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Australia: Catholic boys’ home a centre for abuse

June 12, 2011


In 1946, at the age of 10, Hennessey was sent from an orphanage in England to the brutal Bindoon Boys Town in Western Australia. He recalls the arrival in Fremantle for the big adventure that had been promised: kangaroos would take the children to school and oranges would fall from the trees. Instead, they were herded into trucks.

“The brothers and sisters were all together,” he says. “And then they started grabbing the girls away from their brothers. I can still hear the screams of these kids being separated. Some of them never saw their sisters again. I still have nightmares.”

Life at Bindoon, run by the Catholic Church’s Christian Brothers, was a catalogue of cruelty, where beatings and sexual assaults were daily events.

“Bindoon was nothing more than a paedophile ring,” Hennessey says. “Most of the brothers were into raping and molesting little boys, sometimes sharing their favourites with each other.”

The boys were put to work building the series of grand buildings that Bindoon became. “It was slave labour,” says Hennessey. Many of them are now deaf or partially deaf because they were constantly bashed around the head.

He recalls children resorting to stealing food from the pigs they tended – because the pigs were better fed. Brother Francis Keaney, the head of Bindoon, would eat bacon and eggs in front of boys who were fed porridge mixed with bran from the chicken feed. The boys would raid the bins for his scraps.

And this kind of appalling cruelty lasted well into the 1970s.

Where are the convictions? Where are the jail terms? Where is the compensation?

Where is their Apology?

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