Monday, 26 January 2015


One of the biggest problem we have in the adoption community s the right to have contact and the right to privacy. This conflict is never ending and coupled with the draconian non information laws of South Australia it will be a permanent stain on society.

This conflict is the result of the changes from closed adoption to open adoption that occurred in the 1980's.  The sad thing about all is that it divides people who believe their rights are more important than the other persons rights. And examples of the abuse of those rights can be directed to the old Victorian legislation where adoptees could find about about their mothers and even if the mothers had a contact statement in,place the adoptee could ignore it with impunity. I was told by others of adoptees stalking their  others , of an instance where a adoptee posed as a market research interviewer to get into her house.  Whilst many have said the use of the AVO system should help , it has in every state been shown to be a paper tiger. one only has to look at the number of assaults and murders of people  who have AVO out to protect them understand a disturbed obsessed person would  not take any notice of that. hence in the past most states have severe financial penalties for people breaching contact veto's.

The senate reference committee recommendations in the Forced adoption policies and practise report at page xxxiii Recommendation 15 states in part

" All parties have an ability to regulate contact, but that there be a upper limit on how long restrictions on contact can be in place without renewal"

This showed that the reference committee was aware of the rights of some people to have their privacy respected, but also recognised that people do change their minds over the years especially as we age.

The nationwide common implementation of this recommendation still has not occurred with differing states having differing rules and regulations and very few implementing the time limits. it is interesting to note that South Australia with it draconian laws does have a 5 year renewal period.

Now how do we as citizens who respects others rights implement such common rules. well first of all using the stick of massive fines and jail does not work and only traumatises people who already have experienced much trauma.  But we need to ensure that breaches are kept to a minimum.

One solution may be that after the interview where a person receives the information, the relevant authority try to arrange a one off meeting at the authorities office so that both parties can a, have their rights in the future protected because there is no longer a yearning to make contact. The contact is in a controlled environment and reason can be presented either face to face or through the intermediary. There could be more than one meeting under supervision

One month after that contact they find out if the party who as the veto wants it to remain and if they do then have the penalties for breaching.

Like all matter pertaining to adoption there is no simple solution, and like everything else compromise by all concerned has to be the order of the day. This solution may never work but it should be put in the mix when discussing changes to adoption laws again in Victoria.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The need for adoptees to have their medical conditions professionally assessed

I have been seeing a psychologist for over four years ever since i had a breakdown in  Echuca.
I have been treated for PTSD. I have been very open about this because I believe if i can get one person to see a professional as opposed to those who practise instant cures I have done my job as a adoptee who advocates the traditional treatment line. As part of my application for non liability treatment through the department of veterans affairs Australia, I was required to have a assessment from a psychiatrist.  As a result of that assessment i now believe that i have had the condition listed for most of my life but by sheer willpower have managed to keep the symptoms at bay most of the time until the the early 2000's. By most of the tie I mean that there were many times where anger and rage was so intense that i could not remember what occurred. I managed to control that eventually but yes the remnants of that anger still manifests itself whenever i am threatened or people try to treat me by any form of abuse micro or macro. As a result of my character flaw, many who claimed to support deserted me and then spread the word i was not to be trusted.  Many like Lizzy Howard(Brew), Cameron Horn and Christin Coralive us that flaw against by ridiculing me making false claims and even false Facebook pages about me knowing i would react and then they may actually devalue what i was attempting to do, that is present a logical face to adoption and paint a non rhetorical picture of the costs to adoption without the claims of male adoptee being killers, drug addicts and losers.

I now put myself out on a limb for further ridicule by showing my psychiatric evaluation with the names of the medical practitioners removed. I do this in the hope that at least one other adoptee no matter where they live will say, hey that seems like me maybe i should go and get evaluated. If that happens i will be so happy.  I know those who despise what i stand for will again use this against me and yes, probably I will overreact against their sickening activities. I also hope that in the future those within the adoptee community will treat those of us who have these issues and how we respond will treat them much more kindly than i was treated

Merry Christmas all and I truly hope you can enter the festive season with joy in your heart

Monday, 17 November 2014

An Adoptees Letter to First Parents

Recently I read a letter from a adoptee to their adoptive parents. In a attempt at pure plagiarism and balancing the books I offer this letter to natural parents.

