A stolen child

Lewis Blayse was a stolen child. The State took him from his home, along with his siblings, in 1951. He was thereafter a Ward of the State of Queensland until adulthood.

That wouldn’t be the only time the State inserted itself into his life.

In 1989 two officers from Social Security (now Centrelink) arrived at our rural home, brandishing IDs. By then, Lew had a wife (myself) and three children aged 14, 11 and 2. They ordered us to sell up and return to the city. Things didn’t get much better for us after that, although we did start FICH.

The Senate Inquiry 2004 entitled Forgotten Australians estimated a total of 500,000 children taken into Care during last century. 30,000 of these were indigenous. The others included child migrants, but by far the largest cohort of non-indigenous removals was children from unwed mothers, or from families too poor or ill to prevent removal. What a sad indictment on a wealthy country like Australia, that Lew should not have been cared for in his community. Was it because his father was Macedonian? From the file that turned up, it appeared the children’s father was not well thought of by The Department. The sad saga continued into the 60s, with the State pursuing Lew’s father for unpaid orphanage fees. Ultimately, Stoyan was declared a maintenance debtor, so his wages could be garnisheed, to pay for the abuse his children suffered.

A gap exists in services for stolen children who were not indigenous, like Lewis. If he were still alive, I know he’d want to add his voice to this plea: recognise the non-indigenous stolen children too! Not only that, recognise their children!



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