have, so far, been unsuccessful.

    [Postscript: Still up to their old tricks. Christian Brother, Edward Bryan, 59, has recently been found guilty of indecently assaulting three boys.]

    Read more here:






















  7. Eden Park Salvation Army Boys Home: (Or: The Coward)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)

    May 9, 2013 http://lewisblayse.net/2013/05/09/eden-park-salvation-army-boys-home-or-the-coward/

    Eden Park Salvation Army Boys’ Home (pictured above) was run in the 1960s by Salvo Officer, William Ellis. He was a large man who beat, raped and otherwise abused boys over a long period of time. This cowardly man showed how he could dish out punishment, but not take it himself. When found guilty and sentenced to 16 years prison for his crimes, Officer Ellis “shrieked hysterically and refused to leave the courtroom.” His appeal against the sentence was rejected unanimously.

    The modus operandi of religious child sexual abusers varies according to denomination. Mainstream religious groups often rely on the prestige of the offender to get away with their crimes. The child is unlikely to be believed. Further, the victim feels that God is on the side of the abuser, which is why victims from particularly devout families are targeted. In some cases, the religious community in question treats the victim with rejection and other forms of disdain if they report abuses.

    The method of choice for Salvation Army abusers lay in the type of victim. Typically, the Salvation Army relates to people who have been in trouble with the law, or come from very deprived backgrounds. Here, it is not so much the positive reputation of the abuser which gives them protection so much as the low reputation of the victims.

    The Eden Park Home had the typical inmates. These were boys who were described as “troubled”, “delinquent”, “offenders”, ”neglected” , “in moral danger”, “homeless,” etc. Some, of course, were Indigenous youth forcibly removed by the authorities (members of the “Stolen Generation”). Either way, their complaints were easily dismissed against the denials of the Salvation Army.

    When a former worker at Eden Park informed the Dunstan Government in South Australia, of abuses at the home, the complaints were not acted upon. The whistleblower lost his job.

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  8. The South Australian Government has a responsibility to the boys of Eden Park, since it was operated by the Salvation Army under the control of the state government. When asked about the fact that the government had been advised of the problems forty years ago, the responsible minister, Jay Weatherill (now Premier) hid behind the catch-cry of “client confidentiality” to neither confirm nor deny the claim. Dunstan is a political God in the memory of Labor in South Australia, so it is not surprising that many would not like to see his legacy sullied in this way.

    When sentencing Ellis, Judge Michael David described the Eden Park Salvation Army boys’ home as a disgrace. “It was a horrific place by any standards, let alone modern standards,” he said.

    The Salvation Army continues to block moves for decent compensation through litigation, according to victims’ lawyers. The very valuable Eden Park property was sold into private hands in 1997 for an undisclosed sum. That sum belongs to the victims.

    [Postscript: One of the journalists who broke the Eden Park story was Joanne McCarthy, who also broke the Newcastle story (see yesterday’s posting).]

    Read more here:










  9. Salvation Army Fullarton Girls’ Home: (Or: Are Your Hands Clean?)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)

    May 10, 2013


    The Fullarton Girls’ Home (pictured above) was run by the Salvation Army from 1912 to 1987, under funding and control by the South Australian Government. It was unusual in that about 15-20% of inmates were Indigenous girls, many taken away from their families under the “Stolen Generation” policy. A report from that era notes that “many of the girls were very dark.”

    One former inmate, Doreen Kartinyeri, wrote a book with Sue Anderson, about her cultural heritage and includes data on her time in the Fullarton facility. Dooreen was awarded an honorary doctorate. She passed away in 2007.

    Like most girls at the Home, she was trained to be a domestic servant. Much was made by the Salvation Army about such training as being a really good thing. However, it merely reflected the low expectations for the inmates. Some of the girls, who were placed with families under the scheme, were subsequently sexually assaulted.

    Many were merely trained to act white to gain employment. They were also trained to be subservient. One contemporary report noted that “daily life in Fullarton Girls’ Home involved strict routine and abject obedience.”