Dear Mother/father or both,

When i was born I was taken from my mothers arms either at birth or some weeks after.  In some cases it could have been many years later and was unilaterally allocated to new parents to be raised as if of their family.  As babies we knew nothing of the events that made this happen; all we knew was that the person who nurtured us was no longer a part of our lives.

As our first parents we are all aware of the pain you have endured with the removal of us and you will always have our empathy and admiration. but please never forget that the unremembered trauma that we who were adopted as babies often started with the emotional stress you had whilst you were carrying us in your room. I know you never meant for this to happen but it did from the minute you realised that you were pregnant and that the possibility of having us in your lives was never going to happen despite a deep seated desire for it to be so.  Then there was the trauma of us leaving you forever, again for babies a unremembered trauma. For some we were to be bonded with our mothers until adoption. we would have been breast fed and nurtured by you only to be dragged from your arms when we were about six weeks old. For others it was the cruel taking at birth never ever to be with their mother.

But this is not remembered because as babies we only remember some events from three years of age. The older children would have a very concise experience of what happened which happens today with child protection placement and many people adopted from other countries.

But by not having a memory how do you expect us to know how you felt, how do you expect us to have knowledge of that traumatic event and even feel pain. it does effect us daily by virtue of the fact that it has helped to develop our personalities and safety levers which we have used to , in most places grow up and become productive and good members of the society that initially had decided we were second class citizens.  For mothers, the few  who actually chose to, our removal and adoption allowed them close a chapter on their past and to create a new life as if we never existed. but for the  majority it was always a memory and emptiness in your hearts that sadly will never be mended.

As children growing up we all experienced the many facets of life and depending upon whom our adoptive parents some had a really loving childhood, others had a childhood full of brutality and many also had a a fair to middling childhood. you can be assured that the small majority appears to have had a reasonable to good life and  a large minority were sadly subjected to some for of emotional of physical abuse. this is most unfortunate and i am sure not what the so called experts were telling you back at the time of birth. but do not believe the exaggerated claims of most adoptees having a brutal life, that adoptees commit suicide because of being adopted (although it may have been a small contributory factor) or that your son may have developed criminal tendencies or even murder.  If your child is gay do not blame the adoptive parents because the odds are this developed whilst in the womb and i  fact may have been a result of the stress experienced whilst there.

Like you , adoptees have had at many periods over their lives emotional issues that truly needed professional support but none were available. So forgive us if we have fallen into the arms of charlatans and other quick fix bloodsuckers. However this will slowly be sorted and hopefully there will be a vast range of professional services that will help them, and for that matter you to accept that which can never be changed.  But from experience the road is long and many pitfalls will occur but keep on getting back up.

Attempting as two mature adults to unite again is one of the most terrifying events of all. you have two adults , not mother and child, but two mature adults who have led completely different lives and have had no shared experiences.  The failure rate is high and if we do not  develop a relationship, it is not any ones fault. The myth of the maternal bond is just that because the bond was shattered all those years ago.  Try to read the signals coming from your adult child. Do not condemn their parents without their lead nor express gratitude towards them for the same reason. How their adoptive parents have raised them have also influenced their lives and as with any parental relationship there are good bad and in the middle. but their parents have spent their entire life with them whereas you have not. it is difficult and many say they deserve to know the truth but don't try to shove it down their throat in one go. Assess the situation and answer truthfully when they ask questions. Be honest as you can and please do not throw back to well documented rhetoric and mantras. We adoptees have a good radar for that and mostly we can see anything that appears out of place.  After the initial meeting of all goes well the honeymoon period will start and that is a time of joy for many. but all honeymoons end as after that both adoptee and parent will have to work very hard at maintaining a adult relationship based upon equals. There will be no go zones which should be respected and hopefully over the decades life will be good.

The one giant no no that mothers and fathers should never tell an adoptee is that they are immature, inexperienced have been brainwashed and don't know what they are talking about because the mothers  know best. Just as adoptees will never ever fully understand what our mothers and yes some fathers endured, you will never know what adoptees feel and have endured. each experience is unique, each method of handling the fact they were taken is different. there is no common mantra or life that adoptees have led.  In each case the adoptee is a unique person but is fully experienced in adoption as they have lived it all their lives. Some may have actually lived it without knowing that they were in fact adopted. They have the double jeopardy of the trauma of pre birth, removal then the final betrayal of realising their history is false, the triple whammy of trauma you may say. but inexperienced naive or brainwashed they are not. They are all human beings who have led lives that should be validated and accepted just as your life as our original patents should be validated and accepted. You both are equals in this tragic drama called adoption.

