vrijdag, juni 14, 2013

System-leavers: Leger des Heils: Rivervieuw Training Farm for Boys

" We are no care-leavers, there was no care; we are system-leavers "


QUENTIN McDERMOTT, REPORTER: Scattered around Australia are crumbling structures that once housed the children society didn't want. These were children's homes, run by the most respectable bodies in the land - States, charities, churches, the Salvation Army. But for many older Australians, the memories are intensely painful.

TRISH PASCOE: The bitter, lonely years.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Why do you call it that?

TRISH PASCOE: Because they were bitter and lonely. That's the only thing I can use to describe it.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Some homes were well-run. In others, abuse turned children into angry, sometimes criminal, adults.

MAN IN SHADOW: To be truthful, I cannot look at a 13- or 14-year-old and not think, "I wouldn't mind that".

BEVERLEY FITZGERALD, PRESIDENT, QLD CHILDREN SERVICES TRIBUNAL: Its repercussions are enormous and they ripple out to every facet of a person's life, and we have to start looking at that.

JOHN DALZIEL, THE SALVATION ARMY: That trust has been betrayed and to the Australian public now, I apologise.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Tonight on Four Corners, the secret history of the extraordinary cruelty inflicted on children in care.

NEWSREEL: The Salvation Army is a strong supporter of the Scouting movement as a means of building healthy bodies and minds - ideals that are carried through to their schools for children from broken homes. For these youngsters, school is home.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, tens of thousands of boys and girls from broken homes were dispatched to institutions around Australia.


QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The damage some homes caused is still there in the lives of middle-aged Australians like Lewis Blayse.

LEWIS BLAYSE: It was out in the middle of nowhere, which is where most of these places were - out in the middle of nowhere.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Lewis Blayse went into care in 1950 when he was five months old. His parents simply couldn't cope.

LEWIS BLAYSE: My mother was about fifth-generation Australian, uh...English, Welsh. Year 6 education, uh...schizophrenia. My father came out as a refugee during World War II from Yugoslavia. The whole village was shot, eventually. Uh...he became a canecutter. He had two years education.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Lewis Blayse's fate was typical of an age when large numbers of children were institutionalised through no fault of their own, with no choice where they went. Placing them in a home run by a church or charity was seen as a safe, inexpensive option.

BEVERLEY FITZGERALD: Children placed in care was usually an economic motivation rather than a child development or child nurturing or child protection, and that the state found often the cheapest way to look after children.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Life in the hundreds of institutions around Australia was ordered and impersonal. At the age of nine, Lewis Blayse was sent to Indooroopilly - a Salvation Army home in Queensland where boys were referred to by numbers.

LEWIS BLAYSE: I was number 32. I'm sorry. I'm going to get upset if I hold that for too long. Number 32.

WALLY McLEOD: I was sent to Indooroopilly, supposedly for psychiatric treatment, of which I never got.

BARRY MASLEN: I was deemed a juvenile delinquent, and my single mother at the time couldn't cope with me.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Wally McLeod and Barry Maslen share memories of life in care. Their stories of life at Indooroopilly tally with Lewis Blayse's accounts.

WALLY McLEOD: You would get up, you would have breakfast, you would collect a lunch wrapped in rag, with dry mince, and you would be marched to school with an officer in a line of three rows.

LEWIS BLAYSE: The lining up, the...the whistles, the toilets, the lights-out time. You know, it was just military and...and your bunks are sort of like, you know, this far apart. No...not...no personal possessions. Spartan.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The chores were as nothing compared with the discipline handed out by the officers in charge.

LEWIS BLAYSE: If you spoke in your own language, you got six cuts on each hand. If you spoke during meals, six cuts on each hand. If you stepped out of line, 'cause you had to line up everywhere, six cuts on each hand.

Lewis Blays

The Riverview Home run by the Salvation Army, until its license was revoked by the Queensland Government in 1977, is another of the institutions requiring a second look by the Royal Commission. All records were claimed to have been lost in the 1974 floods. The principal accused abuser, Captain Lawrence Wilson, was acquitted of all charges against him. However, the matter is far from settled in the minds of many.

It was ranked as the worst institution in Queensland by the 1998 Forde Inquiry. It was where many Indigenous “Stolen Generation” children were sent. The 1914 Annual Report of the Chief Protector of Aborigines notes than several boys were sent there (see reference below). The Home was also the destination of many of the “child migrants”.

In 1956, the UK Home Office’s John Ross led a fact-finding committee to investigate Australian child migrant institutions, and found unfavourable conditions and poorly-trained staff in the 26 institutions it visited. The Committee’s confidential report blacklisted five institutions, among them the Salvation Army Riverview Boys’ Home.

On 7 December, 2010, at Old Parliament House, Canberra, in a closed event, the international leader of The Salvation Army, General Shaw Clifton, issued a national apology to former residents of Salvation Army Homes. The author was not invited to this function (nor to the national apology by Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull – too radical!).

Mr. Carlise says it took him 53 years to talk about his experiences at Riverview. His take on the whole apology thing is clear. “Sorry what does it mean?” he said. “It doesn’t mean a bloody thing to me. No apology and no amount of money in the whole wide world will get back what they took.”
Barry Maslen gives a harrowing account of conditions in the 2003 ABC-TV Four Corners documentary, “Homies”

The Salvation Army paid “compensation” to several victims, complete with the obligatory secrecy clause, and a signed waiver of future culpability by this organisation. Many were taken advantage of because of the difficulties associated with challenging the Salvation Army in court, coupled with their dire financial position. These clauses should be revoked, and claims raised again at the Royal Commission, while the matter of Captain Wilson must be revisited.

There will be no official order of events at this quiet reunion at the Riverview Training Farm for Boys, though speeches should start soon after the browning of Wally McLeod’s much-vaunted barbecue sausages. What matters is being here: making the turn off Ipswich Motorway, reaching the end of Endeavour Street, even when your stomach wants out; passing through the gates and trudging up that sorry driveway to stand in the places that haunt your dreams: the laundry, the lucerne field, the piggery, the shower block.
Facing Fears... Former Riverview boy Bob Toreaux in the room where the 'punishment parades' took place.
There’s a reason the semi-circle of 50 plastic chairs Bob Toreaux has set up face the entrance to the farm’s recreation hall. It’s the hall he sees in the recurring dream he has of a 12-year-old boy, naked from the waist down and straddling a wooden vaulting horse, blood running down his legs. It’s the hall they all see in their sleep.
“I don’t think money is going to make all that much difference,” says Bates. “These kids’ lives were compromised the day they walked into Riverview. Once a kid’s life is compromised you can never fill that hole. These people are so stuck back there that they’re looking for something magical that will change their lives. But there is no magic. Unfortunately, all they have is hard yards.”
They walk a long road, the boys of the Riverview Training Farm. But there is a way, says Bates, to ease their journey. She closes the folder of files and smiles earnestly.

“By believing them,” she says. 

Complete artikel  CLAN

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