Message board

This blog closed in November 2011 and is not being updated. This is a record of contributions from people who experienced institutional ‘care’ as a child, or wanted to comment inspired by the National Apology in November 2009.

189 thoughts on “Message board”

  1. I am a former child migrant, sent from an orphanage in England to an orphanage – I was 8 years old – in Western Australia (Clontarf Boys Town) in 1953. I suffered for many years from anxiety annihilation as a result of abuse, deprivation etc. Through the Grace of God, years of counselling I was delivered from my “psychological hell.” I was saved, I am saved and I am being saved. Yes, but only GOD knows who they are.

  2. Hello, I am one of you, Forgotten Australians and i have only just looked this up on the computer today. I share a kinship with forgotten australians and would like to tell you my story.

  3. Thanks Heather,
    Lovely to hear from you.

    There are several ways that you can share your narrative.

    The National Library of Australia is recording the lives and experiences of a selected group of Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants. You can express interest in being part of this project by telephoning their freecall phone number: 1800 204 290. More information about this oral history project is available at:

    Also, if you like, you can write down any of your experiences and email them to me at:
    I can then post what you have written online but I will only do so with your permission.

    If you would like to chat to me on the telephone then please feel free to email (
    me your telephone number and I will call you or you can phone me on ph: (02) 6208 5088. I can then summarise your personal history for you, if you like, and post it online that way, but again only with your approval.

    Have a look, too, at the information which you can access via the Contributors tab on this page.

    Thanks again for your message Heather. I hope to hear from you again.

  4. Hello there,

    I was in the convent of Mount Saint Canice in Hobart Tasmania. This was a Magdalene laundry and I spent almost four years in this home. To say this time of my life has was dreadful would be an understatement. i would like to share my story as well.

  5. Thanks so much Janice.

    Thanks for letting us know about Mount Canice. As a result of your response, I have added that to the post on this site entitled “Memento of slavery”.

    Please feel free to email me your story or phone as per my reply to Heather’s response below.

    Thanks again for your comment, Janice. Much appreciated.

  6. This is for Rod Dixon dated 10/1/11.

    Wow : you mentioned pedophile judges come from S.A, I have been told this is true. Do you know of victims that were sexually abused by pedophile judges in S.A. ?
    S. Australian M.P Trish Drapper did a right up in the paper [ I think it was the Canberra Times] aprox 15 yrs ago, high prophile pedophile people in S.A are part of the Family Killers.

    Judge Kirby gives tribute to Scientist Alfred Kinsey, Kinsey was a sadomasochistic pederast and paid other pedophiles to molest children as young as 2 months old.
    Determined detective; Dr. Judith Reinsman has deciated decades of research to exposing the Kinsey con. A documentary on Kinsey was shown on SBS recently.

    Punch on the net Kinsey; Deviancy is the New Normal by Selwyn Duke

  7. My mother Cheryln Rose Elliott was in Winbirra during 1972, whilst she was pregnant with me. She has since passed on and I am looking for information that will help fill some gaps that I have.

    If you were in Winbirra/Winlaton during 1972 and remember my mum, could you please contact me via email.

    Many Thanks

  8. If anyone would like to respond to Jodie Zahra’s query, please feel free to email me at
    and I can pass on either any information you have to Jodie and/or your email address but only with your permission of course.

    I am happy to help either on this site or by emailing privately. Whatever is more comfortable.

  9. My father (Glen David Baylis (or Glenville) has many times sadly mentioned alot of his youth spent at “MITTAGONG BOYS HOME”.

    He was born in 1951, and as far as i know, spent many years (im guessing in his very early teens or even before this between maybe 1955-1965 sort of timeframe) at this institution. he was a wayward kid, who was in and out of homes, and eventually the prison system down the track.

    this was ancient history, we have grown up a very normal life for many years, but Recently also he got his birth certificate, which revealed he has a brother, 2 years older aswell… ROBERT JOHN BAYLIS.. My dad vaguely remembers another figure in his very early youth, perhaps even when he was at the MITTAGONG BOYS HOME. but has limited or no memories of this person.

    I am wondering if by chance…. anyone has heard of, or would know where to find information about my father GLEN DAVID BAYLIS, or his brother ROBERT JOHN, and his/their time spent at mittagong.

    any help or info would be great….
    i’ve always been curious about many of the stories he has told me over the years… both good and bad

  10. I have read the misery of each and everyone of you and I am so very sorry. I know that being an FA is very diffucult. However why haven’t you moved on past the bitterness, for me it has been 52 years and 4 months since my trauma began. At age 40, life was hard. I had Breast Cancer and was the same age as when my mother had been when she passed away with cancer. My life flashed before my eyes and I saw that I had not lived my life but merely survived it. I made the decision to help mysef develop past survival. I went to TAFE and received qualifications so that I could earn a decent wage. I did not tell my children of my history until they were adults. I sacrificed myself for their welfare and the chance of them getting a good education. I led by example with hard work and study. Our lives got a whole lot better.We had our problems with personality differences but I hung in and guided and directed them so that they would never ever have to survive as I did. That they would never be damaged in the way I have been, that no one would ever punish them unreasonably, that no one would ever come to the door for my kids and that when they grew up they would join society, not fight it. I have come to terms with everything that happened, I can never forget or forgive the evil, unprofessional behavior of the employees of the child welfare dept. nor the courts, the law and the minister in charge, the failure of the government to stop the brutality. I just don’t let it eat me. I live my life because I have had grave illnesses that I have defied science with three times, I do not want my granchildren to grow up without me being around and I love my children with a mother tigers heart. I have survived more than the ten years of confinement. I refuse to give the government any more of me! It might help to get into the protests and lobby your local politicians. Otherwise go to a psychologist until you see that beating yourself up contantly is the same as some one else beating you up only thing is you cannot run from yourself. I hope we all survive to see some redress but I would not mark time waiting, there is life to live. Survive people, don’t let the bastards win. Please.

