In the mid-1950s Jadran was born into a large family that lived in a northern suburb of Sydney. His father was an angry man who formed ‘destructive’ relationships within the family; his mother was depressed and often neglected her children.
When Jadran was nine, he and his older brother were placed at an Anglican boarding school. He described himself as a ‘quiet kid’ who wasn’t sporty or particularly academic, which he believes made him stand out at school. His brother, however, was the complete opposite.
The school had a ‘dominating culture’ where bullying and physical punishments were handed out regularly. He was in constant trouble and was caned and belted over ‘petty ridiculous infractions’. Jadran said that it occurred so often that he came to recognise ‘copping beltings’ as conferring stature.
‘It was something you didn’t complain about, that was the culture. There was something of a badge of honour to take that sort of shit. You don’t dob, you don’t whinge, you don’t complain.’
On one occasion when Jadran was 10, a dormitory master named Gavin came into his room and asked if he had been caned that day. He recalled being proud to say that he hadn’t and was then asked to come to Gavin’s bedroom. Jadran assumed that he would be caned in the room and so he complied. Here, Gavin told Jadran to remove his pyjama pants. When Jadran refused, Gavin tried to remove them.
‘I refused to do [it], I didn’t see any reason to do that … He lashed out fairly significantly with the cane. I had bruises on my back, my chest and on my bum. I don’t know how many times he tried to hit me, he was so angry.’
Jadran stayed quiet about it but a couple of days later a supervisor noticed signs of the battering when Jadran was showering. The supervisor asked him how he got the bruises and Jadran told him what had happened. After this disclosure, Jadran wasn’t caned ‘as much’ but Gavin was still around.
However, the next term Gavin had been replaced with another dormitory master. Jadran was surprised that no one in authority asked him if he was okay or discussed the issue further with him.
Jadran never disclosed the details of the abuse to his family or friends. He didn’t tell his brother, despite having numerous conversations about other boys that were going through rough times at the school. Jadran learnt from a young age to ‘keep a low profile’ and he continues to do so as a grown-up.
Jadran became a day student in high school. Although he did not experience further physical abuse he did witness students blackening the testicles of suspected 'poofters' with boot polish. This ‘black balling’ was frequent, but the teachers did nothing about it.
Throughout Jadran’s adult life he has had difficulties with family relationships. He regularly sees a psychologist and this has helped him with his own children. Jadran explained that he didn’t want ‘history to repeat itself’ and had decided not to enrol his children in boarding school.
Sharing his story with the Royal Commission was the first time Jadran had disclosed the details of the abuse. He has not told his wife or children and intends to keep it private. Jadran has not reported the perpetrator to the police or approached his old school. He said the reason he came to the Royal Commission was to ‘back up’ the experiences of others who had been abused.