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South Australia’s houses of shame

12 May 2005

To: Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, AC, CVO, MBE Governor of South Australia and over the State of South Australia and its Dependencies in the Commonwealth of Australia.

May it please Your Excellency:

Pursuant to the appointment of me, Edward Picton Mullighan Q.C., to constitute the Commission of Inquiry established by the Commission of Inquiry (Children in State Care) Act 2004, pursuant to section 4(2) of the Act, I have the honour to present my report pursuant to section 11 of the Act which report is contained in the whole of the succeeding pages bound in this volume.

This report is an interim report on the progress of the Inquiry provided pursuant to section 11(2) of the Act as I am given to understand that you will shortly allow an extension of time for the completion of the Inquiry.

E.P. Mullighan Q.C.


Bedford Park Boys Training Centre.

Brookway Park Boys Reformatory.

Colebrook Home.

Convent of the Good Shepherd “The Pines”.

Davenport House Youth Centre.

Eden Park Salvation Army Boys Home.

Enfield Community Unit.

Farr House.

Fullarton Cottage.

Glandore Boys Home.

Kali Hostel.

Kennion House.

Kumanka Boys Hostel.

Lentara Children’s Home.

Lochiel Park Boys Training Centre.

Mansfield House.

McNally Training Centre.

Morialta Protestant Children’s Home.

Oodnadatta Children’s Home.

Sacred Heart Orphanage.

Saint Joseph’s Orphanage.

Seaforth Children’s Home.

Slade Cottage.

South Australian Youth Remand and Assessment Centre.

Southern Region Group Home.

Stirling Cottage.

Struan Farm School.

Stuart House Boys Hostel.

St John’s Boys Town.

St Vincent de Paul Orphanage.

United Aborigines Mission.

Vaughan House (pictured)

Windana Remand Home.

All these homes were mentioned in Mullighan’s interim report as being places where abuses occurred.


Gerry Feltus is on record as saying that in the late forties early fifties South Australia and Adelaide in particular was full of spies. Going by the list of homes above and the number of men and women responsible for the abuses, it would appear that paedophiles outnumbered them by far.

The pic above is of the Somerton Crippled Children’s Home. The Somerton Man’s body was found across the road, deliberately placed, head propped against the rock wall seen in the background.

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ruth Collins #

    Pete…Courageous of you to dive into Adelaide’s dark past. You’ll recall Jimmy Durham spoke of a wayward lad that met a bad ending in 1946. His name…Allan Leonard Castle (born 1914). In the years before the axe murders, Allan was sent to Reformatory in 1932. His brother Norman Warren Castle was also in trouble for various offences. Both listed as ‘boot-makers’ (possibly a trade taught in jails). You’ll find Norman’s eldest daughter Carlene Castle pictured with Dr. Earl Carlson examining her as 2 year old. Later Norman’s son (a twin) also suffered from polio…… Dr. Carlson, from America, was visiting the Cripple Children’s Home (Trove Wed 21st. April 1948).

    December 17, 2021
  2. Ruth, I know of Dr Carlson from spending ten years working at The Spastic Centre of NSW back in the sixties … a couple of the lads taught me how to play chess there and one of them in particular, a white Russian whose parents had escaped the civil war to Shanghai who was so incapacitated in both voice and limbs I had to firstly understand what he wanted to move then to do it for him. We were both the same age and of similar dispositions with regard to booze, girls and loud music and as a result the games turned into uproarious affairs, especially when I deliberately misunderstood what he wanted and moved another piece. It was the only way I could beat him.

    December 17, 2021
  3. Clive #

    A while ago I approached ‘Novita’ for information on any of the stall who worked at the CCH in the late 1940’s. Tom Cruise might have had a better chance, it certainly wasn’t me. Too many cans of worms are hiding in their files. All I can think of is that the position of the SM, with his back to the CCH was more than just a coincidence, pity the police didn’t notice or, perhaps they did, and put it in the too hard basket?

    December 17, 2021
    • Clive, the NSW Wood Royal Commission in NSW exposed paedophiles working in both the police force and judiciary .. I don’t imagine SA was much different given the number of homes where abuse occurred as per Mullighan’s interim report, given that, perhaps individual action may have been the only alternative available when men of that persuasion were allowed unfettered access to innocent children.

      December 17, 2021
  4. Clive #

    I wonder if Jessie spent some time in a children’s home?

    December 17, 2021
  5. Ruth Collins #

    Pete…I’d never heard of Dr. Carlson’s achievements, until researchers began looking into the Castle family re- photo of Carlene taken with him at Cripple Children’s Home. This was Norman’s eldest daughter. His brother Allan was already dead by 1948. There a few good newspaper articles about the axe murders. The axe was never found (presumed hatchet). There were no witnesses, and the coroner couldn’t say who killed Allan or his mother, however police were quick to label the tragedy, a murder suicide, after finding the father, Herbert Castle drowned in the Torrens. There’s police files for both Allan and Norman Castle. The date 1932 was when Allan was released from Reformatory age 18. Newspaper reports from Western Australia titled “Young Communist Gaoled” Recent arrival from Sydney (17/6/1933) show Allan using the name Collin William Durvale, pleading guilty for possession / theft and jailed for one month. He’d earlier been caught as a stowaway as well. He’s again in trouble for boarding house thefts (reported 21/4/ 1934) stealing goods and clothing (ransacking suitcases) and came before Mr. E.S. Reynolds (Northam police court) and again, he’s using the name Colin William Duvale, and although Magistrate Reynolds speaks about his 3 past convictions in South Australia, there’s no mention of his ‘real’ name Alan Leonard Castle. It’s truly bizarre. …As for whether Jessie spent time in the Children’s Home, I personally think it’s unlikely if it meant she’d expose her own baby to polio.

