THE Fairbridge Village of old is a far cry from what stands on the site today.
While these days the property is used for training and advancement for youth in the community, young people growing up in the compound during the child migrant years do not necessarily have such fond memories.
Long regarded as the model for the scheme which saw thousands of children torn from their homes to populate Australia, Fairbridge has, until now, escaped the harshest criticism usually reserved for Bindoon or Clontarf.
Tales of untold abuse are common from these institutions, but have been few and far between from our local piece of child migration history.
Now the truth is coming out.
And it’s not pretty.
The Peel and Murray regions are full of people who grew up at Fairbridge and still live in the area.
Granted, there are those whose childhood stories are blemish-free.
But there are so many broken hearts in this community as a result of being raised at Fairbridge it is almost too terrible to bear.
Men and women who have spent their whole lives fighting for justice and recognition of their horrific experiences are finally getting their voices heard.
It’s a painful, ugly truth, but we can’t turn our backs to this part of our local heritage.
So, to the hundreds of old Fairbridgians still living among us, and to the many who have passed on, we extend our deepest regret for the horrors you went through.
We will hear your stories and share your pain, knowing nothing can erase the hurt.
But we will walk beside you.
You will not be ignored.