Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

Billy Billy

Diane Mancuso shares two stories about growing up in a large Irish family in the suburbs, time spent in Bidura children’s home and beyond. Diane has also written a poem, ‘Billy Billy’, about her brother who was also in ‘care’ and later died on his birthday.

Diane, also known as Eileen Kennedy, penned ‘Billy Billy’ about her brother, who spent time in Royleston Boys Home, Glebe, NSW. You can also read her creative writing below in ‘Just a Number’ and Born to the State’. 

Billy Billy

Do not slip away
Please Please
Stay with me another day
Where have you gone my brother?
You had not begun to live
It was before your time
He took you to live with our mother
9th April you were born
35 years later I would mourn
No! They did not see your pain
In your anguish and your sorrow
Drugs became your way of life
For you there will be no tomorrow
Billy Billy
I love you so
Please please do not go
One hit too many
They found you dead in a back street alley
The road was too long
It was too much to carry the load
Daddy Daddy loved us all
He was on the wrong side of the law
Mamma Mamma
Did her best
I pray you are now at rest
Billy Billy
Do not slip away
Please please
Stay with me another day
The children’s court decided our fate
They took us all
You cried and cried when you were told
We were all sent to Juvenile Hall
As children and later as adults we are told not to hate
Torn apart and sent along different paths
Mamma’s heart broken like shattered glass.
Suffer the little children who did no wrong
Ignorant are they!
Who say forgive them they know
Not what they do
Where were they when I held my brother’s hand and
Wanted him to stay
In and out of foster care
We grew up with more than our share
Billy Billy
Do not slip away
Please please
Stay with me another day
They failed!
Yes! Suffer the little children
But if I can change it in some small way
Billy Billy
Never fear
I remember and I am here
Your life was not in vain
For I will be here for that day
Billy Billy
My sweet brother we are separate
But never apart
For you are always
In my heart

copyright 2011 Diane Mancuso/Eileen Kennedy

Just a number

1962 was the year the NSW State Government destroyed my family, separating my brothers & sisters for ever. In 1962 what they did can never be repaired or forgotten. My Mother had six children the youngest was five yrs old. My father was languishing away in prison. My mum could not support her children financially. The State decided it would be best for our family if they took her children & threw them into Orphanages for kids whom they had deemed to be neglected.

Bidura was where my elder sister Yvonne & I were kept captured whilst my younger sister Kathleen I never found out which Goal she went to. My two brothers Marty who was eleven Billy who was 18 months older than me at nine went to Royalston down the road from Bidura.

It would be ten years before I saw any of my family again, we never recovered as a family. My sisters became strangers to me also my brother Marty who was always in & out of prison. For some unknown reason I managed to keep a loose relationship with my brother Billy whom I had always been close to.

In 2009 I stood with all of you homies at Canberra & listened to Kevin Rudd apologize & Barry O’Farrell. I heard people speak about how they felt if or what had been the words that had helped their road to recovery their pain of the past. I have asked myself ‘Did I feel any different after the apology?’ And for me? Yes I am glad we were finally recognized for what we all went through. Finally Australian people would be aware that it was not just Indigenous families that had so shockingly been removed & forgotten about.  That we were believed & vindicated in what we all tried so hard to tell our friends, etc Who mostly did not believe us. So yes it was a good feeling though even today people are still in denial of our treatment at the hands of the State.

Though I wish I had a forgiving heart but I do not. For just maybe, maybe my brothers would be alive today instead of both in their graves much too early from drugs. –Physically drugs– but I believe it came from their horrific childhoods. My brother Billy told me about the rapes he had endured in goal. Though the way he spoke about these hideous crimes, against him, was to have me believe he was commenting on the weather. He wore his Armour like we all do to prevent anymore pain ..

