Showing posts from October, 2010

Suffer little children......

One common punishment for resiliently rebellious children like Kathleen Clarke and Margaret Coyne was to tie the little bastards to the gum tree over the bull-ants nest.
"How Sister Rita thought up punishments like that, I'll never know. She was worse than Hitler!" is what they both told me in separate moments of place and time, confirming all the worst abuses which were a part of institutional life.

Instilling terror in a child by dressing them in red and putting them in a paddock with a bull was another method to break the spirit of a girl, but it didn't matter how bullied Mum(or Margaret)was, how many times a nun's belt would be unfurled, there was nothing to do but sulk and drag your feet and cop it again. 

Like any prisoner of circumstance, there were times when looking for ways to escape needed the right opportunity, like a cricket match when the ball came sailing through her airspace and dropped behind close to the fence and the dirt road.

Instead of bending …


YOU'D THINK IT WOULD BE A GOOD THING moving children out of a mammoth institution ruled by nuns in medieval habits, in the miserable Midlands to Australia for a promising future, WOULDN'T YOU?
Once Mum arrived in Australia, Minister Calwell, Australia's first Immigration Minister in the Chifley Labor Government, signed her off, delegating responsibility to NSW. They in turn trusted the Nuns to carry out their obligations and Duty of Care.

The politician whom journalists called 'Cocky' Calwell, had an  unshakeable belief in Australia's first legislation of 1901 Federation - the "White Australia Policy".
He would never have to be faced with the abuses metered out to the children or make any grand Apology for harms done and their long-term consequences.
The long-term goal was reproducing more Catholics and cleaners and child-care workers, and factory hands.

For being a result of war-time sexual intercourse, Mum was an unfortunate accident, but thanks to the n…