    The low status was reinforced by descriptions of the girls as “troubled”, “difficult” and “delinquent”, which is typical for the Salvation Army. The Home was usually referred to as a “Probationary School”. Girls who did not toe the line were sent to the Reformatory. This was another typical tactic by the Salvation Army to control inmates. The author remembers the dread inmates felt at the threat of being sent on to the Westbrook Reformatory operated at Toowoomba in Queensland (which was the subject of an enquiry in 1961 for abuses).

    Records note that the majority of Fullarton girls had been charged with, and convicted for, being neglected children by the State Children’s Court. Records from police stations record entries stating “convicted as a neglected child, sentenced to seven years at…” Some were placed there for truancy or other “troublesome behaviour”. Until the 1960s, a child under 15 found smoking in public could be sentenced to one of these Homes.

    In 1997, the South Australian State Parliament issued the following apology to the “Stolen Generation”, after debate specifically mentioning the Fullarton Salvation Army facility: “That the South Australian Parliament expresses its deep and sincere regret at the forced separation of some Aboriginal children from their families and homes which occurred prior to 1964, apologises to these Aboriginal people for these past actions and reaffirms its support for reconciliation between all Australians.”

    The Salvation Army has yet to issue a similar apology for its involvement in the “Stolen Generation” scandal. It now uses the old Home building as its administrative headquarters in South Australia.

    The time people take to get to the point where they can report abuses varies enormously. Sometimes it can be over 40 years. It is likely that, given the lowly status of the inmates of the Fullarton Girls’ Home, more claims will emerge under the impetus of the Royal Commission than have surfaced to date.

    Read more here:



    Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: “A World That Is, Was, and Will Be” (http://www.amazon.com/Ngarrindjeri-Wurruwarrin-World-That-Will/dp/187555971X)




    Doreen KARTINYERI and Sue ANDERSON – “My Ngarrindjeri Calling” (http://www.amazon.com/Doreen-Kartinyeri-My-Ngarrindjeri-Calling/dp/0855756594)

  10. Christian Brothers settle suit with 400 sex abuse victims

    By Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune reporter May 23, 2013

    The Roman Catholic religious order that runs Brother Rice High School in Chicago and St. Laurence High School in Burbank didn't want Brother Edward Chrysostom Courtney in Chicago any longer. So in the early 1970s, the Irish Christian Brothers shipped him to the West Coast and kept the troubling reasons to themselves.

    When he was finally ousted from the parochial system 10 years later, landed in a public school in rural Washington and sexually abused a boy there, those reasons came to light. Law enforcement finally got involved. The Christian Brothers dismissed Courtney from the order shortly before he pleaded guilty to indecent liberties with a child in Washington and became a convicted sex offender.

    On Thursday, more than 80 alumni of both schools plus Leo High School, also once run by the order, learned they would receive compensation from a lawsuit against the order for allowing Courtney and 11 other men to teach despite allegations that those men had sexually abused children.

    The $16.5 million payout to 400 accusers nationwide will come out of a Chapter 11 reorganization settlement between creditors and the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North American Province, known as Irish Christian Brothers. In addition, the order agreed to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for brothers accused of abuse.

    Rising legal costs prompted the Christian Brothers to file for bankruptcy in April 2011. At that time, the religious order notified alumni that they could file claims through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

    "Intense negotiations during the past three months have led to painful concessions in bringing about this mutually agreed upon settlement," Brother Kevin Griffith, deputy province leader said in a statement. "This settlement will allow an opportunity to recommit ourselves to bringing the Gospel of Jesus and the charism of our Founder, Blessed Edmund Rice, to those we serve. The protection of children must remain the highest of priorities in creating safe environments at our ministry sites and in our communities. Let us continue to pray for all those affected by child sexual abuse and ask the Lord for healing and reconciliation."

    Unable to get restitution in federal bankruptcy court until Thursday, more than 30 Chicago-area men filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court earlier this month. More than half of the plaintiffs in that lawsuit said they were sexually abused by Courtney at all three Chicago-area schools.

    continued in next comment...

  11. The order still runs Brother Rice and St. Laurence, but it severed ties with Leo in 1992. The order is not the same as the De La Salle Christian Brothers who run Chicago's De La Salle Institute.