Forgive?, I don’t think so. Too much despair, inanity, nightmares, desperation to want to fit in to be loved, wanted, cared for … it’s like the song ‘How can you mend this broken heart?’ It is impossible to repair, to forget my Mothers tears, my brothers fears. ‘Sorry’  just does not do it for me! Forty, fifty years Too late. Too late, You can’t fix something that they shattered into pieces. It was all a little too late so that day as I stood listening to Kevin Rudd that day I realize that it was not Kevin’s fault but it was not mine either or my Family.

My Brother did not set the world on fire, he was not well known (maybe to the police), he did not have any social skills, it was difficult for him to talk to people. There will be a lot of us who will not be acknowledged now or in our life time. The majority of us will just put one foot in front of the other or crawl & hope for the best. We are not celebrities but what we are — we are survivors, who lived through & came out the other side. We conquered tremendous adversity, inhumane treatment, brutality, solitary confinement. What sane person takes a twelve yr old & puts them in a black hole? These Orphanages were worse than prisons. We were children! Was this their way of rehabilitation to a lost child?

Our identities stolen, is it any wonder that we have to struggle with who we are? I had so many different names growing up I could travel the world under an alias with no problems! But with my luck I would be caught & it would be solitary for me again, but they were the ones who had given us all these different identities, no wonder we suffer from identity crisis. What was left to take? They whipped us, belted us, abused us, but they could not break us nor take our memories away from us. So I say for your family whom may not be here to speak for themselves, we have to take up the reins & never let them forget what they done to innocent little children. Makes me wonder how many & whose palm was being greased to justify their behavior? Is it any wonder that many of us became uncontrollable with no role model, no love, no human warmth? And is it so surprising that many turned to drugs & alcohol to block out the sheer pain of remembering how barbaric & cruel these so called authorities who it was their job to care & nurture us?

It is remarkable that we even survived & forbid that we could even have a promise of life that bought no pain! As disturbed as our childhoods were I am sure that you stumbled through like I did trying to shield & keep your balance, with no life skills. With no direction, no guidance I became an expert at when discussing childhoods with anyone.

Many, many times on my journey I wrestled with my horrific upbringing, though no one would ever guess my despair dueling with my demons day to day. My mask rarely slipped, what other people thought was a tough upbringing I thought was Idyllic, that is not to say they were not deserving of sympathy or my thoughts it was just how it is.

But as I trowel over my past I believe if I had not experienced each & every interminable situation I would not be the determined, strong, willed woman that I am today. Nature verses nurture, is not for me to question, though it remains an interesting topic, one I believe that I will never have the answer too. I embrace my flaws, as this is what makes me realize that there is no one person who is without their own faults.

Corruption, incitement of power the provocation of abuse towards children can ever be stamped out but we as part of our legacy is to shed our masks & retell our stories so that history can never be repeated.

Each & every one of us took our different paths.

Although, my brother Billy did not leave a fortune behind, nor a child of his own to inherit his special qualities —He did not leave foot prints in the sand! He left his imprint on my heart & my mind I remember my brother & I am here to tell what the brutal system did to Him You & Me.

It was a privilege to call you my brother Billy.

copyright 2011 Diane Mancuso/Eileen Kennedy

Born to the state

October was the second month of spring the cool moist air had turned into the promise of a warm summer to come.
The tiny buds of flowers were opening to the warm sun, fresh green shoots of grass glistened in the early morning sunshine. If one took the time to stop and savor the scent, to see with virgin eyes, to hear the birds chirping in their safety haven nestled in an old oak tree. One would decide that this day was full of wondrous new beginnings of hope, faith of another tomorrow.

On this day in the outer suburbs of Sydney, the day had lost its heat, dusk had settled over the suburbs. The first lights could be seen from the roads, there were familiar sounds of children laughing and arguing simultaneously. Pots and pans clattering as mothers tried frantically to cook dinner, bathe children and supervise homework, which they did with remarkable ease as these were times of large families when mothers stayed home and fathers went to work, there was no confusion as to which role one played.

