Not only had these lost children been shipped 12,000 miles from Britain to the bottom of the world. Not only had they been exploited and abused. They had been deceived.
They weren't orphans. They had families back in Britain, families which had dropped them off at institutions with every intention of getting them back.
When Tony Jones discovered that his mother was still alive in England, he was shocked: "All them years, and they didn't even tell me I had a family?" he says.
Too poor to care for him, Maud Jones had placed Tony in a children's home in England after she divorced his father. She never gave consent for Tony to be shipped to Australia. She was never even asked.
It took Jones months to save enough money to return home to see his mom. Their reunion was set for the middle of January 1993. But she died just two weeks before that.
Jones went back for the funeral. "I saw my mother in the coffin," he says. "It's the most heartbreaking time of my life. And they knew she was alive. They knew. Bastards."
When he was a boy, the Church of England told him his parents were dead. That was a lie. When he grew up, the British and Australian governments told him his records didn't exist. That was another lie. And Tony Jones was far from alone.
That was the conclusion reached by Margaret Humphreys, an English social worker who began lifting the lid on this sordid chapter in Britain's history.
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