Day in court over Fairbridge Farm abuse claims finally here

ON FRIDAY former Fairbridge Farm child migrants return to court in Sydney to seek justice over what they say was systematic abuse at the farm near Molong between 1938 and 1974.

According to Roop Sandhu of Slater and Gordon, the law firm representing the complainants on Friday, the court is likely to make an order for informing members about the class action and giving those who do not wish to proceed a chance to opt out.

In March the Supreme Court granted an order for the 65 of the former residents of the working farm to go ahead with the class action against the NSW and commonwealth governments and Fairbridge Foundation, claiming sexual and physical abuse at Fairbridge.

Sitting in court on Friday will be former Fairbridge resident and author of The Forgotten Children a book about life at Fairbridge Farm, David Hill.

However Mr Hill said he is disappointed the defence in the case has continued to use delaying tactics.

“I thought some commonsense and humility might prevail before this, but that simply hasn’t been the case,” Mr Hill said.

“We’ve seen through the evidence of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse this type of behaviour was widespread in the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and at Fairbridge,” he said.

Mr Hill said when he returned to Orange and Molong to conduct interviews for his book, which was an expose on the life of children at the farm, half of the people he interviewed for the book said they had been physically or sexually abused.

“The other half I’m sure just weren’t ready to talk about it,” he said.

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