"We Are Family"
“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher leave us kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave us kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall”
-Another Brick In the Wall, Pink Floyd
The wikileaks story has certainly been one of the strangest stories in recent years. Heck, just going by the most boring, mainstream accounts we’ve got a seemingly unaccountable libertarian databank dictating to the world how its most important secrets will be handled, a US Army private (who seems to have a hell of a lot of data for a private!) with sexual identity issues, and a weird geek with silvery blond hair and a big attitude who is “on the run” yet somehow has time to do talk shows. However, that is a pretty limp version of the wikileaks story and I aim with this series to crank the weirdness several notches higher!
Part two of this series will focus on the most recent developments and political overtones behind the scenes of the wikileaks story. At that point, I will lay out on the table my own opinions about Assange and wikileaks. However, I think it is interesting to look back in time to events that may have shaped the current situation. While many have pointed out that “there is something strange about Julian Assange”, few commentators have pointed out his connection to an Australian cult. As someone who is focused on overlaps between the intelligence community and the “New Age” and various cults, this set off an alarm for me.
I do not suspect or have any evidence that this cult is the driving force behind Assange’s actions. He himself would certainly not agree with that nor does he have positive things to say about the cult. It may just be a coincidence that this strange man who is allegedly blowing the world’s intel secrets up had interactions with a mind control cult, that “coincidentally” has connections to the Australian elite and intelligence service. Even if it has NOTHING to do with Assange’s current newsworthiness, it is an interesting and frightening tale on it’s own. And yes, Swami Muk’s cult, currently being whitewashed by “Eat.Pray.Love.” does make an appearance.
First, let’s check out this important New Yorker article. I will return to this article in part two as it has significant details within it. However, I’m focusing on one excerpt for now…
When Assange was eight, Claire left her husband and began seeing a musician, with whom she had another child, a boy. The relationship was tempestuous; the musician became abusive, she says, and they separated. A fight ensued over the custody of Assange’s half brother, and Claire felt threatened, fearing that the musician would take away her son. Assange recalled her saying, “Now we need to disappear,” and he lived on the run with her from the age of eleven to sixteen. When I asked him about the experience, he told me that there was evidence that the man belonged to a powerful cult called the Family—its motto was “Unseen, Unknown, and Unheard.” Some members were doctors who persuaded mothers to give up their newborn children to the cult’s leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The cult had moles in government, Assange suspected, who provided the musician with leads on Claire’s whereabouts. In fact, Claire often told friends where she had gone, or hid in places where she had lived before.
This “Family” is not the same Family as the Children of God, which movie star River Phoenix was brought up in, nor is it the elite Washington, D.C. group that holds a disproportionate influence on American society. No, this is the “Family” of Anne Hamilton Byrne of Australia. The Family got its start with a group called the Santiniketan Park Association, which took over a private hospital and used it for LSD experimentation on patients. Note: I have checked out the sources for the wikipedia page and they check out. As always, a wikipedia page is worthless if its links don’t check out. This is a decent summary of the story.
What is so astonishing about Anne Hamilton Byrne is her ability to escape serious punishment for having essentially stolen the lives of dozens of youngsters. As we go along, we shall see reasons why this may have happened.
Around 1964 Dr Raynor Johnson was hosting regular meetings of a religious and philosophical discussion group led by Hamilton-Byrne at Santiniketan, his home at Ferny Creek in the Dandenong Ranges on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne. Also connected was a series of weekly talks he gave at the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne, entitled “The Macrocosm and the Microcosm”. The group purchased an adjoining property which they named Santiniketan Park  in 1968 and constructed a meeting hall, Santiniketan Lodge.
The association consisted of middle class, professional people; it has been estimated that a quarter were nurses and other medical personnel, and that many were recruited by Johnson who referred them to Hamilton-Byrne’s hatha yoga classes. Members mainly lived in nearby suburbs and townships in the Dandenongs, meeting each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evening  at Santiniketan Lodge, Crowther House in Olinda or another property in the area known as the White Lodge .
During the late 1960s and 1970s Newhaven Hospital in Kew was a private psychiatric hospital owned and managed by Marion Villimek, a Santiniketan member; many of its staff and attending psychiatrists were also members.
Many patients at Newhaven were treated with the hallucinogenic drug LSD . The hospital was used to recruit potential new members from among the patients, and also to administer LSD to members under the direction of the Santiniketan psychiatrists Dr John Mackay and Dr Howard Whitaker . One of the original members of the Association was given LSD, electroconvulsive therapy and two leucotomies during the late 1960s.
Although the psychiatric hospital had been closed down by 1992, in that year a new inquest was ordered into the death of a Newhaven patient in 1975 after new claims that his death had been due to deep sleep therapy. The inquest heard evidence concerning the use of electroconvulsive therapy, LSD and other practices at Newhaven but found no evidence that deep sleep had been used on this patient. The Newhaven building was later reopened as a nursing home with no connections to its previous owner or uses.
Anne Hamilton-Byrne acquired fourteen infants and young children between about 1968 and 1975. Some were the natural children of Santiniketan members, others had been obtained through irregular adoptions arranged by lawyers, doctors and social workers within the group who could bypass the normal processes. The children’s identities were changed using false birth certificates or deed poll, all being given the surname ‘Hamilton-Byrne’ and dressed alike even to the extent of their hair being dyed uniformly blonde.
