Why Wally Should Be Heard (Or: Selective Hearing?)

Four Salvation Army Boys’ Homes will be the focus of the next hearings of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse beginning on 28th January. Two of the Homes were in Queensland. Riverview (https://lewisblayse.net/2013/06/14/riverview-salvation-army-boys-home-or-unfinished-business/), near Ipswich, and Alkira, in Brisbane.

The word “Alkira” is aboriginal for “bright and sunny” which, needless to say was exactly what it was not.

While this author was in Alkira, another man, Wally McLeod, was in both of them, Riverview and Alkira, at about the same time as this author. Wally is one of the people hoping to give evidence at the hearings. He must be allowed to do so, and on his terms.

There is no point in the Commission arbitrarily choosing those who will have a say, or how.

Wally McLeod was 12 years old when, as an orphan, he was sent to the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys at Indooroopilly in western Brisbane in 1960. He says he was regularly caned and flogged. “Just talking at the meal table was enough to get you caned and sometimes flogged. Even talking after lights out that could earn you a flogging. I can’t say I had ever drawn blood but it has happened to other boys.” He describes it as a hell-hole run by so-called Christians.

Mr. McLeod says the treatment was even harsher at the Salvation Army’s Riverview Training Farm at Ipswich, west of Brisbane. He was transferred there in 1962.

“Many a time I had to pull my pants down and bend over,” he said. “I didn’t realize it was sexual abuse then but the Commission has now told me that that’s what it is. I do know one person who was sexually abused by one of the officers.”

[The author can confirm Wally’s story completely, and name the Salvation Army Officers involved – unfortunately, I do not have the anti-defamation protection of the Commission, so that part will have to wait.]

The Bexley Boys Home in Sydney and the Gill Memorial Home in Goulburn will also come under the spotlight at the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney next month.

This blog has posted articles on all of these Homes previously. It has further recounted the stories of some of the inmates, who, like Wally, MUST be given their chance to have their cases aired at the Commission hearings, even if it means that the poor commission staff have to work a bit longer and harder than usual.

Read more here:

TOMORROW:  The McDonald’s connection

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)

 

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