The families in this neighborhood had no luxuries. They came from good Irish catholic stock or depending how you looked at it they were quick to temper and quick to smile. Many of these families battled to put food on the table for their brood. Martin Kennedy was such a man who found work when he could. He had a wife with four children and one due any day to provide for. 

He was a tall man six feet to be exact but not an ounce of fat on his solid frame. He was a striking man. He looked younger than his thirty four years with jet black hair, and hazel eyes. A smile to melt any woman’s heart but with an Irish temper to match his steel black hair. He had just finished a twelve-hour shift as a bus driver, his muscles ached and he felt tired and stiff from sitting all day.

He walked with an air of confidence and pride in one’s appearance as he put the key in the door he could hear the racket of children squealing and of muffled laughter. What’s for dinner? He inquired of no one in particular. He didn’t expect an answer, he picked up his youngest son ‘Billy’ whom was eighteen months old. Billy was a ‘Daddies’ boy and loved nothing better than being with his Dad.

Next in age was Yvonne, named after her mother at three she had an impish grin and pale hair with blue eyes the color of topaz inherited from her Mother. She ran to her Father and planted a sticky kiss on his stubble cheek.

Martin ‘junior’ was the eldest boy at seven he was already gangly all elbows & knees his mop of fair hair fell over his pale freckled face.

Colleen was his eldest daughter. At nine she had more the Irish coloring of dark hair with brown eyes. As in large families Colleen helped take care of her younger siblings.

After a few minutes he disentangled himself from eight pairs of arm’s and legs and went in search of his wife he headed for the kitchen the children trailing behind. His wife was not in the kitchen, his stomach protesting loudly that it was past dinner. Colleen’s voice rising above the din of the others to inform her Father that her Mother was in the bedroom ‘She’s sick Daddy’ she said trying not to show any fear but her voice had a tremulous tone to it.

He made his way down the narrow hall to their bedroom, as night was descending quickly he could just make out the outline of the bed. As he stealthy approached towards the narrow cot, a small moan escaped from his wife. He bent over her miniature doll like body, as he was tall and strong she was small and delicate.

He put the lamp on. Yvonne lay in a fetal position her ice blue eyes glazed over with pain he touched her honey colored hair to find it damp with sweat. After four children there was no need to ask, ‘How far apart are the contractions’ he whispered? ‘Don’t know bout ten minutes’ she gasped.

‘Colleen’ he shouted. His daughter who had been standing in the doorway came forward ‘Yes Daddy’. ‘I have to go and pick up Nurse Fisk. Look after your Mother till I get back’.

He grabbed his keys and rushed out to his old 1940’s Dodge he put the key in the ignition it coughed and spluttered in protest Martin cajoling and swearing finally the motor kicked over, reversing quickly as the first drops of rain fell.
Nurse Fisk lived about ten miles out on the Highway. By the time Martin pulled into her driveway the rain was pelting down. He ambled from the car ran up the sidewalk by the time he was banging on the door he was soaked to the skin but he either did not notice or did not care.

The door was answered by an elderly stoutly women with Grey hair and an air of no nonsense about her. She took one glance at his disheveled appearance and said ‘just a moment I will get my bag’. Martin had left the car running not wanting to chance the old rust bucket would not start for him. He overtook cars, breaking the speed limit, careening around bends the wind screen wipers working furiously to keep the rain at bay he peered into the dark night anxiously trying to hurry them along.

Thirty minutes later but for him felt like an eternity pulled into his street. He could hear the muffled screams as they approached the door he inserted the key with trembling fingers. Rushing to his wife’s side he could see her fragile body wracked with pain.

Nurse Fisk was already prodding and pushing the huge bulge with expert hands sure in her knowledge in having delivered hundreds of babies. ‘There’s no time this baby is in a hurry to enter the world’. Martin stood against the wall with its cracked, peeling paint and looked on anxiously. ‘Push! Push!’ she yelled. Yvonne each time exhausted herself and was sure she was not to live through this agony. She had already birthed four babies but could not remember them being in this much pain.

