Them part 1

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Gough Whitlam, later to be Australia’s Prime Minister, was beginning to cause ructions about adoption nearing the end of the 50’s. I was an eight-year-old attending Primary School in Melbourne’s suburban outback but finding my childhood less than enjoyable. Anger was constantly bubbling.

My adopting male was, in the most, quiet and hardworking. Poorly educated, he was second eldest of twelve, and toughed out the great depression to later soldier in New Guinea during World War 2. After the War he would lose himself in the tranquillity of his garden only to be interrupted by his irritating wife complaining about her lot in life – and that included me.

‘Wait ‘til your father comes home!’ would be her threat, refusing to accept even my legitimate excuses. After the beating she would admonish him while cuddling me against a cloying breast. I came to despise her when a child but to pity her in later years. She was very disturbed and always unhappy.


As a mother, this shrill, sparrow of a woman had little respect for her three adopted children. In discussing us with neighbours I would overhear her say, ‘I don’t know how anyone could give up their child?’ or she would taunt me with ‘Your parents didn’t want you?’ On the other hand, I had been told that I was adopted from an early age with the obligatory comment, ’We chose you because you are special.’ Especially thick hide, that was about the extent of special.

 

Gough Whitlam, later to be Australia’s Prime Minister, was beginning to cause ructions about adoption nearing the end of the 50’s.