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Q. He was the principal at the high school?
11 A. Yes, and I think he might have – there were a lot of
12 principals, I think I’ve got the right one. We had a lot
13 of high turnover but I think he was the one and asked me to
14 come to a meeting or attend an office. I imagine it might
15 have been down at the school, I don’t know, but he was
16 there and —
18 Q. So you attended the meeting?
19 A. I did.
21 Q. Can you recall who was there apart from him?
22 A. There was – Bishop Challen was at that meeting, I
23 recall that.
25 Q. Did you know who Bishop Challen was, how he fitted in
26 to the scheme of things?
27 A. I do now. At the time I thought —
29 Q. No, no, at the time.
30 A. Yes, at the time I – I had seen him at the hostel
31 before and he – I knew he had something to do with the
32 board. I was aware it was once an Anglican hostel and now
33 it wasn’t but I still thought he had something to do with
34 them. I had seen him a couple of times because he always
35 wore a collar which was maroon or purple or – you know, a
36 religious colour.
38 Q. Certainly, yes. Can you recall whether anybody else
39 was at this meeting?
40 A. No, I can’t. Wally might have been there but —
2 A. Well, I can remember being told that Wenlock would be
3 leaving the hostel.
5 Q. Can you remember who told you that?
6 A. I think Challen, Bishop Challen said that and I think
7 – I seem to recall, or I’m pretty sure, that it was along
8 the lines of “It’s all over. He’s been warned before” or
9 “he’s been spoken to before and he will be going”.
11 Q. Can you recall who it was who said that?
12 A. I think that was Michael Challen.
14 HIS HONOUR: Q. Do you remember approximately how long
15 after the two boys had come to you this happened or can’t
16 you —
17 A. I think pretty quickly, yes. I mean, I think it
18 happened – my recollection is that it happened within a
19 week is my best guess but pretty quickly.
21 MR URQUHART: Q. Can you remember what happened after
22 that regarding Roy Wenlock?
23 A. He disappeared. He went. He had, from memory, a
24 distinctive motor car, you know, a black and yellow car and
25 he used to park in a carport and it just went and when that
26 went, he went and Wally took over – my recollection is that
27 Wally took over as the warden.
29 Q. And again can you recall how long it was after that
31 A. I think – my recollection is it all happened pretty
Q. And why?
40 A. Because of the outcome, I think, you know. When
41 I think back now, it wasn’t right what was happening there.
43 Q. You say “it wasn’t right”. Who wasn’t right or what?
44 A. Well, obviously Wenlock wasn’t right and the – yes.
46 Q. Regarding what you had heard, particularly from those
47 two students, and what you did as a result of that, you
.24/5/2012 (32) 3422 T S BLEE x (Mr Urquhart)
Transcript produced by Merrill Corporation
1 believe that you did what you ought to have done in the
3 A. In passing the information on to Mr Dennison, yes.
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. Yes, I’m comfortable with that decision, yes. I’m
7 glad I did – I’m glad I made that decision.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr Blee, that’s all the questions I have
10 for you
Bishop CHALLEN moved on during our time at
20 St Christopher’s Hostel as well and moved
21 to Melbourne. ( 198? )
Statement by Member for Albany
MR P.B. WATSON (Albany) [12.34 pm]: I would like to speak on Justice Blaxell’s report. I congratulate the
Premier for instigating the report. I also congratulate Justice Blaxell. I had the opportunity to attend his hearings.
His investigators were very caring when they interviewed some people in Albany. I sat in with some of those
people and observed the tremendous work they do.
The three main people I would like to thank today are Todd Jefferis, Mike Hilder and Darryl Stephens. I ask
them to stand in the gallery so we can acknowledge them. These are the three brave men who came to my office
and told me a story. I could not sleep that night and I could not sleep the next night. I cannot imagine what these
guys went through for 20, 30 or 40 years. They told me stories about what they had experienced, which I did not
think would happen in Australia, especially in Western Australia. The horrors they went through affected their
childhood, their youth and their marriages. We lost some guys who went to the hostel. Talking to the guys on the
day they came to see me, they said that they started to realise that they were going to a lot of funerals and then
noticed that a lot of these guys from the hostel were committing suicide. We did not have a pathway for these
young men. They went away to a government institution as young boys off the farm. They thought that
everything that happened was their fault. Mr McKenna had so much power over them that they started to think
that what they were doing was their fault. Now we have a system, Justice Blaxell has recommended mandatory
reporting include the Country High School Hostels Authority. I always thought that something like that would
have happened before. Obviously, it did not. That is a tremendous bonus. Justice Blaxell has also recommended
that an independent body be established—a one-stop shop—so that every child in a hostel has an opportunity to
make a complaint. We have to ensure that when every child goes to a hostel, someone sits down and explains
everything to them. A lot of country members might have gone to hostels when they were younger and they
might have had a great experience. We have to find a way to ensure that this sort of thing never happens again. I
think this independent body is a great suggestion but we have to ensure that we educate people. People going to
these hostels are young and very gullible. They are away from mum and dad for the first time in their lives. As
long as it is done properly, this independent body will help.
After talking to some of the men this morning, I was aware that we need a commitment to pursue those people
who have had adverse findings made against them. Eleven matters were followed up. I know they have been
referred to the police but I have to ensure that these people are held accountable. Some of these people are in
very high positions. One little thing came up after talking to the men this morning; that is, no-one has apologised
Extract from Hansard
[ASSEMBLY — Wednesday, 19 September 2012]
Mr Colin Barnett; Dr Kim Hames; Mr Mark McGowan; Mr Peter Watson
to them. The Shire of Katanning has not apologised or said that maybe it should have done something. All these
people have wrecked these young people’s lives and not one person has come out and said, “Maybe we’re
wrong.” It is terrible for the people of Katanning but it would be nice for the Shire of Katanning to say, “We
apologise for what happened. We are not responsible for it now. This should never happen again. What
happened should not have happened but we apologise.” This is a big part of the grieving process for these men.
The compensation package is good but there is a maximum benefit of $45 000. I would be interested to know
how this is being worked out. How can we say that one person suffered less than another or one person should
get $45 000 and another should get $10 000? We are talking about people’s lives here. I will be very interested
in the process that occurs. A lot of these guys are not in it for the money; they just want closure. Counselling is a
real issue for me. Someone might be very strong and need only one counselling session but someone else may be
on the verge of suicide or suffering from a marriage breakdown. They might need four or five or 10 or 15
sessions. We cannot forget these guys.
The report has been presented today, but we cannot forget what these guys have been through. We talk about
courage on a football field and in wars, but these guys have stood in their local community and said, “I was
abused.” I know I would find it very hard to do that, but these guys have had the courage to. I will not forget
them, I will keep fighting for them; we cannot forget them. They suffered horrible abuse in a government system
that was supposed to protect them. They suffered abuse the like of which we will never know. I cannot imagine
what they went through and how it affects them now. We have them here today, and we also have Kim Daniels
from Katanning who has also laid charges against McKenna.
I congratulate the Premier and former Supreme Court Justice Blaxell, and I have so much admiration for the
guys who came forward because they might have saved other people’s lives. I congratulate the Premier on the
report and support all the findings.