After an almost inhuman effort Nurse Fisk held up an unnaturally still infant in her hands. ‘It’s a girl’ she said. The nurse held the baby by the ankles which was practice in those days and swung her around.  She wasn’t breathing; by the fourth go they heard the lustiest cry. It was as if her cries were to protest at being wrenched from her protective envolope. Rebelling at having being swung around in such an undignified way.

Throughout the ordeal feeling quite helpless my Father stood upright against the  ancient, chipped doorway, he was not aware he had been holding his breath until relief flooded through him, & fighting tears that glistened in his eyes he blinked them away before.

 He gingerly walked over gazing down at his daughter he put his finger in the her tiny fist. She gripped his finger with amazing strength, & with her turbulent stormy blue eyes that  stared at him he thought with an accusatory wisdom.

They named her Eileen she was a bonny baby at eight pound eight ounces with dark down and her eyes as bright as fire & the color of the ocean on a stormy day.

My Mother had one other baby two years after my birth she was named Kathleen. She was a mirror image of my eldest sister Colleen as I was a smaller clone of my sister Yvonne.

I do not recall my earlier years images flash in and out some remain at the fringes of my mind. There is a tall, rugged handsome man lifting me into the air and landing me onto the kitchen table to teach me how to tie my shoe laces and then sweeping me into his strong arms. The backyard was enormous with chooks and a goat feeding off the sparse grass patches that kept them from starving. My siblings and I took great delight in trying to ride on the back of the goat but the animal had other ideas and got his own back when he would buck till we all fell off landing on all fours. Trying but failing to keep our dignity in tact we would mount him again and again much to our disappointment we never did tame him.

My eldest sister seemed to take on the role of mothering us little one’s. Later on I was to learn my mother was often passed out during the day from her addiction to diazepam. This was of great concern to my Father and he used his bus route to pass our house and run in to change my nappy and quickly return to his waiting bus.

My memory becomes a little clearer when we all moved to the outer suburb of Granville. The house was in a shambles, dilapidated and in dire need of painting and repairs. The windows were all broken the lounge room, which doubled as my sister’s and my bedroom sleeping in one bed. Whilst my brothers slept in a closed in veranda off the kitchen to the rear of the house.

I rarely saw my Father the only recollections is of being woken out of a sound sleep by my Father’s voice singing ‘I have the whole wide world in my hands’. Strange how something so insignificant can have intricate details lodged in my memory. My favorite toy was a gollywog with a zip in the side and my father used this to store his gun. I guess he thought it would be a safe place.

It was a rough neighborhood the neighbors’ son bashed my little sister over the head with a dirty wooden stick. It took six nurses to hold her down whilst they shaved her hair off so infection would not set in. I believe this event was instrumental and a contributing factor in my sister’s life further on through the years my sister developed extreme emotional disturbances and instability.

There was a creek down the end of our street there was a rope that dangled down from a footbridge. My brothers would grab the rope and swing from one side of the bank to the other side. I smile at this memory as my brothers were assured of great entertainment when with out fail I would always get stuck in the middle of the creek they would break out in peals of laughter at my distress much to my annoyance.

Innocent as only children could be my brother Billy and I would vow to marry when we were all grown up Billy with his rich, dark curly hair, impish grin and mischievous eyes.  was a strange little girl.I had compulsions which were really rituals that were to be repeated on a daily basis.

copyright 2011 Diane Mancuso/Eileen Kennedy

           

articles/lectures, Child Migrants, events, Forgotten Australians, memories, Stolen Generations

R U OK?

Should every day be an R U OK? Day? R U OK? is a non-profit Australian organisation which aims to provide a national focus and leadership on suicide prevention.

R U OK? Day is Thursday 15 September 2011. You can read more at the R U OK? website

art, articles/lectures, documents, drawing, Forgotten Australians, memories

Museum accepts poignant memento of tough times

‘We were just whipped away; we didn’t know where we were going,’ says Carmel Durant, who grew up in Bidura Home, Glebe, NSW and with various foster parents. Read Glenn Ellard’s report in the South Coast Register about the chalk drawing Carmel made when she was ten years old.

