the chosen ones
St. John's Orphanage new intakes

Accepting the apology to the Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Parliament House, 11am.Monday Thursday 16th. Lest We Forget…………………


Mum in Brum, bore the brunt

Of urgent passion in the black-out

Born a bastard because war

Hates fertile virgins.

Breast-fed, then released to nuns

Merciful mission and practiced barbarity,

Her mother worked in Munitions

Till tempted and charmed again

Without a French Letter.

Sins kept secret for years,

Shipped and adopted out

Like thousands of other


Mum’s memory blank until

A new coat and a big boat

Believing it was a holiday,

But it was bullshit –

Folded her arms in resistance

To a snap happy press.

The life of promise presented

To the public was a lie swept away,

Scrubbed, polished, ironed and

Peeled, their labour milked

By bare-foot kids on 4a.m. dew.

She breathed in the blue

Sky and ran to the bush

So the nuns tied her up,

Sent to care for bairns in cots,

And repent for unknown

Mother’s shame, and all

Before her, like

Faceless Grandma who died in

Cheap whiskey songs and

Soldiers Syphillus, and

Great Grandmother derangement

In Dublin’s asylum, all meant

Early un-named graves and

Generational orphans.

Church and State treated our women

Like scum and stigmatised with

Hypocracy unbound,

Preaching the sanctity of life

Whilst criminilising abortions.

Ignorant and deceived to rampant

Cruelty behind iron gates where

Stealing bread and apple cores

In pigs bins was common.

Starvation curried no favour with

Electric wires around the vegie patch.

Quoting Bible, vengeful God in

Heaven and Jesus his Son,the

Stations of the Cross a surreal

Sight dramatised by the Crows circling

Paddocks and vast blue skies

The only relief.

Mum survived this with rebel resilience,

One of a million blights on Christianity

And the State’s complicity, only brought

To light by social justice warriors.

(c)copyright Julie McNeill,Nov.2009

all rights reserved



  1. Oh how horrible 😦 What a sad way to grow up. I just had an impulse to look up what this property was at thurgoona that I used to walk past during high school. It always had a bad feel to it and there was never anyone around. Thank you for sharing, now I know why it was so creepy.


    1. Thanks Melinda – I am pleased to let you know The National History Curriculum rolling out will cover the history of the “Forgotten Australians” and the “Child Migrant Scheme” at my other blog:

      Do you still live in Albury – if so, there is a great local history book available at the library called “Orphanage Survivors – A True story of St.John’s, Thurgoona by local historian, Howard C. Jones.

      The weird thing is my sister who lives in England found she had neighbours from Australia, whose parents were the caretakers of the orphanage!!!


  2. Dear Julie, it was very difficult to find a way to contact you after I found an item on the net asking for info about Canon William Flint (FHH Coleshill) … Flint by name and flint by nature….. !! I should be able to find you some info if you want…. although you can find the usual stuff & photos on Father Hudsons Homes website. At the age of nearly 3, he handed me over to an alcoholic and a mentally subnormal woman, where I was subjected to all kinds of abuse. Refused to help me when I ran away BACK TO FHH twice, aged 13. Nasty hard man. Turned a blind eye to the abuse going on in the Main Buildings.. I was lucky to be in the original building the other end of the High St with 3 wonderful nuns… till he took me away despite their objections and destroyed my life.. I am nearly 59 and still suffering… Good luck


    1. Dear Carmen, so glad you persevered – I wanted to know about Canon Flint because I was curious about his character, being responsible for so many Catholic children and helping to carry out the policies…At least they now follow the freedom of information laws, and so I have included the handwritten letters my vulnerable grandmother wrote to him in my INHERITANCE story at http://julie-mcneill.blogspot.com

      It begins at an earlier post of BOOMERANG and Suffer the Little Children etc. Any info, will help me flesh out the herstories of the time. thanks again.


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