Please listen to these words our natural parents and hopefully they will assist in the difficult times when you relate to your sons and daughters who were removed so early in their lives

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Cancer of Hate

During the Senate inquiry into Forced Adoptions and the subsequent Apologies up to even recently I was subjected to a very vicious hate campaign directed towards me . Certain people vaguely threatened to harm me if i went to the Handing down of the senate report, on the eve of the Tasmanian apology claims were made I was a paedophile which were later carried on by a twisted adoptee where i was named on a outing Facebook page. Even in the last 12 months twisted individuals sought to destroy me putting up a false Facebook page on my name. I remember one day a full day was conducted on a Facebook group that illegally used the Australian coat of arms to attract members with the implication it was a official site, on attacking me.  Most of this is in the past and this is to impart upon all that i know what it is like to have a hate campaign conducted against you.

But what i endured is nothing compared to what is being endured by residents of Australia by the hate groups that have arisen which are instilling hate and bigotry within our community. There are many of them but i will mainly talk about what i read on the site of The Australian defence League-Soldiers Facebook page.  but i note that this organisation is opening Facebook sub groups all over Australia spreading their hatred to members of the Australian Islamic community in the guise of fee speech. but is it free speech to say things like the following:

" those fukn muslim pigs!!!! 
slaughter the fukn lot of them"

"Fuck it. Go get them. Kill them all and hang their bodies from a bridge."

"Lets get some muslim scum and give them the full on Aussie fight they want. Wipe them from the history books permanently"

The above is just a small example and yet the Government of the day whilst shouting loudly , and with some justification, about the hatred coming from a small number of extremists who use the cover of Islam to justify their hate campaigns, is strangely silent when others wrap themselves in the Australian flag to use a cover to spew their hate and bile. we know ASIO and police authorities are actively monitoring the Islamic extremists yet they have done nothing to those who spew the hate from the other side. yet as we know the Oklahoma bomber was a extreme right wing person and ASIO dropped the ball many years by concentrating on communist sympathisers when i fact the danger was the extreme right wing from a Baltic state. hence the raid on ASIO by the then Attorney General.

We as Australians have a responsibility to publicly out these hate groups to the authorities and our politicians regardless of who they are. The Australian Defence League-Soldiers were actually compiling a list of Islamist and left-wingers facebook profiles for whatever reason they had. A the name implies it would appear that former and serving members of the military may be involved. One can only imagine Hitler style brownshirts pounding on the "undesirables doors in the middle of the night to help educate the recalcitrant.  The rule of the thug replacing the rule of law and the freedom to disagree.

Now i have many friends on my list of friends who have legitimate concerns in relation to the role some of the extremists , especially those who have headed overseas to fight in other people war. But they don't run about threatening people they express their concerns in a legitimate way and good on them for doing it  because that is what democracy is about. as a retired RAAF member I too have concerns about the security of our nation and our reliance on materials support from overseas suppliers. I also have concerns at the events going on in the middle east and other hotspots around the world.  But what we think and talk about is not about hatred based upon race religion etc it is about being Australians and the many varied peoples who are so proud of our country. This is about ensuring the hate mongers are removed from their phony covers of using patriotism of religion to preach their hate. But we cant do it whilst our leaders also use those props to support their causes.

I am sure our prime minister has a good heart and has no racist intent. but by reacting to speeches conducted at Islamic centre in the manner he did inflames what is a delicate situation.  he has aggressive tendencies as shown by his use of the term " shirt fronting President Putin"  In Australia a shirt front means this:

"An aggressive scruff of an opponents jumper is often called a shirt front and is an illegal and reportable offense (but again, often subject to interpretation). In some cases, for example, one player will grasp his opponents jumper and aggressively pull and push him trying to make contact with the lower jaw with his fist."