  11. Thanks Maureen,
    Perhaps there is fine line between recording history and moving on. The National Museum is a social history museum, the first of its kind in Australia and our work involves preserving the personal narratives of Australians.

    More can be read about our work here:

    I am sorry if the collection of the experiences of those who lived in Children’s Homes is seen as preventing anyone from healing.

    I wonder, too, if many contributors to this site have in fact moved on, personally, and yet still generously recall their time in Homes in order to add to this chapter in our history so that these precious stories are not lost.

    Nevertheless, Maureen, you raise an important point: does the practice of social history imprison contributors in the past?

    Thank you for your consideration Maureen. You have certainly provided food for thought.

  12. Maureen Redding,

    I dont see F.A as being bitter who havnt moved on as you have stated. I see them as courageous & strong individuals just like yourself. It took many years for F.As to actually talk about what they went through as children in orphanages/institutions, due to shame guilt its their fault & not worthy of life, and there are those who wont speak about it because its too tramatic.

    Thank God for Care leavers Clan, Broken Rites, Child Migrants, Stolen Generation, Lotus and all the others that I havnt mentioned. Because of them F.As experiences would not of been heard today. Thank God for their encouragement and care for exposing what Forgotten Australians suffered as children. Each and every F.A testomonies are priceless their testomonies should be written in history books.

    The Department Of Community Services have learnt from the mistakes in the past with the F.As & Stolen Gerenations and promised children of today will not go through what F.As did.

    Thank God Premier Anna Bligh had a heart and gave Redress to some she made the mistake by closing Redress as there are many who should receive Redress like the girls that were dumped into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment for REBELLION to nuns abuse.

  13. Maureen Redding

    I was moved by your letter, however many of these victims are finding out that the only healing to their pain is to speak out about it. The Governments and the Churches have done next to nothing and washed their hands from the blood on them and said we are not really all that guilty sort of thing.

    The stupid idea of offering these 50-60 year old older ladies” cooking lessons” and the similar sort of help of that nature is evil and ridiculous .You were fortunate in your situation that you had sufficient education to use it to improve your education and life style quite a lot, God bless you for all your efforts. Most of these victims have been abused to such a degree that education was a sad joke which was promised them! Survival was more important to them then than education.
    If this abuse had happened to Politicians and or these Church people , youd never hear the end of it , plus the compo would flow like a river. But their silence is deafening now.

    Maureen , these people do not have any [or extremely very little ] HELP from the Government or the Churches or the Medical Profession that used them as guinea pigs ,…. with the full knowledge of the Government and Churches, and their only form of healing is in ‘talking’ about it. The Government do not want them to talk about this , neither do the Churches as their guilt is quit evident, others like yourself are trying to deny them expression of this “healing ‘ by saying “Get over it and move on ” Where are they that care and offer any help? Where also is the Justice for these people?

    Some F.A.s may of suffered psychological trauma but didnt go through rape torture and many Forgotten Australian children lost their lives.
    The survivers have moved on in life with many testomonies to tell. Thank God the Australian National Museum has allowed them to expose what was done to them with out insinuating they are bitter or have not moved on. Life has gone on for every F.Australian some with wealth good carers, some vagabondsothers extreme poverity.
    Ive noticed the F.As that went through the worst are the ones most silent , so others are voicing for them in righteousness anger .
    I believe if the Government compensated them they would know they are acknowledged and they are genuine in apology not with lip service only but proof by compensation.

  14. I was wondering if my last comment could be removed please..

    I am looking for People who did time in the child psychiatric unit Call stubbs Terrace psychiatric hospital for children.. Children were sent there from princess margaret hospital, it is not Grace Vaughan House like I thought, It is the building next door..

    And just an ask… How do you move on.. you are taken from 1 form of abuse and thrown into different homes with different forms of abuse.. I felt safer walking the streets of Perth by myself.. No one ever abused me as a child when i was walking the steets by myself.. Now I have problems even going out to the shops.. I walk with my head down and dare not look anybody in the eyes.. I wait for who is going to attack or beat me next.. I have found after going through Redress WA i have gone backwards not fowards.. The problems I have with just doing everyday things has got worse.. even a simple hug from my kids creeps me out.. Redress WA has been an ordeal in its self.. It leads to total frustration and you also are reliving everything again..
    Redress WA is just a game to send us over the edge I feel.. We were told we could get our records.. no problems they say.. this is not so.. I got my records.. so much missing.. all case conference reports and all psych reports, all the institutions records not there either.. When i got my records it went to when I was 17.. There was a whole year of wardship missing.. I rung them up and quoted events that went down in that year and they said “oh yes we saw that, we didnt think it was important”… Now if I ask for ALL records, case conference reports psych reports, any reports that made decisions with my life that is what I expect to get.. I asked for my reports from Walcott Nyandi, Longmore and many more homes I was in.. well this is not happening.. to get our records we are told to ring this person, ring that person, then ring the first person you rang, then try this and that and all you get is lead to frustration.. I was very specific in what I asked for.. I feel its just a plot to send us over the edge.. Our government (Colin Barnett) told us we were not worth a max payment of 80k to 45k.. So how are we supposed to feel.. Its just another process to abuse and neglect us all over again.. come forward they say.. tell your story they say.. then we do and they change the rules.. nothing fun about this and instead of moving forward I find my time is ring one place to another being lead to frustration and made to feel little and insignificant all over again..
    So how do we move forward???