Carmel’s drawing will be part of the exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions which opens on 16 November 2011 at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.

You can read the 10 August 2011 report on the  South Coast Register website.

Forgotten Australians, poetry

‘Those Long Lost Years’

Graham Evans, who was sent to st Vincent’s Boys Home, Westmead in 1962, has been contributing to this website since it began. Read Graham’s latest song lyrics.

Those Long Lost Years

If I could take you back to times when we were young
All these stories of abuse you hear, have not just begun
It’s been our life time, and no one can really see
Except the abused and my friends, what’s left to be

We’ll we fight for justice, and our equal rights
Because we’re fully pledged ‘Forgotten Australians’ both day and night
And we’re so tired of lying down with these silent tears
But! what do you expect, after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’

It’s been our life time, and no one want’s to see
Not the Churches, the Government’s themselves, nor Society
Well we’re so tired of lying down with these silent tears
But what do you expect after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’

Yah! It’s been our life time, and no one want’s to see
Not the Churches, the Governments themselves, nor Society
Well! we’re not going to lye down no more, we’re going to stand and fight for our cause
But what! do you expect, after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’
And what do you expect, after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’.

art, Child Migrants, events, Forgotten Australians, memories, objects, Responding to the National Apology, Stolen Generations

No more silent tears #2

by Leigh Westin (guest author) on 14 July, 2011

Leigh Westin, who grew up in Scarba House and Parramatta Girls Home, is creating a memorial entitled No More Silent Tears for Forgotten Australians. The memorial is comprised of a large panel of handkerchiefs sewn together, each decorated by those who spent time in a Children’s Home or institution.

If you experienced institutional or out-of-home ‘care’ and would like to contribute to this memorial, then on a lady’s-sized handkerchief embroider and/or write in ink, your name, the name of the institutions(s) and the year(s) that you lived there. Please feel free to decorate it however you wish, so that it will be suitable for people of all ages to view. The important thing is that you only use a lady’s handkerchief so that Leigh can easily sew them together. You may, of course, make a handkerchief in order to remember a Forgotten Australian or former Child Migrant who has passed away.

You can then post it to:
Adele Chynoweth
National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
Canberra ACT 2601

Adele will then pass the handkerchiefs onto Leigh. Please make sure that your contribution reaches Adele by close of business Friday 12 August, 2011.

Below are some of the handkerchiefs that have already been made.

articles/lectures, documents, events, Forgotten Australians, memories

‘Journey of Hope’

by Adele Chynoweth on 14 July, 2011

Listen to an interview with Dr Michael Davey, former ward of the state and author of ‘Journey of Hope’, on ABC Radio National.

Dr Davey recalled his experiences in foster care and at Royleston Boys Home in Sydney during an interview on the ‘Life Matters’ program on 14 July 2011.

Download the ‘Journey of Hope’ interview on the ABC website.

Journey of Hope is published by Arkhouse Books.

 

Journey of Hope
Forgotten Australians, memories

Eulogy of Christiana Imelda Ramsey

by Leicester Ramsey (guest author) on 24 June, 2011

‘Christiana, in our eyes you were a success’, said Leicester about his mother at her funeral. Leicester’s eulogy is an account of his history and a tribute to Christiana. It also offers insights into how children were institutionalised in Australia.

Eulogy of Christiana Imelda Ramsey

Christiana Imelda Ramsey was born on 26th December, 1925 in St. Murdock’s Terrace, Ballina, County Mayo, Eire. She grew up in Limerick. Her parents were, Tom Daly and Mary Daly nee Hayes. Christiana’s parents eloped when her mother Mary was only 16 years old and they were married in England in 1920. Her grandfather, Pat Hayes, never forgave his favourite daughter, Mary and never spoke to Mary or her children for the rest of his life. He never forgave them for eloping, even when Christina’s mother Mary was ill in bed for nine years dying at the age of only 43.

