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Queensland - Archival Item

Allan Allaway interviewed by Rob Willis in the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project (2010)

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National Library of Australia Bib ID

As part of the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project, Allan Allaway talks about his placement in St Joseph's Orphanage (Neerkol Orphanage) by the State Children's Department and the legacy of spending much of his childhood in St Joseph's Orphanage. He discusses his campaign for the recognition of mistreatment of children at the orphanage and his advocacy work through a number of support organisations for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.


[Taken from the NLA catalogue record]

Allan Allaway, born 1941, in Townsville, Qld., talks about the background to his birth; being removed from his mother by State Children's Department and placed in Neerkol Orphanage; the implements used at Neerkol for punishment purposes; provision of clothing for the children, visits by bureaucrats, conditions endured during parade and punishment for non compliance; food provided and the constant state of hunger; the daily routine; being told that his mother was dead; the District Inspector; the range of children, the system of breaking down the character of the child, the staff; being called by number not by name; no acknowledgement of birthdays; hygiene and medical treatment; the lack of trust; the buildings at the orphanage; punishments carried out by the Sisters; working in the laundry; the role of bells; bathing routines; boxing matches; incidents of abuse by a priest; working for a farmer after leaving Neerkol, his chores, treatment, hours worked and wages; meeting his mother, her child maintenance payments to the department and her death (1962); his contract work in the bush; his marriage and his family.

Allaway discusses his campaign for the recognition of mistreatment of children at the orphanage, the process and support; the establishment of Children's Commission; the Forde Inquiry; the establishment of Lotus Place, meetings with ministers to promote Child Safety in Communities; training sessions at Warilla Training Centre; his ability to survive and his personal situation today; his advocacy for children; the need to be a positive role model; his advocacy work at Lotus Place; the Historical Abuse Network; the Alliance for Forgotten Australians and funding; the Catholic Church, duty of care; reunion celebrations at Neerkol Orphanage; learning about life after leaving Neerkol; his reaction to the National Apology, the need for a redress scheme and concrete action; Anna Bligh; Out of home care programs; the duty of care of bureaucrats and politicians; locating his files under the freedom of information; what he would like to be remembered for.

Prepared by: Lee Butterworth