  15. As requested I have removed your previous comment DOCS R.

    With best wishes,

  16. Thank you Adele for removing that post.. there is a few errors in my last post but i guess people get the idea..

    We were brought out of hiding as a political stunt for the politicians to gain brownie points.. nothing more… I tried seeing a psych but knowing one thing they feel is wrong I could lose my last child still living at home as she is not old enough to leave home is a big fear.. I trust nobody that has the power to destroy what life I have.. The memories of remain from when I a child being made to go see a shrink when my abuser was the reason they were having so many problems with me and then I am the one locked up in nothing more than i can call a psychcological jail for children forever taunted and teased at school because you were a HOME KID from the Psycho wards.. What problems do you think a child is going to have when burried naked in a hole to their neck with not even a hand free to shoo the flies that were over their face due to tears, tied or chained to clothes lines or trees, beat with a belt that was like 10cm wide but not with the belt but the buckle and then salt rubbed in the wounds or their head rammed into objects or objects wedged in their head because they are not reading properly at 6 years , my abuse was doccumented in many school records but used against me not to help me . Then as they got older the abuse got worse so RUN was the only option.. To be then tagged as trouble and locked up in government and salvation army homes to be raped and told it was my one fault because I ran away from sexual & physical abuse from males in the home and it was all just swept under the rug.. How do you trust the same people that locked you up?? When you know what the government & churches are capable of doing you go through life trusting nobody. Getting help is hard for some.. their fear of what the government may do sticks in their head. And when we see how cold and callous the liberal government in WA are towards us makes us feel awful just like when we were kids… Our government is all about our city looking pretty not whats happening to the people or the children in this city not about helping those neglected by our government “carers”.. Not a second thought to halving a Redress fund telling lies there is no money but theres all this surpluss to waste on new airconditioned government offices and then the people of Perth are told they can live without aircon. We watch the Liberal Government buy art and what not else that is really not needed.. How can we move on when our government pretty much tells us we arent worth anything while they get new offices, art, airconditioning & what not else… In western Australia we were fed Lies.. Colin Barnett smiles when telling us there isnt the money for the Redress WA fund there but in the next sentence there is new this n that happening in or around his offices.. we care they said, we are sorry they said but in the same sentence their actions come across like our years of neglect and abuse are worth nothing…
    The government abuse never ends for us… Sorry is just a hollow word used to fool us into a false sense of security.. All states should be getting equal Redress and services but all we see is some states getting services and some getting redress while others dont this is just turning FA against Fa and state against state where we should all be fighting as one.. It is the Australian Government that were our “carers” it is the Australian government that abused us, neglected us and our needs, did drug trials on us and so many more atrocities.. We would love nothing more than to move on, but we have a very big imprint left in our minds from our “carers”and then we see more abuse and neglect happening to us all..

  17. The horror, the injustice of the victim being punished while the perpetrator goes free.

    I know is it is nowhere near consolation enough but I am so sorry for the way that you were treated DOCS R.

    You are so strong to write your experience.

    And regarding your experience of redress, it is clear that actions speak louder than words.

    Thank you so much for adding to this site, and so powerfully.

  18. Raped at 8. Watched as sisters were tortured, 10yrs in Institutions, bashed because not one in my family came to look for me, and when I found them all they saw me as “different to them”. I know what happened to all of us. I want compensation, I work hard toward the cause of justice for all Forgotten Australians, I am a pain in the politicans arse and will continue to be. I would record my history but I have a plan. Please do not think that at age 7 when I entered the institutions that I was educated. I just read books to try and hide within the fantasy of the story and finally at age 40 years with the help of a kind friend I went to TAFE. If my friend had not enrolled me I would not have had the joy of learning. I know what they did with some. My younger sister was dsylexic and wrote phonetically, I could understand her but the government sent her to Brush Farm as a scholastic retard, she was as bright as anyone, she just had a different way of writing words to paper. Our sister younger than her was raped. The 3 of us had hell. I care for those who were never given or never shown an entry into society. Please do not assume that I don’t ache for justice or that I do not suffer from the years of trauma that I still experience today. My sister and I made a vow to fight the good fight for all Forgotten Australians but especially those who never had the opportunity to stand up and scream for retribution. The poor darling kids that no one ever came along and showed them the way that I was shown. I still become very upset and emotional if I have to address my past and yes I do get on with it, my life for the sake of my grandchildren. I have no one to confide in who understands except other FAs but the government think of budgets. I have had face to face meetings with most of the NSW state politicians and although moved by the story I tell them about the FA, the only response is budgets and policies. I continue to activate my right of protest and spoke in NSW Parliament last Wednesday for the FA when I found out that the Government had reduced the VCT for all NSW residents to enhance their budgets. Clan was there and Leonie spoke for the FAs also. There were no other representatives for the FAs. I work constantly for all of us. Do not judge me, join me in harrassing your local member. Ifeel for us all, I really do but as I said previouly, the bastards won’t get another day of my life, but I still cry at night for what might have been. I am sorry if I offended anyone as this was never my intention.
    For Adele, it does not matter how any of us survive, this sh** is in the frontal lobe of the brain and no one can forget it, ever, no matter how hard, no matter whether they can read and write that some were lucky enough to learn and try to fit in. I am always the freak show in industry because I still think differently to most. I am the high achiever in industry that gets bullied and gossiped about for that difference. I know how disturbing the Apology was for me, I know the inference and insult of no compensation. I know that we all relived the trauma we had tried hard to forget. I also see the number of public servants employed to deal with us, they get a weekly wage on feeding off our misery, we are offered counselling and lip service. I am angry but I choose to be the best person that I can be and if this is wrong then you tell me what is right.

  19. Wow!

    Thanks Maureen.

    Thank you too for what you have taught me in the paragraph addressed to me.

    With best wishes,

  20. To Ash Bayles,
    I spent 3 years in one home at Mittagong and i understand why your dad do’s not say much.
    Please write a letter to clan to go into there news letter and you may find who you seek, i pray you do, i myself do not remember many names as you were a number mostly,
    There was 2 state ward boys homes on Bong Bong road Mittagong and another in town itself,
    A girls home was eastablished in the early 70s as well, there is so much i carn’t recall and best forgot as your dad do’s.
    some kids were fostered as my brothers were and names changed, birth, deaths and marriges must have a record of this.
    kids were told lies about there siblings as were they went.
    mine were fostered and i never seen them for some 40 or so years,
    The Salvation army has whats called the speacil seach unit that i beleave could assist as well, they found my brothers after 40 years,
    Garry Shooks

  21. I have been searching for any information about these two sisters:
    Francis Margaret McCONNELL and Kate McCONNELL. I eventually found their burial in the Nudgee Catholic Cemetery, Brisbane. Deaths recorded as Francis 14/03/1973, Kate 24/01/1969.