    December 18, 2021
  6. Ruth Collins #

    For those who ‘Subscribe’ to Adelaide papers you can find Norman’s son Warren Digby Castle in Sunday Mail article page 6 on Nov.14 / 2021 titled “Don’t forget us again!”. In this article Digby uses the name “Peter Arbon”. in the past he’s also used the names Taylor and Castle. Digby (Warren) now age 73, says he was placed into Glandore Boys Home from the age of 7 to about 13, and was among 4 of 11 siblings removed from his parents in the 50’s, and placed into institutional care. He says having polio made him a vulnerable target, and he was repeatedly abused psychically and mentally. There’s a picture of Digby with his current wife Jenny, and also includes a nice little pic of him and his twin sister Ellen as children. …………..Digby’s mother was Doreen Jean Boult… married to Norman Castle. Her sister Gladys Kathleen Boult married George Geesing, and in the 60’s while we lived in Macklin Street Edwardstown, they lived around the corner in Castle Street Edwardstown, We attended Forbes Primary school with the Geesing children. Their eldest son Raymond Geesing was a few years ahead of me, so I didn’t know him personally, but my father knew him and his family. My father also knew the Castle family well. In later years Digby’s cousin Ray Geesing was in serious strife, jailed for abusing children and for murdering Louise Bell, but his murder conviction’s later overturned and he’s set free. Ray subsequently changes his name from Geesing to Boulte. Over the decades, for various ‘whatever’ reasons, these families change their names a lot.

    December 19, 2021
  7. A friend of mine was abused by a paedophile when he was about fourteen and when he told his father about it, his dad was angry enough to find and deal with the pervert most severely, not that he didn’t have the means to do so, being a Sydney nightclub owner at the time.
    At the moment I’m reading about the work of Michael Browsowski OAM, a man dedicated to improving the lot of many Vietnamese children who have been subjected to abuse of the worst kind by traffickers and paedophiles, some of them Australians.

    December 19, 2021
    • Ruth Collins #

      It took 10 years to force Tony Munro back here from Cambodia to face historical child sex abuse charges. It took even longer for Major Crime Detectives to interview him about S.A.’s ‘missing children’. Munro was also involved in the Cambodian Orphanages, and even though SAPOL knew he’d a previous conviction as a Scout Master, they did nothing to stop him shooting through overseas to further offend. Back in 2000, abuse victims in S.A. had to first petition Parliament to have the ‘1982 Statute of Limitations’ in order past offenders could be prosecuted, and then beg for a Royal Commission, which was later watered down to an Inquiry into State Wards only. Apart from metering out punishment, your friend also had a duty to name and report his abuser to police. I think Australian Embassy officials and authorities here turn a blind eye to what goes on overseas. Australian peds could be our biggest export.

      December 19, 2021
  8. Clive #

    Am I correct in thinking that, a while ago there was a photo of Jessica in a school playground, wearing some type of uniform?

    December 19, 2021
  9. Clive #

    As a child

    December 19, 2021
  10. There you go. First we find out what school, then if it had a teacher named Keane.

    December 19, 2021
  11. Clive #

    Well, if Jessica was in a children’s home, that might explain why there is so little information on her young days?

    December 19, 2021
  12. Clive #

    I’ve found the photograph I was thinking about, just input ‘Jessica Ellen Harkness School/’ on Google, On second line it’s the second photo from LHS.

    December 20, 2021
  13. Clive #

    About 29 May 2015 is date when the photo was shown in “The Advertiser”. Seems odd? that the back row are all girls, whilst Jessica is at the end of a boys row.

    December 20, 2021
    • Newspapers don’t publish pics without accompanying words … Clive, matey, we need the who when and why.

      December 20, 2021
  14. Clive #

    Mordialloc College, on their website is another b & w photo, taken in 1937?

    December 20, 2021
  15. Clive #

    Since I don’t subscribe to ‘The Advertiser’, I’m at a loss for words.

    December 21, 2021
  16. Kind of wish that condition applied to that wordy f.cker over Dome’s way, then again, when a bloke’s got someone like that so constantly in his shadow it can only be the result some kind of unmanly devotion. Some do say I have a passing resemblance to George Clooney, not to mention a physique as toned as a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, a mind as sharp as Aristotle and a sense of humour to rival yours, Clive. So I suppose putting up with a 70 plus year old male groupie is a small price to pay.
    Happy Christmas to you.

    December 22, 2021
  17. Clive #

    Thanks Pete, a Happy Christmas to you and yours. Like to think that 2022 will be a break through in this case.

    December 22, 2021
  18. And you too Ruth, especially.

    December 22, 2021
  19. Ruth Collins #

    Thanks Pete…I’ll keep watching here as things unfold… though it’s a little off putting for me to comment owing to the sarcasm echoing in from the commentary box over at Cipher. It’s kind of creepy too considering I’ve said nothing there since around 2013. Meanwhile there’s lots happening in S.A. with DNA testing unidentified bones (21 in all), so here’s hoping next year brings results. Have a restful Christmas, and everyone stay safe and keep well.

    December 22, 2021
  20. Deveson … Where’s Deveson? This is the time of year when we all act human and blow each other kisses, well, sort of, only if Mrs Deveson don’t mind.

    December 22, 2021

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