    Nine other brothers and two laymen also are named in the suit: Dennis Bonebreak, Robert Brouillette, Edmund Corrigan, Thomas Duffin, C.B. Irwin, Daniel McDonough, Paul Reycraft, Michael Trujillo and Phillip Vorlick. The suit also named football coach Joe Johnston and wrestling coach Robert Cachor. Johnston died in 1987. Cachor retired in 1998. He denied the allegations on Thursday.

    It's unclear if the order has substantiated any of the allegations against the accused brothers. Unlike many dioceses, the Christian Brothers don't publicize the names of credibly accused clergy.

    In addition to Courtney, Brouillette was convicted in December 1999 of exchanging child pornography with a New Hampshire police officer posing as a trader in an online chat room. Those images were among the roughly 400 images on computer disks seized by police at the Joliet home Brouillette shared with three other Christian Brothers.

    The plaintiffs' lawyers said it took 10 years of litigation against the Christian Brothers to unearth proof that the order and other church officials quietly shuttled Courtney around the country knowing he was a danger to children but not telling law enforcement. After documents surfaced that the order previously said didn't exist, lawyers sued for fraud.

    In minutes from a 1974 meeting, one brother wrote that "Chris is to have no contact with Rice, Leo or Laurence in any way, shape or form." He went on to become the principal of the elementary school at St. Alphonsus' Parish in Seattle.

    Six years later, the Rev. Jeffrey Sarkies, then pastor of St. Alphonsus, "reluctantly" accepted his resignation.

    "Ed, it is important that you understand the reason we were able to keep the matter that led to your submitting a letter of resignation quiet was because the parents concerned, who also admired your abilities, were assured … that you would then terminate," Sarkies wrote.

    "To alter the course would be to run the very real risk of turning this situation into a cause celebre thereby doing damage to your name and reputation and that of the school."


  12. Northern Irelands Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (Or: Ireland Calling)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia) June 21, 2013 http://lewisblayse.net/2013/06/21/northern-irelands-historical-institutional-abuse-inquiry/

    The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry in Northern Ireland is the latest of five child abuse enquiries there. It is particularly relevant to Australia in that it will include Irish children sent here as “child migrants” (see previous posting). It has been estimated that over 100 of them could still be living in West Australia alone.

    Many of these Irish children were sent to the notorious Bindoon facility operated by the Christian Brothers (see previous posting). The HIA inquiry will cover the travel expenses of those who need to give evidence in person, although if enough witnesses are found in Australia the inquiry may travel here to hear their testimony. Witnesses can also give evidence privately. The inquiry is scheduled to be completed by 2015 and to submit its report to the Northern Ireland Executive by January 2016.

    The HIA inquiry head said: “We have to consider whether they might have been physically abused, whether they might have been sexually abused, but in addition we take a broad view of what is abuse, we include emotional abuse, such as humiliation of children. It may also include simple neglect, not feeding people properly, not clothing them properly,”

    There have been concerns expressed from several sources, including the United Nations Committee Against Torture and Amnesty International, that the HIA inquiry will not cover clerical child abuse outside institutions, and would not cover institutions such as the terrible “Magdalene Laundry” (see previous posting). Where it goes further that the Australian Royal Commission, however, is that it covers all forms of child abuse. The Queensland Government’s 1998 Forde Inquiry has been taken as a model for the Irish HIA inquiry.

    Australians can contact the Irish inquiry by phoning 1800 675 920 or through its website at www.hiainquiry.org

    [Postscript: Last night, hundreds of corporate CEOs and politicians, including former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, participated in the St. Vincent de Paul’s “sleeping out rough” campaign in the mid-winter cold, to support action on homelessness. One notable CEO not seen was the Catholic Church’s Cardinal Pell. He is enjoying the northern summer in Rome at his palatial $30 million holiday home, Domus Australia (see previous posting).]

    Image source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/labor-leadership-hurdle-gone-kevin-rudd-has-the-all-clear/story-e6frg6n6-1226667837843

    Read more here:

    TOMORROW: Shreddergate 2

  13. Castledare Boys Home (Or: Shoveling Asbestos)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)
    July 4, 2013


    Image: The Castledare Boys’ Home is now a retirement home for priests http://dynamic.architecture.com.au/awards_search?option=showaward&entryno=20046002

    The Castledare Boys’ Home was one of the notorious facilities operated by the Christian Brothers in Western Australia. Like the others (Bindoon,Tradum and Clontarf), it is worthy of renewed attention by the Royal Commission.

    It was a destination for “child migrants” (see previous posting) from the U.K. and Malta. The Northern Ireland government is currently trying to contact Irish “child migrants” to these institutions (see previous posting). In 1994, the Parliament of Western Australia was presented a petition with 30,000 signatures calling for an enquiry into the Christian Brothers’ institutions.

    Castledare was opened in 1929 to house what the Brothers then called “sub-normal boys”). Later it changed to a facility for boys who were state wards, orphans and child migrants. The abuses which occurred there were typical of the other Christian Brothers’ Homes in Western Australia. A very full account is given in the “Voices” organization’s submissions to the U.K. government and the 2004 Australian Senate’s enquiry (see references below).

    U.K. Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, have both apologized to the “child migrants” sent to these Christian Brothers’ Homes. The Maltese Prime Minister, Mr.Gonzi, unveiled a memorial to Maltese “child migrants” to Australia. It is located in GrandHarbour, and notes that there were 310 such children.

    Various reports over the years (see references below for details) indicated that both government and church authorities were well aware of the terrible conditions, and abuses, at Castledare. Some offenders have been prosecuted, but others have escaped justice because of age or ill-health. This is one of the reasons that the Royal Commission should revisit the Castledare scandals.

    There is also one further matter which distinguishes the Castledare case from other Homes of that era.

    Since 1963, there has been a small scale railway open to the public for children’s rides, at Castledare.

    In Australia, the asbestos building materials producer, James Hardie, has been prosecuted for its product causing the lung cancer, mesothelioma and forced to establish a compensation fund for the many victims, both present and future.

    In 2011, Simon Lowes successfully sued James Hardie for mesothelioma he contracted as a result of visiting the model railway as a child in the 1970s. The pay-out was $2,068,396.93, a record at the time. The asbestos dust came from base materials for the rail track.(see photo below), which had been placed there between 1968 and 1970.

    Image: The Castledare Model Railway

    Given that Mr. Lowes had only visited the facility on 4-6 occasions for periods of about 2 hours at a time, then what was the exposure for the boys at Castledare who had to place the material there, and maintained it with raking, shoveling etc., for several years.

    No former residents have been compensated. No asbestos-related health checks have been conducted by the government health authorities.

    During the Lowes court hearings, Norman Holmes recalled how he and other boys at Castledare used to shift up to nine tonnes of dumped asbestos from piles to swamp areas and spread it with rakes and compact it into solid foundations for the railway. He was often “knee deep in mud and water” working on building the railway, which took between 12 and 18 months to complete stage one and longer to finish stage two.

    continued below

  14. They also carted ‘blue rock’ that was used to form a base for the railway track and dumped material was placed on top of the blue rock,” the court decision read. He and the other boys would be covered in dust from working on the railway; the water would turn grey when they subsequently showered. He typically worked on the railway during the week in the afternoon until 5pm and all day Saturday from the age of six to eight.

    Another Castledare boy, Christopher Wagland, recalled the Brothers making him smooth out 3-4 cubic metres of asbestos dust. “Dust would be blown onto the oval and into the dormitories and classrooms so that the boys were always coughing,” he told the court.

    Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia WA President Robert Vojakovich said children were forced to carry asbestos up to 60m with no protective clothing and in little more than T-shirts and spread it around on the ground.

    A doctor who visited the site in 1972, reported that “The situation at the model railway is intolerable and some means must be found urgently to prevent the exposure of the boys at the home and visitors from the general public being exposed to dust in this way.”

    The asbestos exposure is, of course, not within the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, but it does serve the purpose of giving a background picture of the disregard for the welfare of the Castledare boys by the Christian Brothers.

    One boy, whose name was suppressed out of consideration for the family, had experienced every type of abuse the malevolent minds of his “carers” could think of, also contracted early onset asbestosis. At the time, the issue was not well known to the public, so he had no chance of compensation. He took his own life, in despair.

    Mesothelioma takes a very long time to develop – sometimes over 40 years. The connection with asbestos has only recently been established. How many Home Boys have died of it, undiagnosed?