    I think that they were orphaned in the late 1880’s when babies. I also found a record of a Phillipa McCONNELL listed on the QLD Mental Asylum record, who I think may have been their mother. Now I am wondering if these sisters were in the Nudgee Orphanage back in the 1890’s 1900’s. and remained connected to the services of the Catholic Church for the remainder of their lives? Can you give me any information regarding this matter,and if not can you refer me to some agency/service who could help me please?

  22. Hi Syliva,
    I can understand your lack of trust. If governments have failed you in the past, why would they serve you now?

    I cannot guarantee that I this site will do everything that you’d like it to but the National Museum of Australia, which looks after this website is genuinely interested in your personal history.

    Why are we interested? Because it is our job. We are a social history museum and so we exist to reveal the stories of ordinary and extraordinary Australians.

    We won’t silence you and we do have some guidelines for contributors at:

    The National Library of Australia has its name at the bottom of this page because they are collecting oral histories of Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants. It is the National Museum of Australia that runs this website.

    Please feel free to call me if you’d like to chat with me about this website on phone: (02) 6208 5088. You can also email me at

    Thank you for telling us your concern. It is good to know what you think. So thank you Sylvia and let me know if there’s anything that I can do to make it easier for you to share your history, if that’s what you would like to do, and we will respect your decision, whatever you decide.

  23. Mt Maria -Good Sheperd Convent – Michelton Brisbane 1960’s

    When I was a young girl I lived with my maternal grandmother in Wavell Heights. My mother was a nutter and kept disappearing and my father was a drunk. She passed away and I was taken by the police (who were very kind) to Mt Maria. I spent a few years there with the nuns from The Good Shepherd.
    Mother Veronica was the head sister. I have no horror stories to tell, I never saw any cruelty, either to myself nor to my other friends in the dorm. There were 12 of us to a dorm. We had lessons, we had art, ballet, piano, acting (I was in “Salad Days” and on opening night ( it was BIG) gave the welcoming speech to the visiting dignitaries). They fixed my teeth, encouraged me to swim, we played hockey, one nun, Mother Julian played the guitar & loved opera & indeed, took 4 of us to see Joan Sutherland. Make no mistake, we were dressed (there was a loft with donated clothes) beautifully and in fashion. I hated the Opera by the way! But have learnt to love it in my old age.!! In NO way do I wish to minimise the experiences of the women who suffered so inhumanely at other institutions. I was still a ward of the state, but I want to say that Michelton was a God send for me, personally. I could have gone to Holy Cross!!! Ugh! There were plenty of horror stories about that place & Nudgee!. The “home” was safe and good. Yes, I did l laundry duty( I was on the mangle taking sheets off it with another girl & I always had a book in my hand at the same time, Mother Pauline (she was Maltese) used to take it off me when she would catch me, but always give it back after my chore was done) – but only on Saturday mornings – for which I was paid 2/6d- which we got to spend in the tuckshop on Saturday afternoons. We had a full threatre on the site and movie houses were generous enough to donate a film every week for us. I remember seeing “To Catch a Thief” . They taught me (by bringing in individuals to show us) how to eat from the inside in,, how to do my hair , grooming etc.The worst thing I did was smoke brown paper & tealeaves with some girls & we had to stand in the corner of the verandah for 4 hours, facing the wall. They got me my first!
    job. It was the Qld Credit Bureau.
    I grew into a “fine” adult and visited the home for a long time after I left. I just want someone to know, there was a “good” home and I was lucky enough to be in it. I am now 61 and I have recently moved to Sydney Parramatta & on one of my walks I saw the Home in Fleet Street and my curiosity was immediate. I have been to visit & enquire so many homes in my travels as a NSW regional consultant & bought so many books on each , my heart hurts for those who were not so fortunate as I was. This does not help these poor, tormented souls – but it should be known that all were not so heartless.

  24. Hi: Lucy,

    Thankyou for telling us your experiences in the home, its great to hear that you were treated great by the nuns which is refreshing to hear and you suffered no harm not even psychological. Indeed you were one of the lucky ones which I find rather astonishing to finally read someone that wasnt effected by a systems of abuse neither experienced psychological, sexual ,torture, not to forget those who lost their lives thankyou.

    We were admitted to the orphanage at 3/4 yrs of age a few years after our father returned from the killing fields in the war he was a front line soldier. Dad had shapnel wounds on his eye brow and back and drank to counteract the memorys of killing fields and sometimes when drunk bashed my mother but not his children as he loved them dearly. Mum not having a home neither a job resulted in us becoming wards of the state and placed into an orphanage because of poverity, I wish we were in the orphanage you were in Lucy.
    I cried my self to sleep many times with no comfort and cuddles that children needed, the psychological abuse started at 3 yrs of age, we were caned for crying and comaned not to cry.
    At 5 years of age at breakfast I tried to eat bread soaked with milk with no sugar. I couldnt comsume it all resulting me vomiting it up unfinished, the nun commanded me to finish and eat everything in my bowel but couldnt so she forced feed the remaining food into my mouth, then canned for performing.

    I was placed into the naughty dark room but threatned to be placed there which was terrifying, everyone in the home we were in knew of the naughty dark room.
    Running away at 7 yrs of age I was wacked with Sister Clares brush, I ate food from school rubbish bins and one time when returning home from school at 14 yrs of age, a black headed pimple faced man lured me into his car. He pushed me onto my back trying to kiss me, I turned my head side to side spitting at him at the same time he was trying to undo my supender belt . I mannaged to get my knees touching my stomach area and kicking him with all my ‘might” that the heal of my shoe came right off, then returned home hours later when everyone was having tea, because that incident took a couple of hours.

