The West Australian
COLLEEN EGAN The West Australian
April 29, 2014
John Hennessey is 78 years old but if you listened to his words yesterday, all you could see was a frightened and lonely young boy, starved of love.
After choosing to take the oath on the Bible instead of an affirmation – he still believes in God – Mr Hennessey paused before starting his testimony, holding a picture of his late mother, May.
“I brought my mother with me,” he said.
From the 18th floor of a Perth skyscraper, the first witness at the royal commission took a packed public gallery on a harrowing journey from an illegitimate birth, to an early childhood in a home run by kindly nuns, to a harsh institution in WA to rival any tale by Charles Dickens.
Believing he was an orphan, unaware that his Irish mother had been told he was dead, 11-year-old John boarded a ship in Britain for a land he’d been told was full of fruit and kangaroos.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.