    The main building has been extensively renovated by the Catholic Church. It is described by its architects as being “restored to its former glory”. It now has self-contained units which are used for retired priests. Most of the land has been sold for a housing estate in what is now sub-urban Perth. The model railway continued to make money.

    The value of the old Castledare Home and land should be donated to a compensation fund for the former boys of the Home.

    Read more here:





















    TOMORROW: The Maltese Connection

  15. The Maltese Connection (Or: The Forgotten Children of Malta)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia) July 5, 2013


    Image: Malta’s Child Migrant Memorial (Source: Times of Malta


    Malta was a source of “child migrants” to Australia. Most attention has been placed on the child migrants from the U.K., largely because there were 7,000 from the U.K. and about 300 from Malta.

    In both cases, children were promised a good life in Catholic Church Children’s Homes in Australia. The reality, of course, was very different, with many suffering all of the known forms of abuse at the hands of their supposed “carers”.

    Maltese boys were placed in Castledare Junior Orphanage, Clontarf Boys’ Town, St Joseph’s Trade and Farm School, Bindoon, and in St Mary’s Agricultural School, Tardun. Previous postings have covered some of the abuses at these Christian Brotherhood institutions.

    About 50 girls were sent out to Western Australia and were placed in the St. Joseph Girls’ Orphanage, Subiaco and Nazareth House, Geraldton. Nazareth House was run by the Sisters of Nazareth (see previous posting) who were responsible for abuses at other institutions they ran in Australia. It closed in 1977 and is now a residential aged-care facility. St. Joseph’s was founded by the Spanish Benedictine Monks and closed in 1974. It catered for girls from six to sixteen years of age.

    While significant information exists about abuses suffered by the boys from Malta, not much is available concerning the girls. It is to be hoped that the Royal Commission will provide more.

    The first group of 27 boys, on assisted passage, left Valetta Grand Harbour on March 26, 1950, for Freemantle in Western Australia, aboard the “Ocean Triumph”. A memorial plaque and sculpture (see photo above) have been placed on the site (activists had wanted a list of names included, but this did not happen). The plaque reads:

    Inaugurated by
    the Hon. Lawrence Gonzi
    Prime Minister
    2 March 2008

    Monsignor Philip Calleja, who ran the Maltese Church’s Emigrants’ Commission for many years, wrote a paper about Maltese child migrants in 2008. It was read out during the unveiling of the child migrants’ monument at the Valletta Waterfront. Following on Prime Minister Gonzi’s 2008 apology, Archbishop Paul Cremona apologized, in 2010, for the Maltese Church’s involvement in the child migration scheme.

    The Australian Government has also apologized.

    In 2011, three former Maltese child migrants began legal action against the Christian Brotherhood for sexual and physical abuses. In Malta, the issue appears to remain contentious, particularly with regard to the role of former Emigration Minister, Dr Cachia Zammit (see Times of Malta link, below)

    continued below

  16. One former child migrant, Raphael Ellul, returned to Malta to reconnect with his past, but also to close a traumatic chapter in his life when, as a 10 year old child, he endured physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers in Australia, in their Tardun and Castledare facilities (see yesterday’s posting). “Ray”, as he became known, was born in 1960 in Cospicua.

    Dr Patrick Howard, who worked with stress-disordered Vietnam veterans and with children in institutions run by the Christian Brothers, states that the six years at Tardun’s Agriculture Farm left Ray with “chronic depressed mood, low self esteem and a feeling of hopelessness.”

    In Tardun, he was forbidden to speak the Maltese language with other Maltese residents and was subjected to beatings whenever he was heard speaking it. During this period he received no specific English language instructions, which inhibited his chances to apply for non-manual jobs later on in his life. Lack of English was a further protection for the Brothers from having victims alert community members to the abuses.

    A few of the Maltese child migrants fared better in their new country, particularly those who were later re-united with family who migrated to Australia as part of the large migration scheme from war-torn Europe.

    One of these was Professor David Plowman who came out at the age of ten, followed three months later by a brother. Eight years after their arrival, Plowman and his brother sponsored their mother and younger brother, who joined the two brothers in Australia as normal migrants. To the Western Australian government’s frustration, half of the Maltese child migrants were reunited with their families within two years, with most choosing to move interstate.