    I had a sister in the orphanage that I didnt know I had, some how they kept us seperate from each other, but was introduced as sisters 3 weeks prior to being fostered out to the same foster parents. My sister was with the foster parents for 4 yrs myself 6 years, so I only new my sister for 4 years and no existance of her until 45 years later when Clan informed me how I may be able to find her which I did.

    Lucy, when leaving the orphanage very scared I was not worthy as a person neither life and everything was my fault and carried a lot of complexes such as guilt and everything was my fault.
    Surviving was difficult, sometimes I had to preform sex acts wanking off filhy dirty men as a way of life. One time I met a young man who asked me to his home 4 other men were there un be known to me, they grabbed me and pack raped me. My eyes was on the door planing my escape, the opportunity arose for my escape whilst they were discusing something between them selves after they raped me. I jumped up and ran out the back door for my life terrified and lucky to be alive.

    Having this massive complex everything was my fault, I didnt go to the police thinking they would blame me because I was invited to his house and went, asuming police would would say it was my fault. I did not know there were others in the house and certainly didnt know what was to happen and how could of known as I was very gulliable naive and only 17 yrs of age and still a ward of the state.

    45 yrs later when my sister & myself were conected with the help of government and I spoke by phone to my sister. I asked her what happened when they sent her back to the home from the foster parents. I was numb for a month when she told me the horrific torture she went through from the nuns and what nuns did to other children and her self whist in the orphanage before fostered out and returning to the home.

    My sister had the God given ability to stand up to anyone that treated her bad also defended other children that were treated bad. Nuns dragged children by the hair and caned, my sister stood up to them and the children would come to my sister for protection.
    The nuns hated my sister and couldnt break her sprit to comform their extreeme milatry authority. Many times they shoved her in the pitch black dungeon for hours giving her bread and water telling her she was the devil. One time in front of all the children my sister grabbed the nuns cane and broke it in half. She told me no child should be treated as children were treated by those nuns and she is glad she broke her cane some one had too.
    For adolesecent rebellion and her bad behavour [ standing up to their abuse and systems of abuse], she was placed into an adult mental asylem where they gave her 10/12 electric shock treatments, put her in straight jackets, heavilly drugged worse than a zombie and stated she knew sex was performed on children goods promised to them that they never received. One of the drugs given to the girls in the asylum melted plastic.

    In the orphanage there were many followers and not allowed to be thinkers or express our thoughts, we obeyed with fear and trembelly. The strong ones with the God given abiity to stand up to the abuse were deemed or classified as naughty and consequently copped the worse. If you obeyed bully treatment then no conquences them being the authority children had no chance for standing up to bad abusive treatment.

    My sister belives foster parents specificly fostered orphans to be their work slaves.
    ” Before we went to school,” we had to empty the piss pots into the thunder box which was a fair way from the house, the piss and shit spilling onto your hands when going down the 4 steps which was difficult to do when you were only 8 & 9 years of age. Washing the breakfast dishes making the beds and sweeping the floors with a straw broom. After school we had to chop chips for the fire place put them in the cart with the big wood pull the cart to the house then place the wood in the fire box. We helped with the washing and only we polished the floors on our hands and knees.

  25. My young days were spent at Clontarf boys town WA. from 54 to 1960 under the care of the Christian Brothers and the government child welfare .
    My life there was no diffident to most stories you have heard or read of times by the lads while at Clontarf. BOYS TOWN.

    My biggest concern was the lack of care from the welfare department one I left school. this I have told REDRESS who have totally ignored my concerns due to the fact its government and many of the lads who ended in jail was because of the welfare DEPARTMENTS LACK OF CARE..

    Mr Barnett has ordered they do not investigate the then welfare departments to save face and to put all the blame on to the orphanage .
    when talking to other lads and people from other orphanages and told them of what I see is happening no person was ill treated more than another yet REDRESS has given some people $3000 ,$5000,$ 13000 $28000 ,$40 000, $45000, why.
    One person i spoke too got 45000 and a follow up letter to let him know he was due to get his REDRESS money on top of the already $45000 letter .
    I asked him why he said he had the loudest voice when protesting .. REDRESS is a scam every one should have received the same amount .

    To be escorted to the main gate and told don’t come back no welfare person to guide you only the catholic welfare department who treated every one like dogs.

    I was told 2 times of deportation because I had no papers to say HOW I got into Australia yet the government was taken my tax .
    I had no passport no identity no idea how to do a tax sheet . Ii was dumped on a farm and left to defend for myself .
    when I was shot accidently no welfare department people cam to see me. no case was made for me to claim compensation I was just another BRITISH migrant as was stamped on all correspondence from the welfare departments.

    I had been told my mother dumped ME int o an orphanage in UK yet she wrote me a letter every month and the brothers hid them in a shoe box. under the instructions of the child welfare department . yet REDRESS refuses to accept this as damaging,
    I sent them a 52 page file all of this ignored to save face
    Mr Barnett who was not even born when this was happening IN THE 50S .


    I HAD SIGNED AND WRITTEN ON THE payment SHEET offered to me UNDER PROTEST AND HURT TO SEE THIS GOVERNMENT IS NO BETTER THAN IT WAS IN 1950s 60s. and hiding its own dirty work behind the orphanage brothers and sisters.

    signed Tony

  26. Dear Anthony,
    I am so sorry that Redress is so painful – ‘insult to injury.

    I am so sorry about the way you were treated then and now.

    You matter Anthony, and your personal history matters.

    Thank you for telling the National Museum about your experience.

  27. The so called Christian Church failed us as did the government I am surprised to read one person thank God for Anna Bligh so sad that is all that person can be thankful for remember she was Minister for Families etc in the Beattie government and did nothing to make sure integerity was a foremost option now Premier she has washed her hands of the rape of state wards I challenge Bligh to hold a ROYAL COMMISSION re the abuse of child in state care and Heiner Affair???????

