articles/lectures, Forgotten Australians, memories

Inside Westbrook

Former inmate of Westbrook Farm Home for Boys, Alfred Fletcher, will speak at the National Museum of Australia on Thursday 1 September 2011 at 12.30 – 1.30 pm, in the Friends Lounge.

Alfred Fletcher was sent to Westbrook Farm Home for Boys in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, in the 1960s.  He was 15 years old.  He lived there for two and a half years until he succeeded in running away.  He likens his time there to living in a concentration camp. He endured floggings that tore his flesh, torture and abuse.  Al records his experiences at Westbrook in his book, Brutal: Surviving Westbrook Boys Home by Al Fletcher as told to Cheryl Jorgensen which was published in 2006 and re-released in 2010. After Al escaped from Westbrook he worked as a merchant seaman and horticulturalist.  He married, has grown up children and now lives in a Bayside suburb of Brisbane. His story is one of many that will be included in the upcoming NMA exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes. Westbrook was established in 1900 by the Queensland Government to reform boys. In 1994 there was an inquiry into the operation of Westbrook and it was closed down.

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