So our Prime Minister is espousing the use of aggressive behaviour to the leader of another country,much like what the Australian defence league is espousing towards people of the islamic faith

This hatred has to stop as it is destroying the delicate framework of our society built up over 100 years.
Failure to do so will make our country so much more dangerous and fearful

Saturday, 6 September 2014


This post today is not about adoption but starts from the moment the then prime minister of Australia did offer a heartfelt apology to all those affected by past adoption practises. it is about the continual uncertainty that life brings and is a lesson for all adoptees and other people to understand. The lesson is that there will always be major trauma and events that affect you and those around you that you love and that to sheet home blame to others or what may have happened when you were a baby is to ignore the reality that life for all its wonderful glory does involve tragedy, trauma and all of life's not so  wonderful events and these shape you and  test you.

For many years my life has been mixed up in adoptee activism which sometimes has taken me from the emotional connection to  my loved spouse, Sheryl. Sometimes i questioned my commitment to her in this period as being led into the "light of healing" and leaving the comfort zone of rationalisation and logical facts had for me become a disaster with emotional confusion, a emotional breakdown many miles from home and a questioning of my own values. This had happened before when i discovered I was adoption but the generous abuse of alcohol and loose women in a foreign land had deadened the pain, albeit at the expense of the welfare of my family. So this time having gave up drinking in vast quantities, i felt every inglorious heartache, every piece of abuse levelled at me because i was considered a uneducated brain washed moron. Some felt i had leadership qualities but for me personally I always felt uncomfortable even being thought of in that role. so even that caused conflict within me. many wanted me to bare my soul which i did and then it was used against me in later disputes.  A old boss of mine once said " Murray you are too honest for your own good".  he was right because being honest with people within the adoption community is a recipe for future heartache.

Bu the time of the apology this was broadly receding as a important issue because i felt i had regained my equilibrium . So off to Canberra I set off two days before the apology, the 19 march 2013.  The next day was to prove a life altering time for Sheryl and myself.  There was a message on my phone for Sheryl to ring the breast screen people at Ballarat as they needed her to come back. I called Sheryl and she contacted them and when i was meeting with our local MP Catherine King that morning of 20 march 2013 she was back at breast screen having a biopsy, two lumps had been found.  A week later we were sitting in a private room at breast screen being told that the tumours were malignant and that they were triple negative. The next few weeks are a blur; we saw the surgeon at the hospital and Sheryl was admitted for a full mastectomy of the right breast and full ancillary lymph nodes removals on 23 April 2013 two days before ANZAC day. The operation was successful and 5 days later Sheryl came home.  In subsequent days we were told the 13 removed lymph nodes were negative but in the last month we found out that three were in fact positive. Why we were not told I don't know

Sheryl was due to start chemotherapy by early June bur was delayed due to problems with a seroma drainage, One session she was actually drained of 700 mils of fluid, the equivalent of a large bottle of beer.  Her first session of chemotherapy, using a broad spectrum drug as there is no targeted treatment for triple negative cancers seemed to go off without a hitch until the ninth day after when I had to rush Sheryl to hospital with a raging temperature. That night she went tachycardia in front of me and passed out. Thankfully that was in emergency.  Sheryl remained in hospital for the next nine days, 5 of them she was mostly delirious.  I believe the only thing that stopped me from breaking down was the Lexapro medication i have been on.  I could not cry but inside i was very very distraught.

As a sideline this was also the time a person who claims to be Maori, indigenous , Irish and any other racial mix she decides on at the time decided to launch a vicious attack upon me on the Adoption truth and Transparency Facebook page further adding to my distress.  This person who has a love of dingoes was acting like a dingo around a child at Uluru, striking whilst i was at my weakest.  I sought help and support from whom i considered to be friends by asking them to remove this person from their list. Instead they rebutted and rejected me one of them saying , Cancer is temporary; adoption last forever. Well Nim, the cancer may not last forever but as you will read, the after effects can and for Sheryl do last a lifetime.

When Sheryl had her second round of chemotherapy, she lasted four days before being back in hospital for 5 days this time with thrush from the sinus's through to the stomach .  When she was admitted her blood sugar levels were 30 ,( Sheryl being type 2 diabetic). This I have been told that have been the catalyst which has left her the way she now is. She had developed a allergy to the antibiotics pushed into her during the period she was delirious.

