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.

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