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venerdì 3 marzo 2017
Child migrants raped, abused in Australian school
Former child migrants to WA have told a British inquiry how they were forced to come to Australia where they were sexually, physically and emotionally abused at the Fairbridge Society farm school in Pinjarra.
One man, now 70, said he still had a fear of men’s toilets after the abuse he suffered in the school’s bathrooms and being raped repeatedly by priests and older boys.
An English foster mother desperate to rescue her foster daughter Marcelle O’Brien, who was sent to Fairbridge in 1949 aged five, appealed to the Queen Mother for help in 1951, but she stayed put.
Ms O’Brien, now 71 and living in Perth, told the inquiry she was physically, mentally and sexually abused at the school.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard that the male witness, known as A2, was taken from his mother as a toddler and lived in foster homes before authorities shipped him to Australia at the age of seven.
He was sent to the Fairbridge school where years of sexual abuse by older boys ensued.
“You had to take it, there was nothing else you could do,” he said. “We were just like a lump of meat to them really.”
A2 said he was also raped by a priest in a locked room up to four times a week and the school farm’s pig and poultry manager also raped him when he was assigned to work with him.
When A2 told his “cottage mother”, who was in charge of his care, and the school principal about the abuse, they accused him of lying and caned him.
A2 said his life had been made worthless by the abuse and it was only a promise he made to his mother, with whom he eventually reunited when he was 30, to get justice that kept him going.
Ms O’Brien said she lived happily in her foster mother’s care in England for four years, but the Fairbridge Society pushed to have her sent to WA. She said Fairbridge children were treated cruelly and like slave labour.
Ms O’Brien said she was sexually abused by the deputy principal and gang-raped by three men on a farm where the school sent her to work.
Ms O’Brien’s former foster mother, who wanted to adopt her, wrote to the Queen Mother, then the Queen to King George VI and a patron of the Fairbridge Society, for help in getting her back.
But a letter from a lady-in-waiting said the Queen was “pleased to hear” the child was settled happily and it was considered best for her to remain at Pinjarra.