Thankfully the final course of chemotherapy only resulted in a short time in emergency.  Her chemotherapy main drug was a drug called docataxyl which can have a adverse reaction to diabetes sufferers and can cause long term damage.

From the time of her admission until then we had been coping on a very reduced source of income, mainly my military retirement pension and some income from the limited work i could do. To manage I had been juggling the bills and using credit cards that I had previously cleared out to zero balances. but this could no longer go on.

When it appeared that the reaction to the chemotherapy for Sheryl was extremely negative, with very bad neuropathic pains in the legs which were swelling up, numbness in the left hand, Lymphodema in the right arm, and poor cognitive skills, we knew plan A was out the door, so we applied for a Disability Support pension for her in September 2012 After 8weeks she was refused based upon the fact that they needed to see if the damage to her nerves etc were permanent at the first anniversary of the operation. in the Interim they put her on Newstart with no job search requirement . Upon checking i found about 60 percent of Newstart recipients are people parked there with no requirement to seek work.  One fortnight she received about 45 cents Newstart when my pay was a little high.  gain because i could not put a full effort into work because i had to look after her meant our income was dropping rapidly and the hole was becoming bigger.

I applied for the Carer payment and allowance in late October 2012 after she had been refused the DSP.  By christmas no decision on my application was made hence the hole became bigger, To help a little , I successfully converted my home loan to a interest only loan for twelve months thus reducing the repayment burden.  After a enquiry in February this year the carer payment was approved and the allowance a week later. In April 2014 Sheryl was approved for Disability support and whilst our income is some twenty to thirty thousand less than before, at least we have consistency.  We are climbing slowly out of the hole.

But Sheryl's chronic neuropathy continues, She cannot walk any distance without a walking stick, we are now looking at the pro's and cons of buying wheelchair for her so at least we can move around without her becoming tired and in pain. She still uses Endone twice  a day and lyrica twice a day to control the pain. She regularly attends hydrotherapy, Lymphodema clinic and and a counsellor.  but the pain is a constant and quite often i try to avoid her in the morning until the pain killers kick in. She tries to help me around the house, mainly because we mere males never do it the way a woman does, but that is also very limited. She has been to emergency twice this year due to temperature spikes and reactions to antibiotics. We never know from one day to the next how the day will be.

This is now our retirement life, not exactly what we had envisaged but she has been cancer free for twelve months and we can still laugh at each other. it is a prime example of the uncertainty of life. often at night i ponder what can i do to improve Sheryl's life so she can have some enjoyment because her enjoyment would lift a giant weight off my shoulders. I also think about myself and how i will handle it in the future as i age. It has made me really understand that she is my life and whilst i may get sidetracked on adoption issues and yes a pretty smiling face sometimes, my loie without her would be very hollow indeed.

I have not written this to elicit sympathy for i know that we are not alone, there are millions of couple worldwide that have the experiences we have. Rather it is to show those adoptees who wallow and cry woe is me, i was adopted., how cruel people are because they don't empathise , that they should look at how fickle life experiences are and how unpredictable life can be. This is something we have been taught in womb, when removed, how families have treated us. The world and governments do not owe us anything. It is our responsibility to soldier on, looking for help from professionals not fly by night quick fix experts. it comes back to the motto of "forging meaning thus building identity" .

It is not about you and your birth , it is about being a person who lives a life to the best they can and we are flawed.  Society will offer sympathy then get on working out how to get the new smart TV they want. Get used to that. Those adoptees who decided i was not worthy of their friendship because i spoke my mind forcibly are prime examples of stiff bickies attitude in society. they express words of sympathy and empathy but underneath they are only concerned with their own feelings and attitudes. And like dingoes they circle the wounded warriors who have a concern for the future and those who will be joining us

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


For decades adoptees have been told by interest groups how they have been so adversely affected by the removal from their mothers and how this cruel act has left us vulnerable, higher incidents of emotional issues and other traits that seem to be similar within the adoptee tribe. In Australia this has been blamed on the forced adoption era and the methods used to remove us from our mothers and yes the different ages we were upon removal.  In fact many people have and are profiting from this accepted theories worldwide and alternative healing " professionals" have been also at play to ensure the status quo remains.  But what if they were wrong; what if there has been a attempt to cover up the mothers role in this, the issues we have to reduce their feelings of guilt which has come from us being removed in many different circumstances.  What if the primal wound was in fact the results higher level of stress and other circumstances whilst we were developing in the womb. What if????????

I am not a professional , just a ordinary adoptee who because of my past based upon falsehoods questions everything and have been concerned at the lack of modern day research into adoptees as adults.  I put forward these ideas with the aim to make adoptees think and not just accept the social attitudes of the adoption community. this is the context under which this is presented.

I am not trying to diminish the effects that removal from our natural parent has impacted upon our lives.  But i do question the exclusiveness of that impact.  many children are removed from parents at early age not just adoptees and as the HILDA(living in Australia) study as shown as reported in the AIFS study  The life satisfaction scores of 8 to 10 on a standardised scale where o = poor satisfaction  and 10 high satisfaction 61 percent of the 148 adoptees in the HILDA sample scored 61 percent against the non adopted of 67 percent. I am using the HILDA result as this is a longitudinal  study where the household were selected by randomised house selections within census districts.  Furthermore the WHO Quality of life instrument showed overall satisfaction with life for adoptees was 3.5 with a standard deviation of 1.2 against the Australian norms of 3.6 and a 0.9 standard deviation.

The AIFS study of 825 adoptees also showed that the higher the level of education  amongst adoptees the higher the score in life satisfaction scales. With adoptees representing an above Australian average of post secondary education, the significance of the life style available to them also need consideration if we could compare them to  those who were institutionalised and not adopted.  Overall adoptees have fared a better lifestyle than those who have been placed in institutions and into the rotating foster care system. but that does not mean we do not have major issues, rather we have overall a much better ability to process the issues and lead productive lives.

We must remember however, these abilities to process our trauma and stress will vary from time to time, we will be influenced by parties saying what they think you should believe and just how evil the people who adopted you were. The fact that many elicit sympathy by using terms like ripped from my womb, pillows over heads, passing full blame onto the staff at the home or the hospital and absolving immediate family and society are all designed to make the adoptee feel guilty that their life has in the main been one of greater opportunities. They promote the fallacy that welfare payments in then past meant they could have raised you, thus pushing the greedy adoptive parent mantra. The facts were that any payments in the past would not have been able to support a young lady and her child. Some have blamed the adoptive parents for what their child has become; one in particular blames them for her son's sexuality. Some blame adoptees for not getting a slam dunk in relation to the apology and try to rewrite history.  All these whether intentional or not are designed to make the adoptee feel guilty that he has been brainwashed, that life would have been so much better with their mother.  The only fact in all this is that in most cases our mothers were never given a opportunity to show they could be good loving parents.

Recent studies have now showed that many of the issues we adoptees have faced have i fact originated within the womb in which we grew. Every body understands how alcohol and drug abuse will lead to babies being born with significant drug addiction and developmental issues
 The following links show just some of the research. it has been difficult to look for reputable research as opposed to voodoo magic so forgive me if any of the links are not reputable:

These are just a few of the articles and i am sure many will look for more as well as articles the refute these.  Based upon this it is logical to presume that much of what we adoptees do, act feel etc is caused by the long term stress we experienced inside the womb. Whether our removal was forced or not from the moment our mothers became aware of their pregnancy she was placed under unbearable stress,; from parents; from family; from society. Just imagine the stress placed upon a poor young girl being sent to a cold , cruel place by angry parents and then tell me that this level of high stress did not affect we the unborn.  it is still happening today in  over seas countries and also with surrogacy. it would also be happening with young single pregnant ladies in Australia even though they would most likely keeping their child.  Why adoptees can be identified is because we are the most visible group, so the long term error has been to say we are unique. but we are not as any mother undergoing any long term stress will create a potential deleterious affect on the unborn child.

It is now time to get our head out of the sand and realise that we are not unique with these issues and many others also have mental health and emotional issues due to family disruptions and events beyond our control in the womb. it is time our mothers accept that they too contributed to the way we are, not just the cruel hospitals and homes.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Tasmania: The shocking secret


One of the most beautiful places in the world is the State of Tasmania.   It always delights me when I hop on a plane and return to the beautiful state that I love but have not resided in since 30 May 1968. I mention this as this is about my home state and no other state in the commonwealth.  This state that I have idolised and once had visions of returning to no longer exists. Instead there exists a state that, initially created a law back in 1920 to prevent shocking infanticide cases and to prevent people from profiteering from the odious industry of baby farming where people were paid by parents to take over care of a child or baby and then they were let starve to death as well as being drugged. The last conviction in Australia for Baby Farming murder was in 1913, just seven years before the Adoption of Children Act 1920, which was undoubtedly a result of this worldwide abuse and killing of children.  However a simple omission which was brought to their attention in 1950 but not corrected, as far as I can ascertain, until The Adoption of Children Act 1968, opened a gate to profiteering by families and other parties where babies became a valuable currency to fill one’s coffers.

Back at the turn of the 20th century, state governments were rightly concerned with the tragic consequences of Baby Farming and the fact there were no controls over adoption of children or safeguards.  Western Australia had prior to federation enacted adoption legislation and to its credit, Tasmania was the first state after federation to enact legislation, the adoption of children Act 1920. This act was very specific that no adoptive family could be paid a premium without the consent of the authorise delegate approving the adoption, namely the registrar of births deaths and marriages. Whilst the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee inquiry into forced adoption listed Adoption Statistics from 1939 through to 2010, the state of Tasmania statistics from the years 1939 to 1968 only provided information for the years 1951 to 1960 with a total of 2556 adoptions or an average of 256 per year.  I now have in my possession a letter to the federal government dated 13 June 1950 that shows in the period of 1945 to 1949 inclusive there were 516 adoptions an average of 103 per year.  How adoptions increased in one year from about 103 to 259 (1951) I will come back to later.

In 1950 after a question in the federal by the then ALP member Mr Cremean, the federal government was advised that there was no impediment under legislation to the natural parents and other person receiving a premium (quaint term for paying) and that the Registrar General advising he would take steps to correct this immediately. From what I can ascertain no correction was done until the introduction of the Adoption of children Act 1968.  And so the scene was set, but it may be that the Salvation Army who was in control of their home for unwed mothers in Launceston, known as Rock Lynne House, Rocklyn house and other names, may have been aware of this loophole and in fact were exploiting it.

A document dated 13 June 1950 tell us that there were overall 1271 illegitimate births in Tasmania for the period 1945 to 1949 of whom 516 or 40.6 per cent were adopted. This seems to be a legitimate figure because in the peak adoption years numerically which is 1969/1972 the adoption rate nationwide was also about 40 per cent of illegitimate children.  The letter breaks it down even more with figures showing that of the 400 illegitimates born in private hospitals /homes 195 or 49 per cent were adopted a slightly higher figure. The figures broke down the Hobart area with 79 adoptions private hospitals out of 251 births (31.47 per cent) and Launceston and country, which were 116 adoptions out of 149 births (77.85 per cent).  The main culprit in Launceston was Rock Lynne House. A special note was made of the fact that of the 115 illegitimate births, 91 (or 79 per cent) were adopted.  The author of a letter dated 15 June 1950 who was a Federal department of health official (Mr B. Warren) said the high Rocklyn house figures give rise to suspicions of baby buying because of the sellers market that existed. He said he would make discrete inquiries next time he visited Launceston.  I have not found any record of his discrete inquiries. It would appear that Launceston was a law unto it’s own at this time given the distance between there and Hobart and the traditional resentment that was a part of the Tasmanian culture between the North and the South.

I was born at Rocklyn House on either the 23rd or 24th of February 1950, a date was manually corrected.  The consent to adopt was witnessed by a Justice of the Peace and incidentally also a magistrate of the Children court (A.M.White).  This person was a retired matron of the home in which I was born so an apparent conflict of interest is present from my birth.  I have always had my suspicions about the operation at Rocklyn house and wrote a blog spot on 19 January 2012 after the Senate inquiry hearings in Hobart. At those hearings the Hobart divisional commander who made a submission to the inquiry was asked if they had ever had any other homes apart from Elim House in Hobart. His reply was no they had no other homes. I passed the information I had on Rocklyn to the secretary of the senate community affairs reference committee and he was asked to provide information on this home to the senate. Subsequently he provided information, which was exactly the same information I had provided the committee, a short entry from the Find and Connect website. This initiated my curiosity as all attempts to find information on this home was sketchy and there were claims that all records were destroyed in a boiler room fire in the early sixties.  The current Find and connect entry on Salvation Army records for rock Lynn house states
 “ Some records may have been destroyed in a laundry fire during the 1960’s. However, there are book records with the dates 1904 to 1912, 1939 to 1948, and 1954 to 1960.”
 There is one small problem with the fire theory. In a letter dated 30 March 1961, The salvation Army belatedly advised the Tasmanian government that they had shut down the Rock Lynn House Maternity home on 13 December 1960, the year 256 babies had been adopted in Tasmania, a peak period for the adoption industry.  How then were records destroyed in a laundry fire in the sixties?  How do you explain this discrepancy? 

One must also ask the logical question as to why was it closed down at that time?   Was their successful business model of the forties and fifties falling apart as more private homes were becoming aware of the loophole in the law. One can only make educated guesses on this without the co-operation of the Salvation Army Southern command or division.

I remained in Rock Lynn for 6 weeks after my birth being adopted on 14 April 1950. In that time my mother stayed also to nurture me, which has led to many claiming I was not the child of a forced adoption. Nothing could be further from the truth with her diary saying how the matron and her mother forced her to sign.  An article in the Melbourne Argus dated 18 July 1950 quotes a Major Stevens as saying
“ An unmarried mother should be made to feel responsibility towards her child, and unless she had the baby in her care for at least two months she would escape this responsibility. The fact that a girl had to look after her baby for several weeks and then face the wrench of parting with it could have a very definite influence on her future morals”   “ If things are made too easy for the girl and her child adopted immediately after birth, she may be inclined to give little thought to the dangers of returning to her former life”

A Tasmanian Government Department of Public Health inspection report dated 2 June 1954 on Rock Lynn house is quoted in the general remarks

“Most babes breast fed for as long as possible (prior to adoptions)”

As we can see this home partook of emotional and physical torture of the young girls as well as creating a great trauma when the adoption took place to both the babe and the mother. I feel there is a need to say here that a financial report for the salvation Army Home, Elim House Hobart for the year ending 30 September 1953 should revenue to the total value of 213 pound, 14 shillings and twopence from child endowment. So there was a financial incentive to retain the mother and it also saved costs on formula. Ewe must remember these institutions were receiving about 8 pound a week “inmate “ accommodation from persons placing the young girls there.

I said that I would get back to the matter of why there was more than double the number of adoptions post 1950 than in the five years prior to 1950. Whilst it is only a theory, I believe that once the government started querying the maternity homes, around the state as to the status following the question by Mr Cremean in the Commonwealth House of Representatives, the best kept secret in Tasmanian was let out.  It would appear that the staff at Rock Lynn had been made aware possibly through the honorary Gynaecologist, Dr Ida Birchall, MBE or they had read the act more thoroughly than other homes. This would account for the abnormally high adoptions rates for that home.  But post 1950 others would have become aware and would have started utilising this loophole to maximise sales and profits in a demand driven economy.

As a final note, the Tasmanian government has apologised for their past actions but I am sure they were not fully aware of the failure of government to close a loophole when it was apparent back in 1950. The Salvation Army however was operating a predatory maternity hospital in Launceston and was successfully marketing their product until the closure on 13 December 1960. And as the winds of change slowly started to take hold they decided after the closure to destroy incriminating records in a “ Laundry Fire” which coincidentally no record has been found nor firm date as to when this occurred.   Most of the mothers who lost their children in this place of emotional torture would now be deceased or in their seventies and have lived with the burden and shame heaped upon them for all of their adult lives. We the adoptees from this place now have to live with the fact that we were sold like slaves in a country that had at the time fought two word wars for “ freedom” and were fighting an enemy in Korea, which were treating their citizens much like we were treated in Rock Lynn House under Salvation Army Control. At the very least they should give a heartfelt statement of extreme remorse and yes contribute funds to the federal and state government programs to assist those who have been so badly affected by the past adoption era’s.

One thing I would like to add here. An article in the Hobart Mercury dated Wednesday 26 Jan 1949 was about the big list of young couples that were registered waiting to adopt. On 14 April 1950 I was adopted.  My father was born in 1897, which meant his age was over the guidelines for adoption. Yet he managed to adopt me.  One wonders how much of a premium he paid to ensure this went smoothly.

Murray Legro