  28. Hi, I was never placed in any kind of home or institution, so I think myself truly blessed.
    However my mother, uncle and brother were and the stories they related to me, well you’d think they would have to be fiction as it’s hard to comprehend one human being doing something so disgusting and sickening like that to another.
    My mother before she passed away related to me what it was like at the Nudgee Home in Brisbane when she and her siblings were put in as a child and the very harsh and cruel treatment handed out by the nuns there. My uncle became an alcoholic for the rest of his life and I understand now why he drank so much, I guess it was his way of forgetting the rape and abuse he received in the boys home.
    My brother was put into The Westbrook Home, Toowoomba and the whippings, sexual abuse and torture there, you’d have thought he was relating tales from the dark ages. I can see how messed up my brother still is and I have to ask you, I wonder how much different my mums life and my uncle and brothers would have been without the so-called care from institutions that truly had no place here on earth or the next place.
    To all who went through absolute hell through no fault of your own, my heart truly goes out to you.
    Thanks for reading

  29. Hi all.
    I am 40 year old woman who spent a very small amount of time at the Allambie Reception Centre in Burwood in the period of 1976-1978, I have no horror stories to tell i don’t even remember it all that much but i do have a need to know more about the place and what happened there (meaning the routines and lay out etc). What i would like to know is if any one out there has any photo’s of that period, did they take group photo’s of the kids and the activities that went on there, i am having a really hard time finding any on the internet, they just dont seem to have much about the place. Any way if anyone has any information that they can share i would be really greatful.

  30. Hi, Steve Koultis,

    In response to your letter dated 14/3/11 about Premier Anna Bligh.
    I agree 100% what you had to say how Premier Anna Bligh has washed her hands with the rape that took place with Forgotten Australians and challenge a Royal Commission.
    Not only rapes, child slavery, dumping children into adult mental asylums for adolesecent rebellion [wasnt rebellion it was standing up to nuns abuse] as a form of punishment, systems of abuse, psychological damage and 5/6 year old girls private parts examined fiddled, resulting no bleeding when having their first sexual encounter hymen damage broken from the examation.
    In the asylum 10/12 electric shock treatments placed in straight jackets, drugged worse than zombies and sexual things were done to state ward children in the asylum, sleeping with a dead body in your ward due to a girl having a fit possibly from having electric shock treatment, nurses called but they failed to come till the following morning.

    What was done to children in the asylums was nothing more than torture and Premier Anna Bligh , SHE KNOWS THAT IT WAS TORTURE and yet she is doing nothing about it.

  31. To Terry Dean and Ron and any other abused children of the Box Hill Boys Home, I would like to get in touch with you. The abuse we suffered will long be remembered and there are groups that can be of help like Open Place in Richmond Victoria and CLAN in NSW.

    Moderator’s note: Stephen very generously provided his email address. Rightly or wrongly, I edited it from his lovely message, because as public servants we have a duty of care to protect and I didn’t want to Stephen to be the target of unwelcome emails and possible viruses.

    However, if any former residents of Box Hill Boys Home would like to contact Stephen, then please feel free to contact me at and I assure you that I will pass on the information.

    Apologies for any inconvenience caused by this policy, Stephen. I am happy to discuss further of course.

    Thanks again for your generous contribution Stephen.

    With best wishes,

  32. Does anyone reading this know any info about a charles Fisher ?
    possibly a state ward. born about 1830.
    maybe from york, eng.
    he also lived in victoria, and was buried at mysia.

  33. Hi,
    I am wondering if anyone may have photographs from 1955-1956 at the Orphanage in Ballarat. The one that I am after is at St Joseph’s later changed to Nazareth House in Sebastopel. The reason (and I hope) is to obtain something relating to myself, and my two younger brothers, Kerry Shane, and Kevin. Kerry Shane known as Shane has passed away in the past three years.
    Thanking you in anticapation,
    Dennis Fogarty

  34. Michael you are AMAZING! I send you much love and a huge hug!

    we can develop into a more peaceful and humane society if less emphasis is placed on anger, hatred and condemnation on real or imagined vices and persons.

  35. A treatise:

    Sex was socially/culturally stifled during my formative years, but this was very much the norm of the Victorian Era. For us Convent Girls we were served a double whammy! many of us had been sexually abused in some way or another already and, any normal development into young women with desire was castrated psychologically by the Nun’s and their insistence of us being sinful little horrors! Catholicism and all it’s grandeur BS about purity and virginity was the icing on the cake for me……….. it distorted my sexuality and femininity even more
    @ a crucial hormonal age. In fact I had one or two periods before I entered the Convent at 13 and never menstruated again for many years. Biology is an amazing thing and can be cut off by psychological trauma.
    Anyway, one of the Nuns, Mother Damian, ended up leaving the convent for a man! I remember she was always a bit of a rebel, young, pretty and she would have her hair poking out from her Vail to Mother Superiors obvious disdain. I got a giggle out of that and, so did Mother Damian. It was all hushed up but it was the local goss -one minute she was there and next poooof she was gone!- I used to fantasize that she was off with her boyfriend having wild sex! even tho I had no idea what that really was…. wild sex that is…. I was just happy for her breaking out of the system.

    Sex or anything close to it was NEVER mentioned. Our bodies were sacred working, praying machines.

