Robert Waddington’s Legacy (Or: He Made Me Do It, Sir)


Image: Bishop William Ray (Anglican Church of Australia)

The Very Reverend Robert Waddington died from cancer in 2007. The Very Criminal Robert Waddington also died from cancer in 2007. The two men lived in the same body, with one hiding behind the image of the other.

Ravenshoe is a small town at the end of the rail line from Cairns in Far North Queensland. Rather isolated. This is where the St. Barnabas Anglican Boarding School was located. The former Headmaster was Robert Waddington, who physically, then sexually, abused his students. His appointed staff included Brother Peter Gilbert, of the St. Barnabas Order, a convicted paedophile. Another of Waddington’s staff, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was declared unfit to stand trial over child sexual abuse claims.

When Waddington left for a promotion in England, his replacement as Headmaster, a Brother from the St. Barnabas Order, Barry Greaves, has been convicted of molesting altar boys in Brisbane. This nest of paedophiles escaped the attention of the Anglican Church, according to officials, but this claim is disputed by the victims.

Waddington, who had migrated to Australia, returned to England where he was apparently considered such a good educator he was made head of education for the Church of England.

Waddington only came to the attention of police after returning to England, where he abused a choirboy at Manchester Cathedral, while he was Dean. Claims have been made that complaints against Waddington, in 1997 and 2003, were not reported to police. The alleged non-reporter, (then) Archbishop of York, David Hope (now Lord Hope of Thomes), has denied a cover-up.

The good Lord has stated that he had acted in line with the Church’s child protection policy at the time. However he did add that “with hindsight, probably there ought to have been a report”. The C of E Policy on Child Protection, at the time of the complaints, states that “There is no automatic legal obligation on the Church to refer allegations by adults to the police.” Apparently, this policy has since been changed.

Nevertheless, Lord Hope has now “expressed regret over failing to report to police the allegations about Waddington.” The current Archbishop of York has promised an investigation, while the head of the Anglican Church in Australia, Phillip Aspinall, claims the case will be referred to the Royal Commission. This may not mean much in the light of an admission by the Bishop of North Queensland, William Ray (pictured above), whose responsibility covers Ravenshoe, that files from Waddington’s old school are missing, and are suspected of being dumped into a “disused well or tin mine shaft” somewhere.

[The man in the hot spot, Bishop Ray, is no stranger to youth work in the religious context. He started out as a primary school teacher, soon becoming headmaster of a rural school, just like St. Barnabas. In his young adult years he led a scout troop, contributed to diocesan committees such as the Camp and Conference committee, and led several camps. Ray then worked full-time with the young people of the Diocese of Brisbane, offering Bible studies, camps for various ages and assistance with youth groups, as well as providing training for Sunday school and religious education teachers and youth leaders. His recent ministry has included acting as a youth and children’s worker in the parish of St Luke’s Toowoomba, in southern Queensland.]

In a very curious development, Brother Gilbert claims Waddington “turned him into a paedophile”. Gilbert says, having joined a celibate order, he was troubled by libido problems. He says further that Waddington arranged for him to get a female hormone, stilbestrol, from a local doctor to curb it. Instead, Gilbert claimed it made him become attracted to his male students. The medical profession would be very interested in this new strange side-effect of stilbestrol. Paedophiles’ defence lawyers may also take note for future cases.

Gilbert claims that, when he reported he wanted to molest boys to Waddington, he was told by him “Oh, don’t worry about that. That is perfectly normal around here.”

Read more here:

TOMORROW: NSW enquiry, week two

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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