Sunshine and oranges
Remember: religion makes people nicer.
On treacherous building sites little boys were flogged if they slowed down, carrying loads of bricks up the scaffolding, lime burns lacerating their legs, hands blistered and cut. This was not Dickensian England; this was Australia and it was happening until 1970.
In 1946, at the age of 10, Hennessey was sent from an orphanage in England to the brutal Bindoon Boys Town in Western Australia….
”The brothers and sisters were all together,” he says. ”And then they started grabbing the girls away from their brothers. I can still hear the screams of these kids being separated. Some of them never saw their sisters again. I still have nightmares.”
Life at Bindoon, run by the Catholic Church’s Christian Brothers, was a catalogue of cruelty, where beatings and sexual assaults were daily events.
”Bindoon was nothing more than a paedophile ring,” Hennessey says. ”Most of the brothers were into raping and molesting little boys, sometimes sharing their favourites with each other.”
The boys were put to work building the series of grand buildings that Bindoon became. ”It was slave labour,” says Hennessey. Many of them are now deaf or partially deaf because they were constantly bashed around the head.
He recalls children resorting to stealing food from the pigs they tended – because the pigs were better fed. Brother Francis Keaney, the head of Bindoon, would eat bacon and eggs in front of boys who were fed porridge mixed with bran from the chicken feed. The boys would raid the bins for his scraps.
And so on.