Letter: Lonely and lost in Australia

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The Independent Online
Sir: In Australia there has been much discussion on the recently released Report of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Inquiry into past policies of Australian (Federal) and State Governments in the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and, who are known as the "Stolen Generation". Sadly, the nation is divided over the report's findings and recommendations.

May I, as a member of the so called "lost children of the Empire" (British child migrants) draw to your attention that we were removed from our families in the UK by successive British governments and "shipped" out to Australia and other parts of the then Empire, (pre and post war), without their consent or knowledge and placed in orphanages. I left Nazareth House with the nuns singing: "Will ye no come back again?"

It is time that the British and the Australian government formally inquired into the legality of the "Child Migrant Scheme", the violation and abuse of our human rights and the wrongs done to us as children and, now as adults. We have been emotionally and physically scarred by our experiences in being removed from our families and, in the tyranny of distance and expense of going "home" to the UK to try and find our families.

We child migrants don't have any powerful people speaking out for us other than the lone voice of the Child Migrant Trust (Nottingham, UK). We had no one to turn to for help. We had always been told we were "orphans".

We seek justice for our loss of family by being removed from them, being robbed of our childhood, the loneliness of it all and not knowing who we are, in being sent across the seas to what to us was a strange and foreign land away from our families and homeland.

GEOFFREY M P GRAY

(Former Child Migrant & British Citizen)

Mount Lawley, Australia

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