    In 1993, Professor Plowman became Director of the Graduate School of Management at The University of Western Australia. “I have been lucky,” he has said. “Of those who were at Tardun at my time, I’m the only one that I know of with a university education.”

    In the 1990s, the Maltese Professional and Business Association set up the Child Migrants of Malta organisation to help the former child migrants, with Professor Plowman as chairman. He has written an extensive account of the Malta child migrant scheme for a Maltese history journal (see reference below). For these activities he was awarded the Queen’s Birthday honour of Medal of the Order of Australia.

    Hopefully, the current government of Malta will participate in the deliberations of the Royal Commission when the Maltese connection comes up there.

    Read more here:









    TOMORROW: NSW enquiry – week’s wrap-up

  17. Child abuse victim Lewis Blayse's final interview: 'Let no child walk this path again'

    By Conor Duffy, ABC News 7.30 Australia February 3, 2014

    Lewis Blayse had been campaigning to bring the Salvation Army to account for decades after he was abused at a home run by the organisation, but on Friday he gave his final interview to 7.30.

    He died of a heart attack that night.

    Mr Blayse was abused as a boy in the Alkira home at Indooroopilly in Queensland between 1958 and 1960, and helped to raise awareness of the issue.

    The home is currently the focus of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    His daughter, Aletha Blayse, helped him run his blog, which he used to connect victims and provide analysis on the commission.

    On Monday Ms Blayse told 7.30 her father was the happiest she had ever seen him after his interview on Friday and a week of extensive coverage of the allegations against the Salvation Army.

    "He was on top of the world, I've never seen him look so happy," she said.

    "He said now that the media was paying attention that the word would be getting out."

    Mr Blayse's family wanted his final interview broadcast and sections aired on Monday night on 7.30.

    It may be too late for us but, by God, we never want this to happen again, and if the commission does its job it won't happen again.
    Lewis Blayse

    In the interview Mr Blayse said he hoped the final result of the royal commission and the work of campaigners would be that the next generation of children are spared the same pain.

    "Let no child ever walk this path again," Mr Blayse said.

    "That's the most common feeling I've gotten from people. It may be too late for us but, by God, we never want this to happen again, and if the commission does its job it won't happen again."

    Blayse helped get abuse inquiries running

    Ms Blayse says her father had worked tirelessly to expose the abuse and was thanked in Queensland Parliament for his work in getting that state's inquiry into the abuse up and running.

    "When he started a support group for former residents of children's homes in 1990 there was no talk, no knowledge in the broader community," she said.

    At the royal commission on Monday, Justice Peter McClellan acknowledged Mr Blayse's passing.

    "His experience led him to become a strong voice for the victims of child sexual abuse and he contributed significantly to the community concerns which led to this royal commission," he said.

    As well as documenting the abuse at the Alkira home, Mr Blayse told 7.30 about why the alleged sexual assaults were accompanied by so much violence.

    "It was different to most of the other churches and organisations in that it was simply that the boys were too frightened to tell anybody," he said.

    "It wasn't even so much that they weren't believed as that they just wouldn't tell anybody because they were so afraid of the punishment."

    He said the advice he remembered hearing at the home was: "You tell anyone kid and I'll beat the crap out of you."

    The Alkira home is one of four homes being investigated by the royal commission, along with the Riverview Training Farm in Queensland, the Bexley Boys Home in Sydney and the Gill Memorial Home at Goulburn in southern New South Wales.

    To view the video interview go to:


  18. High Court orders Christian Brothers to pay €370,000 to victim of child abuse

    Judge finds congregation took no steps ‘whatsoever’ to supervise abusive brother

    by Patsy McGarry, Irish Times February 19, 2014

    In what is believed to be the highest court settlement in a child abuse case in Ireland, a High Court judge has ordered the Christian Brothers congregation to pay €370,000 damages following sexual abuse of the “most extreme” kind inflicted on a young boy over a five-year period in the 1980s by a since deceased brother.

    Mr Justice Kevin Cross found negligent failure by the congregation in taking no steps “whatsoever” to supervise the brother or prevent him getting access to a vulnerable child, despite having “full knowledge” the brother had previously abused other young boys.