Christiana always loved her mother and missed her for the rest of her life. She would often recall many fond memories of her time with her mother.

Christiana would recall visiting her grandfather’s farm at Palace Green for holidays between the ages of 4 to 8. She had been told she was not to talk to her grandfather, or even wave to him when he was watching from the window.

Christiana was one of 10 children: 6 girls 4 boys. Her father, Tom Daly, a mechanic by trade, was one of the founders of the original IRA. He was a TD, which is a member of the Republic of Ireland Parliament. He was also involved in the 1930-31 riots in Ireland. He drove the first bus in Dublin and also raced cars.

Christiana met many famous people in her life, including de Valera at the age of 5 and Michael Collins.

Christiana was proud to tell all those who would listen, how she sang in the St Johns Cathedral choir, Limerick at the ordination of a bishop.

At the age of 15 Christiana left home to start work doing cleaning jobs and errands for well to do families. After several years, she decided it was time to look for husband. She advertised in the paper and received many offers. These included a jockey.  She decided to meet a Mr Harold Franklin Ramsey, a wealthy self made man who was looking for a house keeper, not a wife. On meeting him she accepted a job with him and over time they fell in love, a love that was to last the rest of her life. Even though there was a 33 year age difference between them. Sadly, he died when Christiana was in the prime of her life. She never remarried nor had a partner, because of her love for Mr Ramsey.

They were married twice, once in 1946 Royal Court England and in 1951 on Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Christiana and Mr  Ramsey, as she often called him, travelled the world. They lived in Ireland, France, Switzerland, Ceylon, Jamaica and Jersey. They had 6 children and were internationalists before it was common. Their children were born in various countries, Anthony in Switzerland, Alan on Jersey, Michael and Chester back in Ireland and finally, Leicester and Malcolm in Australia.

After living and running a business on Jersey for 5 years, Mr Ramsey, who had been told stories about Australia by his friend the BBC war time correspondent Chester Wilmot decided to emigrate. Mr Wilmot was the author of the book ‘Struggle for Europe’. They decided Australia was the place of the future. So they set of from Jersey in 1949 motoring through France, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Syria, Israel, the Holy Land, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and India. In India they visited, amongst other sites, the Taj Mahal. Christiana always said that it was one of the most beautiful sites she had ever seen. From India they went to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, where they waited for 6 weeks to catch a boat to Fremantle, Australia. On arriving in Australia, they were greeted by a reporter from the Western Australian newspaper. They were front page news for having been the first to travel by car from England to Australia, arriving in 1954.

They arrived with 4 children, Anthony, Alan, Michael and Chester. Leicester and Malcolm were born later in Australia.

After arriving in Fremantle, they then set off across the Nullabor Plain, which was then just a dirt track, to Victoria. Then they travelled up the east coast to NSW passing through Kiama, to Sydney. Not finding what they wanted, they returned to Kiama to settle. Kiama reminded Christiana of Ireland, with the green hills.

They set about finding land to build a garage and motel which they called the Shamrock Motel. The land was purchased at Ocean View.

Later, Christiana was contacted by her sister Mary.  Mary asked if Mr Ramsey would pay the travel fares to Australia, for Mary, her husband Bill and their children so they could emigrate to Australia. Mr Ramsey and Christiana needed an assistant to run the hotel. So, they agreed, on the condition that Bill would work for Mr Ramsey until the money was paid back. Bill Wilson worked for a few months and never repaid the money owed. In fact, he not only refused to pay the money back, but 6 weeks before Mr Ramsey died, Bill Wilson, then 33 years old, attacked and punched Mr Ramsey, leading to his death soon after.

Christiana at 33 years of age was left widowed to raise 6 boys, the eldest 12 and the youngest 3 months. With no family or friends to provided support and help she was struggling to manage the running of a motel and garage. She was also struggling emotionally from her loss. Eventually, she suffered a mental break down and neglected to get all the children to school.