  36. I was made a ward of the state at age 14 when my parents and I were forced into children’s court one day and the judge declared I was a ‘neglected child’. I was NOT neglected, Mum had to work in order to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Dad was an alcoholic and a cronic gambler so Mum HAD to work and a dim view was taken on Mothers who left their children at home while they went to work. That was in the early 1960’s wow haven’t things changed. I was taken to the Mt Lawley Receiving home in Perth for a few weeks then sent to a live in job about two hours drive from Perth. My welfare officer NEVER came to check up on me and I was subjected to rape by a co worker, who was MUCH older than me. The couple whose ‘care’ I was in, were in a violent relationship and he would beat her constantly. He was an ex Major in the British army and I remember one evening, ripping the horse’s bridle from his hand as he raised it to hit his wife across the head. I ended up running away from there and went back home but welfare felt I wasn’t safe so took me to the Home of the Good Shepherd in Leederville where I was turned into child slave labour and abuse from religion that I didn’t understand. My Nan was Native American and taught me how to speak with my Creator, by looking up at the sky. I was constantly punished for refusing to bow my head in church after the nuns had convinced me an evil being lived underground waiting to burn me up for eternity. Why on earth would any sane person want to look down there and pray? There were many ways of punishment and abuse and I’m sure you are all familiar with them. I have great respect for all of you who suffered in silence, I know how you feel. My welfare officer never once asked me if I was doing ok, coping, feeling etc. I don’t think we were meant to have feelings. In the convent we were certainly worked like slaves and we didn’t dare touch another girl in case we all turned into lesbians. Welfare did see it fit though, to subject us to an internal examination every 3months, by a man they said was a Dr. I never saw a sign saying this outfront of his house and there was never a nurse present. They would drop us at his house then pick us up about half an hour later, probably after they’d been for coffee somewhere. We were only ever taken one at a time by our individual welfare officer and it was only the welfare girls who had to do this. The ‘private’ inmates weren’t subjected to the abuse, neglect and embarrasment. I’m interested in catching up with anyone who was in ‘Shepherds’ during those times, when President Kennedy was assasinated. I’m 63 now, have 5 wonderful adult children and 8 teenage grandkids. Oh……and I still don’t bow my head when I speak with my Creator.


  38. Alfred i read your coment with interest. I am sorry i dont remember you from Clontarf , its been such a long time since we were all there I do remember a lot of Maltese boys from Clontarf sadly many are not with us today. I have come out to tell my story in suport of others. THE ONLY PAIN I HAVE RIGHT NOW IS TRYING TO WRITE THIS REPLY DUE ONLY BEING ABLE TO TYPE WITH ONE FINGER. I FOUND THE Maltese lads were tough hard workers and they made very good friends. Alfered i have never looked for pity, only i have asked for understanding and acknowlgedment fore the things that hapened to us while we were under the protection of the welfare. Since i left Clontarf i got married and ended up with my wife owning and runing several buisnesses. Alfered keep in contact best of wishes Michael.

  39. Garry Shooks -Your poems brought tears to my eyes. Barnardos is a painful memory for me (as it probably is for you and your sister). I still do not understand why I was branded the ‘bad’ one because I wanted to escape a paedophile father. Great system we have, especially when he was/is still given access to children. Keep writing, it is a good healer.

  40. My sister and I were sent to a girls orphanage by the name of Tufnell Home. My sister and I found ourselves uprooted from a fairly comfortable home life and sent to this home. On arrival at this homestead (way out on the Darling Downs) and having our own clothes taken from us and put in a uniform, our hair was cut and we were seperated, my sister going into a room with some older girls, while I placed on a single bed in the corridor.
    I did not find it as difficult as my sister did and we spent some months there until it was discovered we were not true orphans, still having both our parents still living. We were sent back to out grandmother in Toowoomba.
    I have tried over the years to find out more about Tufnell Home at Westbrook but everytime I came up against a brick wall. It appears that no records have survived and I was told to write to the Drayton Church, which I did but they could only tell me that we were at Westbrook between 1942-45 and nothing else. My sister and I cannot agree on how long we stayed there.

    Where did these children come from, I can remember being told that the children and the sisters had been sent from Brisbane because the Americans had taken over their building. What happened to these children after my sister and I left? did they go back to Brisbane.

    I have tried to find anyone who was there during this time or descandants, but nothing, only from those who were in Brisbane before and after this time. We were well treated even if we ha to walk miles to school and church and did not received much attention from the sisters, but why the mystery as to when these children were removed from Brisbane.

  41. Hi Dennis I was at St Joseph’s baby’s home from 56-61 I have a couple of old ones someone sent me and also have some that have been taken in the last few years. Not sure whether you want me to post them here or not so I will send them on to Adele to send to you. Were you sent over to the boys part. I remember when you turned 5 the boys were sent to Nazareth Boys which was right next door and the girls were sent to Nazareth Girls which was in Ballarat. You may know my brothers. cheers Gabbi

  42. How wonderful Gabbi,
    I’m more than happy to pass the photos onto Dennis.

    Thank you so much.

  43. Hello Adele,
    Thank you for uploading the picture of “My Ireland” little apron given to me by Sister Judith Kelly when I was a young child at Kincumber Children Home on the central coast in NSW, Australia. I am grateful to you for accepting this piece as it is such a positive story in so many dreadful memories. I fully acknowledge the dreadful part of this Forgotten Australian story as I to have this part to my story. This apron was given to me by a beautiful light in my life. I wish to share this light with all of Australia. Mary Brownlee xo

  44. im been searching for answers, seeing noone knows how perthic [pathetic]. but What really happened to us children. I was told some intersting things lately that got me thinking and researching and it’s true that in Canada 67 orphans were lobotomized, psychiatrists cut their brains out then sent their bodies to the Universities to be dissected? Eugenics was widely popular in the early decades of the 20th century, but by the late 20th century it had fallen into disfavor, having become associated with Nazi Germany. And Vienne au compared the cold water plunges and the drug use to experiments performed on children in Nazi-run concentration camps in Europe. The So called British Christian policies kill lots of aboriginals and Hundreds of tribes disappear. Then there’s the Stolen Generations. For many years human trafficking is been going on in Australia and still is. For years white babies were getting taking off their mother at some hospitals in Australia and sold. And also the stolen and forgotten generation. It’s time to make a difference. It’s time to speak out and take a stand and look after one another. If we don’t who will.. we have the right to know the truth.they were playing with our lives.there much be someone out there that does know the truth of what really happenedand if so dont be screared i will stick by you if you help us. they’ve had the power too long. its our turn for a come back they started this i will finish it to help others aswell as my self. we deserve it.

