I have a family friend who was sexually abused as a child at Eden Park Boys Home, run by the Salvation Army.
I used to look forward to his visits, he was such a character he made me laugh more than many people, with his stories. That was over 15 years ago.
My mother used to donate to the Salvation Army, until she saw the way they treated our friend Graham Rundle. For ten years he went through the court system and it brought back all the horrors of his childhood. He changed. He went through hell again, but it was important for him to be heard. Last year William Ellis, 76, was found guilty by a Supreme Court of six counts of indecent assault and seven counts of buggery. He molested boys at Eden Park between 1960 and 1971. Justice Michael David sentenced Ellis to 16 years in gaol with a non-parole period of 12 years.
Graham has written an account of his experience that really has to be published. It is written from the point of view of and in the voice of the child experiencing the abuse and he doesn’t hold back. At the same time he has also included some wonderful acts of kindness and even some very funny incidents that the boys were involved in.
It is really important to publish Graham’s book. It is not only a researched as well as a personal account but it is a bloody riveting read. It was used as evidence in two trials and all has been in the public domain, so there are no legal issues involved in publishing it. All it needs is a brave mainstream publisher willing to expose the Salvos, publish and promote Graham’s book. Those who have read it say that they can’t put it down. It’s gripping.
I would like to help to expose what went on and how it felt for the child experiencing it, how they try to make sense of their world and cope (or not) with what is happening to them. There are accompanying photographs and other ephemera as well.
“44” sheds light on the damage done to vulnerable children and shows first-hand how children are affected by cruelty and abuse. There are times when it is difficult to believe that human beings can actually be capable of the depths of depravity shown in this narrative. It also captures the extraordinary resilience that some children possess. Few readers would read this story and remain unmoved.
“Stripped of my name, identity and belongings I was told I would now be known in the home as ‘44’. All the boys were referred to by number. From day one, the abuse began and I found I was in Hell on Earth.”
“As an ‘inmate’ of Eden Park Boys’ Home, I am eminently qualified to write about the experiences of the boys and in particular my own personal experience. I was in the care of this institution for eight years. I have taken great care not to identify the boys (now men) whose stories intertwine with mine in this true story. Some of them have since died, many live in distressed circumstances.
“This accurate portrayal of Eden Park Boys Home covers the years from 1960 until 1968. The narrative describes violent attacks and assaults as seen through the eyes of a boy from the age of seven to fifteen. The descriptions are not gratuitous but accurately describe the situation in the home along with all the accompanying terror and emotion. The narrative broadens to portray visits to my Nana and The Coorong, as well as the serious difficulties encountered at high school, and my eventual escape from the home to join the circus. This story has humour, drama, suspense, tension and violence. It demonstrates and celebrates the survival of the human spirit and the qualities of perseverance, determination, imagination, humour, love and, most importantly, hope.
“It is essential for people to know how children are affected, so that people like Father Lucas and the Archbishop can no longer say they didn’t know there was such a thing. Now that victims from long ago have come forward to tell how they have been continually affected from the time of the abuse to the present day (even those in their eighties and nineties) there can never be any excuse ever again with platitudes like: ‘Children get over things;’ ‘we didn’t know it was happening;’ ‘we didn’t know such a thing existed,’ etc… etc…
“How we stop them from bullying the victims in the courts when they do seek redress, though, is another big question.”
Lawlink – Graham’s civil trial and appeal:
Justice Mullighan Inquiry into Children in State Care in South Australia:
Ryan Carlisle Thomas (Lawyers). Litigation has failed the victims of institutional abuse (mentions Graham’s case):
Care Leavers of Australian Network:
ABC Online News: