As an adoptee, we all have a burning desire to find out as much about our true past as possible. Sometimes the truth may be painful, sometimes it may be joyful and sadly sometimes it may be subject to a cover up. Such is the case of the events at Rocklyn House between it's inception in 1896 and when it was finally closed down in the early 1960's.
The building itself which is now called Edenholme Grange was originally constructed as the Launceston harbour master's residence when the Tamar River used to flow up to the old Paton's woollen mill. After it is believed the building was used as a brothel. When the Salvation army took control of the building it was used as a Female rescue home, Maternity home for unwed mothers etc. Yet with a history of over 60 years under the control of the Salvation army there is very little public record of the place where young pregnant girls were incarcerated by their parents and made to work in the laundry until they gave birth.
The Salvation Army with it's proud history of believing all their homes were run in a caring manner and whose belief is they have nothing to hide appear to be very reticent in talking about their involvement. So reticent in fact that the current Divisional Commander of Tasmania was not even aware of the fact that the organisation had the home and after becoming aware of it has had to rely on outside sources for his information. I have no reason to doubt the Commander's integrity in this matter as i have been informed by other sources he is a man of honour .
However, for some unknown reason the Salvation Army is hiding something in relation to Rocklyn house. At the Tasmanian Inquiry into adoption practises in 1999, they again were very vague about Rocklyn. Maybe it was the result of a north Tasmania/ south Tasmania internal conflict; but just as likely they may not have wanted to stand the embarrassment of the nation knowing they had ran maternity hospitals in a prison like manner. What i do know is that when i was talking to residents in the vicinity of the former home back in 1993 when i was searching for my past, these good people did tell me of the fact they heard constant screaming of the young girls at night. I was also told by a salvation army officer who had mover from Launceston to Ballarat that Rocklyn was a disgraceful and terrible place. What i also know is that when comparing two separate consent to adopt forms completed in February and March of 1950, the handwriting of the consenting parties are similar and may warrant further analysis. What i also know is that any media comments on the home back in the period of it's operation is very sparse indeed with only a society piece in 1953 about the retirement of the matron after 7 years where she talked about the 1000 babies she had delivered for adoption and how she vetted the potential adopting parents by talking with them.
The Salvation Army appears to have something to hide in relation to Rocklyn House and have probably been hoping all that passed through their doors will also pass on thus keeping whatever happened there a secret. But as all organisations have found out, covering up any injustice does not work and will only make them all appear guilty. There are over sixty years of records in relation Rocklyn house and to say that " it appears that all records were destroyed in a boiler room fire in the 1960's" is an insult to every mother who suffered and gave birth there and for every adoptee and forgotten Australian who was born there. This is the most unchristian thing a christian organisation can do and they now need to be held fully accountable