    Even by the standards of the 1980s, the congregation ought to have put in place a system to watch and monitor the brother to ensure he did not have access to this boy or any others, the judge said. There was no evidence of any system put in place or any treatment of this brother that differentiated him from a vast majority of non-abusive brothers, he said.


    Despite the brother having been given a canonical warning in 1960 relating to abuse, it seemed clear the congregation proceeded to treat him in precisely the same manner as every other member of their congregation, the judge said.

    This negligence resulted in the boy being grievously assaulted over a prolonged period of time with significant adverse consequences to him, he said.

    The abuse suffered was among the most extreme he had seen in his legal career and had caused severe injury affecting the man throughout his life, the judge added.

    In evidence to the court, the man, now 42, said the abuse began when he was eight in a Christian Brothers premises in Artane, Dublin, after he had volunteered to help out with gardening. The abuse happened in a store room, a basement and a room overlooking rose beds between three to five times a week in the early 1980s, he said. The brother had also fondled him when he visited him in a convalescent home before his death in 1986.

    In his proceedings, he alleged the congregation was responsible for the management and control of the brother.

    Historical knowledge

    The congregation, he alleged, failed to implement any or any suitable or adequate code of ethics or rules of good practice for Christian Brothers in relation to contact with children despite their historical knowledge of the sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the congregation. He alleged the congregation had breached a duty of care on grounds they were aware or ought to have been aware on December 8th, 1960 that the brother had been given a formal canonical warning by his superiors on account of him “interfering incorrectly with boys”.

    The congregation did not dispute that the man had been sexually abused but it denied negligence and liability and also pleaded the claim was brought outside the legal time limits.

    In his judgment, the judge said he wanted to make clear he accepted the man’s evidence and that he was a truthful witness who had been “severely abused” in a manner that caused him “significant trauma”.


  19. Day two Royal Commission evidence: Regular beatings, sexual abuse and hard labour


    THEY called him “Killer Moore”, the Christian brother whose “liberal” use of a leather strap sparked fear in almost every child at Bindoon Farm School.

    Such was his reputation that Clifford Walsh “feared him” more than any other brother at the institution even though he was also brutally raped by a number of the others.

    Mr Walsh was just nine when he received his first beating by Brother Moore, his second day at Bindoon.

    He learnt very quickly the ferocity of his wrath. And his supposed crime? Being unable to carry a heavy crow bar for three miles.

    Mr Walsh is the fifth person to give evidence at the first public hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sex Abuse in Perth.

    The commission is investigating how the Christian Brothers and successive WA governments responded to allegations of abuse at four homes at Bindoon, Contarf, Tardun and Castledare.

    “I feared Brother Moore than any other,” Mr Walsh told the hearing. “I thought he was liberal with the strap. The other boys and I used to call him Killer Moore.

    “On my second day at Bindoon, when I was nine years old, we were told to we were going to build a fence.

    “A lot of the children were given tools to take to the site. Me and another boy were handed a crow bar and told to take it three miles on foot.

    “After a few hundred yards the bar became very heavy ... we were late arriving at the site.

    Brother Moore proceeded to punch both the other child and myself mercilessly.

    “He punched me mainly to my face but also my chest. I was sobbing uncontrollably. Brother Moore then sat us on his knee and tried to console us. This only made me cry more.”

    Mr Walsh said he thought the treatment was normal.

    “They beat children in the middle of meals,” he said.

    Mr Walsh, an orphan from England who was sent to Bindoon when he was 10, said one brother, Christopher Angus, raped him not long after he arrived at the school.

    Another brother, Bruno Doyle, beat him so frequently, Mr Walsh said he believed the man got a kick out of it.

    “I knew no other life and so I had no life ... I could compare with,” Mr Walsh said.

    Left so traumatised by his experiences at the school, he now has trouble being affectionate with his only son.

    “He hugs me and I hate it,” he said. “When he hugs me I push him away.”

    Mr Walsh said he received no education at Bindoon and was forced into hard labour.

    Justice to him, he said, would be the Christian Brothers admitting the wrong they had done.

    “And doing something about it,” he said.

    Mr Walsh was not the only person to give evidence at today’s hearing about Brother Moore vicious nature.

