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Tyrone George's story

‘I learnt to shut the door on it, as much as I could, to put it behind me. But it was still there.’

Tyrone was eight years old when he was placed in a government children’s home just outside Sydney, staying there for four years in the 1960s. During this time he was raped on numerous occasions, mainly by staff but also by older boys.

He disclosed some of his experiences to his grandmother when she came to visit him. ‘I opened me mouth, she went back and said something to them, and when she left I copped a hiding.’

Next, Tyrone was sent to a training farm in a regional area. The staff subjected the boys to severe physical punishments, and he was sexually abused again – this time by other residents. He knew that if he complained about the abuse to anyone in authority he would get physically bashed so he just shut up.

After leaving care he found employment on a farm. The manager was cruel and beat him but otherwise he enjoyed the work. He disclosed the abuse he had experienced in care to the farm’s owner. ‘He said he couldn’t do anything about it, but he feels that it could have helped me by talking about it. And that’s why I sat down with him and talked to him.’

During his late teens Tyrone deliberately overdosed on numerous occasions ‘over women, not over my childhood, it was mainly I got involved with the wrong women ... I got through it ... my life’s gone forward from there’.

Later he married and had children, and fully disclosed the abuse to his wife. Since being widowed he has taken care of his family on his own.

‘I’ve got something to live for, that’s for sure.’

Tyrone very recently received his welfare files, which he obtained with the assistance of a support organisation. ‘There’s still nothing to say how, what happened to me, the abuse, the sexual abuse or anything, it’s not in the files at all.’

Still, accessing these records and speaking about the abuse with the Royal Commission has ‘turned a lot of lights on, the things I’ve forgotten and places that I’ve forgotten ... It’s definitely opened my eyes again that’s for sure’.

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