‘She didn’t want us, I don’t think. That’s why I said, “You’re not my mum for what you done”. I blamed her, but I know she got taken away too. Auntie said, “Don’t blame it all on your mum, she got taken away too”. So I sort of backed off a little bit. I said, “Yeah, might be right too. Don’t blame it on your mum.”’
Casey was placed into care as a baby in the mid 1950s. Four years later, when he was transferred to a children’s home administered by the Aborigines Inland Mission, he met up with his sister and brother. He spent the next decade living in a cottage with Wayne and Elizabeth Malley as house parents.
Casey described Wayne Malley as a big man who’d belt kids for any or no reason. Children would push and shove each other to try and be last in the line-up for the strap, hoping the force of Malley’s punishment would be less by the time he got to the end. ‘We all lined up like sheep’, Casey said. ‘We'd wait till he got through about four of us, then he might be getting weak, you know, the cane. But no.’
Casey told the Commissioner he saw Malley do serious injury to other children, including busting the eardrum of one boy. ‘He bashed us, caned us, and that’s what I can’t understand; why didn’t the teachers see all the blood, blisters, here, here? Why didn’t the teachers just pick it up? We couldn’t even hold our pens. The teachers should have picked it up as well.’
One of Casey’s jobs was to clean out the chicken pen and collect the eggs. While he was there, Malley would sexually abuse him. ‘He laid me on the bags, kicking my foot and I know he had his private out, I could feel it on my foot, and he had me laying there and he had a handkerchief all the time. And a lot went on there in the storeroom with the food for all the cottages. It happened there. It happened a lot of times in the bedroom at [the] cottage, [and] out bush.’
When Casey was in his mid teens, he told the superintendent, Mr Crawley, about Malley abusing him and other children, but nothing was done. No one ever visited from the welfare agency and there was no one else to report the abuse to.
A year later, Casey had had enough. ‘One night I just jumped in my car and I didn’t see [the home] again. But I had not one family to run to … I was living in a park with my car, finding a toilet block, but I had nowhere to go.’
Casey found work and built a new life, and in the early 2000s, was approached by a detective investigating allegations of sexual abuse by Malley at the children’s home. Casey and many other ex-residents provided statements of detail about Malley’s abuse, however the case didn’t proceed to court. Casey didn’t know why.
‘I was pretty upset because I know we was in the right’, Casey said. ‘We draw pictures and just because we was a little boy, you still remember a lot of people and I told the right story, draw pictures and everything whatever happens, how it happened. And we lost it. So that was a waste of time. Just let him off like that and we was in the right.’
Casey told the Commissioner he still lived in the same general area as the home and he was thinking of getting out because there were too many reminders of his past.
‘It just plays on my mind, not happy, not happy, not happy, not ready to settle down, I don’t know. That’s on my mind. I’ve even got a son and he’s got three children of his, that’s my grandkids. I haven’t seen him since he had the kids.
'Not very close and I don’t want to tell him what happened in the homes. I don’t really want to tell him, but I’m in that stage that I’m getting, like he’d say, “You’re not my father, you don’t come and look after me”. But that’s in here I think, not have that mother or father love when I was a child. Just never had any.
'That’s why I feel sorry for my son, but I don’t want to tell him what happened in [the home]. I put him in schooling but it just never worked together you know. I wasn’t a proper father, a father figure. I don’t know how to be a father figure.
‘He doesn’t know and I don’t want to tell him ... I should have had more time with him. It’s in my childhood.’