    Another former resident, VV, whose name is suppressed, also told of how Brother Moore deliberately sewed half pennies into his leather strap for extra weight.

    continued below

  20. He spoke of one particular incident where he received such a “belting” that he thought he was going to die.

    “Brother Moore had worked himself into such a frenzy,” he told the hearing. “He grabbed me and threw me against a door. I hit my head. I was covered in blood.”

    VV explained he developed hearing problems later in life that he attributes to the particular beating by Brother Moore.

    Both men also spoke of the brutal rapes they endured by Brothers Parker and Angus, the constant sexual assaults by Brothers Quillgan, Dick and Tuppin.

    They told how they were tricked into helping the brothers with various tasks, then ended up being forced to perform various sexual acts on the older men. In some instances they were raped.

    VV said he became Brother Parker’s “pet”. He was “rewarded” with kinder treatment, but this only lasted as long as he complied.

    At the end of his evidence, VV said he was assaulted by more than a dozen perpetrators while he was at Bindoon.

    He said nine brothers and a priest, plus five others which included other boys.

    The sexual abuse against Mr Walsh ceased after he ran away, but he endured constant beatings while he remained at Bindoon.

    To this day both men remain shattered by their experiences.

    They are angry they have not received adequate compensation and believe the Christian Brothers should be held accountable.


    A 10-year-old boy was told by a priest to make himself less attractive so as not to be a target for sexual abuse, the commission has also heard today.

    It was also told that Christian Brothers pimped boys out to a visiting photographer at St Joseph's Farm and Trade School, Bindoon, in the late 1950s.

    A witness known as VV told the commission in Perth today that a Christian brother who raped him suddenly announced he needed to confess his sins.

    “Then Brother Parker came back and said I needed to see Father Gerard. Father Gerard sat me down and told me what we were doing was very wrong, and that I should make myself less attractive,” VV said.

    “I should stop leading Brother Parker on, because it was a sin. He told me it was my fault, all the while he sat there sucking a cigar, blaming a child for being assaulted.”

    He said boys were also sent out on picnics with a local photographer, who was known to abuse boys.

    Boys were also promised parcels of land by brothers who used the inducement to groom them.

    When VV – an orphan in care since the age of four in England – arrived at Bindoon aged nine, he was the youngest there and below the 10-year age requirement for the school.

    continued below

  21. Soon after arriving, he was raped by Brother Christopher Angus. After the attack, VV was dumped in a 44-gallon drum of water.

    “He said words to the effect of 'clean yourself up',” VV said. He was also savagely beaten numerous times, and has lost hearing in his left ear.

    Meanwhile, VV's mother tried repeatedly to find him in England. “She was told I was put into a good home in Australia, that I was cared for and loved and that I would receive an education,” he said.

    “She never gave permission for me to go to Australia.” VV never saw his mother again.

    Years after he left Bindoon he was offered $20,000 compensation by the Catholic Church's professional standards office, which later upped it to $40,000 when VV said he found it insulting.

    “This meeting was very intimidating,” VV said.

    “The brothers were not approachable or welcoming and I felt intimidated.

    “I felt like a child again, trying to defend myself.”


    At another school, St Mary's Agricultural School in Tardun, boys were told they were not there to be educated and were needed for hard labour.

    A resident at the school, known as VG, told the commission while working in the heat, boys were often tied just out of reach of a water tap and forced to stay there for hours.

    “They beat us with leather straps that were about an inch thick, three inches wide ... and had a buckle thicker than a belt,” he said.

    When an older boy retaliated against the abuse, three brothers held him down and beat him.

    “I thought the brothers were going to kill him,” VG said.

    When another brother, known as Simon, tried to rape him, VG hit him in the stomach with a chair.

    “I tried to run away but he grabbed my shirt and threw me on the ground,” he said.

    “I then felt the buckle on the back of my head. I don't remember anything after that.” He later tried to commit suicide, he said.

    Yesterday, the first witness, John Hennessey, gave harrowing evidence about the physical, sexual and emotional abuse he suffered at the Bindoon home in the 1940s. He said he would go to his grave a tormented man.

    Over the next two weeks the commission will hear evidence on how the Christian Brothers responded to allegations of abuse.

    It will also hear evidence from representatives of the WA government and the acting director of public prosecutions about the department's response to complaints.

    The hearing continues.