The authorities, concerned with the lack of attendance at school, called the police. The family property was raided, the front door was kicked in and the family dog was shot. The children were forcefully removed from Christiana. The children were then placed in the Bernardo homes at Kiama. Mary was not happy to have the children brought up in the Protestant faith of their father. Also, Mary was concerned about the environment of hate that existed between the Catholics and the Protestants in 1960s. She contacted Father Phibbs, then head of the Catholic child welfare bureau. Fr Phibbs made an application through the courts to become the guardian of the children until each one turned 16 years of age. He also had power of attorney over an estate worth in excess of 100,000 pounds. In today’s terms that would have amounted to millions of dollars. To this day, this money has never to be accounted for.

The children were then placed in St Joseph’s, St Michael’s and St Vincent’s Westmead. These unlawful acts were recently recognised when the Federal and State Governments apologised to the FORGOTTEN Generation and these children were invited to the ceremony.

Christiana in the meantime was placed in mental institutions and given shock therapy. After receiving treatment, she found work at the Australia Hotel making beds and  cleaning rooms. Later she got a job with the Catholic nuns at Rose Bay, where she was allowed to have Malcolm, her youngest son, live with her.

In 1966 she managed to rent a property in Jersey Road, Woollahra, for 6 months. This allowed Anthony, Alan, Leicester and Malcolm to live with her again … [she was] … again institutionalised.

After recovering, she again gained employment. She visited her family by walking from Sydney to Westmead. Upon arriving she was told that she had missed visiting hours and she could not see her children. Saddened, she then had to walk all the way back to Sydney.

Over the years she asked many times to be provided with money from the family estate. She wanted the money so she could buy a house and raise her children, all to no avail.

In despair, she wrote to Sir Roden Cutler, the Governor of NSW at the time. She was seeking assistance to get a housing commission house so she could raise her children. After being on a waiting list for 8 years, in December, 1969, through Sir Roden’s help, she got one in Green Valley, bringing her 3 younger children together for Christmas.

As the years rolled on, Christiana lived to see her children and grand children, grow and become successful. Although much of her life was lived in poverty, all she ever wanted to be, was a good wife and mother.

Christiana in our eyes you were a success. You were a wonderful person. You were an inspiration to us all. You were a mother to your children and a grandmother to your grand children.

You achieved your aims beyond your expectations.

You will live on in the hearts of all that knew and loved you, down through many generations.

We love you and will miss you.

God Bless You and keep you in his love.

Child Migrants, documents, events, memories

Justice for Child Migrants

by Adele Chynoweth on 20 June, 2011

ABC-TV’s 7.30 program reports on the court action of former students of Fairbridge Farm School, Molong, against the Fairbridge Foundation, state and Federal governments, for turning a blind eye on years of abuse.

You can access the recording of the report on the  7.30 website.

You can read more of the experiences of living at Fairbridge in David Hill’s book The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and its Betrayal of Britain’s Child Migrants to Australia.

 

Roadside sign - Fairbridge Farm School, Molong
Photo by Rachael Hession, National Museum of Australia

This is the sign of Fairbridge Farm School at its original site in Molong, NSW. This sign will be displayed at the National Museum’s exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes, which opens in Canberra on 16 November 2011.

documents, Forgotten Australians, memories

Institution for Boys, Tamworth

by Wilma Robb (guest author) on 11 May, 2011

Dianne McInnes, a PhD student at Bond University, Queensland, under the supervision of Dr Paul Wilson, is studying the adult criminological consequences of the boys at the Institution for Boys, Tamworth, 1948 to 1976. Spcecifically, the research concerns effects of instutionalised routine and enforced silence of juvenile males who did not have criminal records.

Dianne is inviting anyone connected with the Institution for Boys, Tamworth to participate in an anonymous questionnaire. Further details may be found at the questionnaire website.