Former child migrants sent to Australia to testify at UK Inquiry into sexual abuse


Victoria Craw

THEY were told they were going to a place filled with sheep, where they could ride horses, pick fruit from the trees and have picnics all day long.

Instead they faced decades of sexual abuse at the hands of the men caring for them, were beaten, forced to work like slaves and rummage in pig bins for food.

Now the first-hand accounts of men and women sent to Australia as children will be heard as part of an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Beginning in London this week, a panel will hear from some of the estimated 10,000 children sent to Australia in the post-war decades as a cheap way of populating the country and solving the problem of how to care for young British orphans.

The Australian story is just part of a much bigger picture that saw an estimated 150,000 children sent overseas to mainly Commonwealth countries over a 350-year period. In a world without air travel and internet, many of them never saw home again. …

In 2014, Clifford Walsh, now 72, told how he was assaulted from the second day he arrived including being punched, beaten and sexually abused. Christian Brothers in four separate schools including Castledare, Contarf, Tardun and Bindoon in Perth were named by children as abusers.

He also recently told the BBC the UK government had sent young children to a “living hell” that put them in the care of paedophiles, 100 kilometres from the closest town.

“I was not good looking and I was badly sexually abused,” he said. “How badly were the ones that were better than me?”

“They sent us to a place that was a living hell … These paedophiles must have thought they were in hog heaven.”

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