Algate Boys’ Home (Or: Do As You’re Told)

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While the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s next hearings (beginning 28th January) will cover two Queensland and two NSW Boys’ Home, operated by the Salvation Army, there are many others not being covered.

One of these is the Algate House Boys’ Home in the New South Wales State town of Broken Hill. This is a mining town, and original home of the Broken Hill Pty. Ltd. company (BHP, now BHP-Billiton), one of the largest mining companies in the world. It is situated in a harsh, inland environment, even for Australia.

Algate House was opened in 1968 and closed in 1995.

The Home itself was also a harsh environment. Last year, it was named specifically by Leonie Sheedy, from the Care Leavers of Australia Network (CLAN), as one of the Homes where abuses occurred. She said that the abuse was “horrific.” Unfortunately, for the former residents, the Royal Commission will not be covering this Home at the public hearings.

It is possible that former residents of this Salvation Army Boys’ Home have told their story, in private sessions, to Commission staff, but the public will not hear their story or know the names of their abusers.

The local Broken Hill Salvation Army official, “major” Kevin Stace has said that “the matter is under investigation,” but there has been no further comment from him. Last year Mr. Stace announced that the local women’s refuge the Salvos ran will be closed due to lack of funds.

To date, the Commission has only looked at institutions in New South Wales, so people in other states may be becoming impatient to have their issues raised at the public hearings. The most horrific of all Homes, arguably, was “Bindoon” (see previous posting) in Western Australia State, operated by the Christian Brothers sect of the Catholic Church, but no announcement of a hearing on it has yet been announced by the Commission.

“Bindoon” is currently under investigation by the Irish Government because of the Irish “child migrants” who were sent there (see previous posting). It will be sending representatives to Australia to gather evidence. If the Royal Commission fails the old “Bindoon” boys, then at least the Irish will get their story out.

The Commission has announced the dates of the next several hearings, but will not divulge the nature of any of them as yet. Perhaps, they haven’t decided, but more likely it is a case of the public not needing to know at this stage, and details will be revealed at the Commission’s discretion when they decide to do so.

Despite $400 million in funding, an unprecedented six commissioners, 169 full-time staff, and a four-year timeframe, the Commission would argue it cannot cover all of the Homes, schools, etc. where child sexual abuse occurred in Australia.

The U.K. government sent many child migrants to Australian Children’s Homes, and even blacklisted five of them as far back as 1956 (see previous posting). It may be a good idea for the U.K. government to have its own investigation into abuses of its former citizens in Australian institutions, so that more details can come out than the Royal Commission is, at present, prepared to reveal.

The government of Malta also sent child migrants here, and has erected a memorial to them at the port where they left for hell down under (see previous posting). Perhaps, they too should have an enquiry into what happened to their citizens in places like the Salvation Army and Catholic Children’s Homes in Australia.

Indeed, one may argue, the above-mentioned governments should call in the local Australian Ambassador to explain why the institutions, to which their citizens were sent and so sadly mistreated, are not being covered by the Royal Commission.

[Postscript: The Chairman of the Royal Commission, Judge Peter McClellan, has ruled that this author is not to appear, under any circumstances, at the up-coming hearings into the Salvation Army Alkira Boys’ Home, nor present a submission to it.]

TOMORROW: Freedom Catering Group

Previous postings on the Salvation Army:

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)

 

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