    After speaking with others I’m starting to believe it’s the only answer that makes any since and it’s the only way that all the health and other departments and the governments could get away with all of the things that they did to us children. Which is: Seeing Australia Canada and Britain are all under the same British ruling, in other words what happened there is what probable happened to us? In the Pre seventy’s Behavior projects and Drug projects were used I believe the red tape that kept us locked up was, they made us stay to be Used as Guinea Pigs? For the government science projects, A System of abuse, who stood a change, let alone children? They made money on us being in a instition but think about it where was thre money really going because it wasn’t being used for us children and who is accountable for that money.what did they really learn from us in their research. that sucks and if that’s right IT’S very sad and it makes me more very angry.and if the abc tv and others who did reports on murders for walston park who did they get their infor from and if they were good reporters they would have look at the whole pituce of where these prisonies where really living and who with. because if they did there homework probley they would had found out that there was no special prison hospital at all because the government say they didn’t have the money. so whos pucket was the money going into and what for.if you know these answers please let me know.look at when australian had no money and when it did and when and what were we doing and what were the government ding with projects with us and what was really going on. i believe that’s where the answers will come from. dig deep not just on the surface.

  45. I was in this Hell Hole from 1959 to 1964 and I too was a sexual victim of L. I have photos also if anyone is interested.

  46. Hello Everyone,

    My husband has been interested in searching for any possible information about adoptions through SCARBA in Bondi during 1957-1958. He was the third child of Dutch immigrants who were finding it tough at the time of his birth in 1957. His mother was ill and required hospitalisation when he was approx 1 month old. The Benevolent Society stepped in and he was taken into temporary care while his mother recovered. He did go back to his mother until he was approx 13 months old. His parents were offered work outside of Sydney and they decided or rather were convinced at the time that they could leave their two youngest in the care of Scarba while they settled into their new jobs and found adequate housing. My husband was a toddler and his brother was nearly 3. Their sister (who was still a dutch national) was 6 at the time.
    When they arrived at the home his brother created so much that they changed their minds about leaving the two boys and instead only left the youngest. From the time line we could put together before his parents died it seems that my husband was only in the home for approx 48 hours before he was adopted. From some of the stories we have heard since, He was lucky. With my help my husband managed to contact his natural family. Before his natural father passed away he told us he and his wife decided they could not do without their youngest child and even though they were not supposed to pick him up for 3-4 weeks, the father went to fetch him approx 6 days later. The Matron Chapman informed him that their youngest had been adopted and there was nothing they could do for them. He was shown paperwork which stated that they had abandoned their child, suggesting they had not seen him for nearly 12 months. He did not understand the Law and went to his former Parish Priest (they were Catholic) who told him there was nothing he could do for him as it was his own stupidity that he lost his child. I believe he was probably told the child was better off. My husbands parents could only tell their daughter that her brother had died and blame themselves for his loss – the grief suffered by his mother was often discussed by both his father and sister. Years later it bothered his sister that there was no grave nor did she remember a funeral. My husband remembered he had a sister and she remembered she had a brother.
    He was adopted by an older couple who appeared to have come to Scarba and the benevolent society as a last resort for adoption. Certainly they were concerned by the people he met and where they came from – I know I got the twenty questions about my heritage before they were satisfied I was okay. They moved to New Guinea for a while and around the state. In his mind he has accepted his adopted parents as his parents but spent years believing he was the unwanted child of a single mother, before we found out the truth. His adoptive parents never discussed his adoption with him. But other members of the family tried to let him know. It led to a sense of isolation for him as he was often encouraged not to speak to certain members of the family for one reason or another. We realised this was a way of avoiding the adoption discussion. During the difficult teenage years my father in law was convinced that my husband would be in jail because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My father in law used this expression, when my husband jokingly said something implying it was okay to steal. I always found it strange when he said that as my husband had never stolen anything and would never steal anything. At that stage I had no idea my husband was adopted. Later I learned that my inlaws believed my husbands family was of the lowest life form, probably spent their lives in and out of prison etc. This was the furthest from the truth. My husbands natural father encouraged his family to be naturalised and joined the Australian Army serving two tours of duty in Vietnam.
    We were only able to trace the information given to the Dept of Family Services that an adoption had taken place and were able to get his original birth certificate which allowed him to find his family.
    We suspect that a firm of solicitors may have been involved and that the records from this time were destroyed. Certainly to achieve the status of abandonment the matron would have had to have kept records indicating when my husband entered Scarba as a baby but suspect the records were either kept open or altered to indicate that he had remained there when he had infact been living with his family. We know for the times his adoptive parents could have easily paid for him as the family business was doing well.
    We would like any information that could help put the pieces back together. Scarba certainly has nothing to lose as both sets of parents are now deceased. My husband was too young to remember too much, except the anxiety of being seperated from his sister.
    We are sure there are other people out there with similar stories. We visited Scarba in the early 1990’s and met with an elderly gentleman who was the gardener when Matron Chapman was in residence. He is probably gone now, but he was surprised at the number of former children who found their way back to Scarba. He was the one who told us the records were destroyed. If anyone has any information I have left my email – anything would be appreciated as anyone who has been through a similar experience would realise it affects not only the individual at the moment but also their whole life there after.

  47. Thanks Sue,
    For generously writing your husband’s history and explaining how is has affected you. I was very moved while reading your account. Thank you for posting it on the National Museum’s site.

    I know that you spoke to the gardener at Scarba House and I’m not suggesting that his information is incorrect but have you tried to contact the Benevolent Society officially?
    Level 1, 188 Oxford Street (PO Box 171), Paddington NSW 2021
    T: +61 2 9339 8000
    F: +61 2 9360 2319

    Let me know if that isn’t helpful.

    Best wishes,

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