Life at Bindoon, run by the Catholic Church’s Christian Brothers, was a catalogue of cruelty, where beatings and sexual assaults were daily events.
”Bindoon was nothing more than a paedophile ring,” Hennessey says. ”Most of the brothers were into raping and molesting little boys, sometimes sharing their favourites with each other.”
The boys were put to work building the series of grand buildings that Bindoon became. ”It was slave labour,” says Hennessey. Many of them are now deaf or partially deaf because they were constantly bashed around the head.
He recalls children resorting to stealing food from the pigs they tended – because the pigs were better fed. Brother Francis Keaney, the head of Bindoon, would eat bacon and eggs in front of boys who were fed porridge mixed with bran from the chicken feed. The boys would raid the bins for his scraps.
Hennessey was the leader of a group of hungry boys who raided Keaney’s vineyard one night. The next day the 193-centimetre tall, 108-kilogram priest stripped him naked in front of the others and beat him viciously with his fists and walking stick. Then, as Hennessey lay bleeding on the floor, the priest kicked him out the door with heavy boots. Hennessey has had a pronounced stutter ever since.
When he found a little boy crying because he had been molested, he took him to Keaney for counsel. ”He went into a rage, whacked me across the head, whacked the kid across the head and said, ‘Don’t you ever come into this office and tell me lies.”’
This one brought me to tears, those poor poor little kids…