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Clark Lucas's story

‘I’ve been on my own all me life.’

Over the years, Clark learnt that his biological family migrated to Australia from overseas and that as a baby his parents ‘dumped’ him, and he was taken into state care. His name was changed for state records. He has never reconnected with his parents and doesn’t know if he had any siblings.

From the early 1960s, Clark was placed in many institutions and foster homes in Queensland. He doesn’t know specific dates, but believes he was in a state orphanage when he was six years old.

The staff there were mean and often flogged children for things like not making their beds properly. Clark recalls being fondled by several female workers when he misbehaved, and he was sexually abused by an unknown man, who’d get into his bed every night. As a way of trying to stop the man, Clark started wetting the bed.

‘When I pee’d myself he left me alone. So I’d purposely wet the bed every time he came near me. Pretty sad that a kid had to do that.’

When he was 10, Clark was placed in a De La Salle boys’ home in a different town. He stayed there for several months. The Brothers often went out of their way to create punishments for boys, and Clark recalls them using leather belts with razor blades and other metal objects attached.

‘They put me in the corner and laced me … The stitching [of the belt] had come undone and twenty cent pieces and hacksaw blades had come out. I wouldn’t call that a strap, I’d call that a weapon.’

Whenever he was being beaten, Brothers would make Clark pull down his pants and they would touch his backside. He remembers one of them saying ‘what a nice target’ on several occasions. Clark didn’t know what to do or who to tell. He was scared to be hit with the strap again.

‘I think when they … laced you with a strap and play with your bum, that’s sexual abuse.’

Shortly after Clark turned 11, he was removed from the boys’ home and placed in foster care. He lived with Mr Tailings who was a man in his 50s. Clark was often beaten by Tailings because of his heritage, and he recalls being racially abused several times.

Clark was visited by a social worker several months after he was moved to the Tailings’ home. He told the worker what Tailings was doing to him and he was moved from the home to a ‘half-way house’ where he stayed for a couple of years until he was told that his time in care was up. He was then put out onto the street.

In the early 1980s when he was 19, Clark joined the defence force reserves. He was eager to impress his superiors, but was often disciplined in front of his peers. He feared being humiliated and retreated into himself and because of the difficulties he had with being criticised, he felt unable to continue in the defence force.

Throughout his teens and adulthood, Clark struggled to find work. He’d never received a good education and he described himself as a socially awkward person who had difficulty maintaining friendships and relationships. He had no self-confidence and had been diagnosed with extreme anxiety. He was also dependent on alcohol.

Clark described being over-protective of others, and though he didn’t have children of his own, he’d go out of his way if he saw a child being neglected or physically abused in public. In the mid-1990s, he assaulted a man in a shopping centre because he thought he was mistreating his child.

‘When it comes to the wellbeing of children, it’s everybody’s business.’

Clark had sustained many injuries from the abuse. He is on a disability support pension and lives by himself, and feels he hasn’t been able to live any of his dreams because of his condition and financial situation.

It was only in recent years that he disclosed details of the abuse. He participated in the Queensland redress scheme and received $20,000 in compensation, an amount he thought inadequate.

‘It was nothing to repair my life.’

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