The children were kept in seclusion and home-schooled at Kia Lama, a rural property usually referred to as “Uptop”, at Taylor Bay on Lake Eildon near the town of Eildon, Victoria. They were taught that Anne Hamilton-Byrne was their biological mother, and knew the other adults in the group as ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ They were denied almost all access to the outside world, and subjected to a discipline that included frequent corporal punishment and starvation diets.
The children were frequently dosed with the psychiatric drugs Anatensol, Diazepam, Haloperidol, Largactil, Mogadon, Serepax, Stelazine, Tegretol or Tofranil. On reaching adolescence they were compelled to undergo an initiation involving LSD: while under the influence of the drug the child would be left in a dark room, alone apart from visits by Hamilton-Byrne or one of the psychiatrists from the group.
While Assange plays down his connections to the cult, I find it interesting that they were forced to dye their hair peroxide blonde, and he himself has hair described alternately as “silver”, “platinum blonde”, “blonde”, and “peroxide blonde”. I’ve heard all four personally. Here is an article on the Family from Australia. Naturally, the press didn’t seem to care when everything was going on for decades, but once the story blew up, they didn’t hesitate to exploit it. Sarah Moore is mentioned in this story as she tried to reconcile with Hamilton Byrne, despite having exposed all of her secrets in previous years. It is fascinating to see the hold over her former slaves that Hamilton Byrne has even years after separating. Even her harshest critics and apostates still can’t fight a need to forgive her.
Anne Hamilton-Byrne and Sarah Moore
EXCLUSIVE: THE leader of Australia’s most notorious cult, The Family, remains unrepentant two decades after the raid that shocked the nation.
Anne Hamilton-Byrne broke her silence yesterday, saying she was ready to die after reconciling with Sarah Moore, the “daughter” who betrayed her to the authorities.
The Family made headlines around the world in 1987 when the Australian Federal Police and Community Services Victoria raided the cult’s property at Lake Eildon and took six children into care.
Police later found 14 children had been brought up in almost complete isolation believing they were the offspring of Hamilton-Byrne and her late husband Bill.
In fact none of them was the Hamilton-Byrnes’, but children of single mothers who had been pressured into giving them up for adoption or cult members who did not want them.
But it was the way the children had been treated that really shocked the nation.
Hamilton-Byrne had ordered the children’s hair be dyed peroxide blonde and they be dressed in identical outfits.
It was also alleged they had been half-starved, beaten and forced to take large quantities of tranquilisers to “calm them down” and even fed LSD when they became adults.
Now, in the first ever interview at her sprawling Olinda compound, the cult leader has defended how she raised the children and attacked those who said she mistreated them as “lying bastards”. Of her critics, she said: “I would love to put them right, but I can’t.”
…On the issue of alleged LSD use in the cult, she said: “Everything on earth has its uses.” And asked about whether she had any regrets, she would only say: “I’ve got regrets about losing touch with daughter.”
“I’m ready to die now. I don’t mind when I go,” she said after an emotional reunion with her favourite “daughter” Dr Moore, witnessed by the Sunday Herald Sun. Inside the compound – one of at least half a dozen properties owned by Hamilton-Byrne – elderly helpers scurried around, avoiding eye contact.
The “wrinkly disciples” wore coloured wigs, with heavy make-up, and are said to be among up to 50 cult followers who still defer to Hamilton-Byrne – some living on the property and others in surrounding hills.
…Dr Moore, also known as Sarah Hamilton-Byrne, had been expelled from The Family two years before the 1987 raid for disobedience, with the curse that she go and die in the gutter, she claimed. She later qualified as a doctor and volunteered extensively in India and other parts of Asia. But four years ago her life began to unravel – she developed bipolar disorder. Suffering from chronic pain, she began self-prescribing pethidine, but was caught in 2005.
This next article includes the opinion of the top cop on the Family case who is still frustrated by the total lack of justice and accountability for this situation.
The Herald-Sun, Australia/August 16, 2009
By James Campbell
Lex De Man, the policeman who spent five years bringing The Family cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne to justice, is still haunted by the case and its toll on everyone involved.
And while proud that Operation Forest, the taskforce on which he worked from 1989 to 1994, eventually secured her conviction for perjury, he is still angry Hamilton-Byrne escaped punishment for alleged maltreatment of the children in her care.
Mr De Man said Hamilton-Byrne was lucky the children who had endured beatings, druggings and starvation at The Family’s Lake Eildon property were too traumatised to testify against their alleged tormentor.
“One girl looked like she was seven but was, in fact, 11. She was suffering from psycho-social dwarfism,” Mr De Man said.
“I didn’t think at that time – and even today – that many of the kids would be able to sustain giving evidence in the witness box. I think they’d been damaged too much.”
The detective’s decision to go after Hamilton-Byrne for falsifying documents came in 1991 when the cult’s solicitor, Peter Kibby, decided to co-operate with police.
“Documents don’t lie. People lie on documents. A document might be false, but it’s a human being that puts the information on it,” Mr De Man said.
Kibby then persuaded one of the former “Aunties”, Pat MacFarlane, to make a statement.
After months of interviews, and later armed with the evidence to secure a warrant to arrest Hamilton-Byrne, police still took three years to find her.
These last two stories are very key. They both establish the kinds of circles the Family moved in, including the Catholic Church AND a powerful politician who controlled the Australian Secret Service. The first discusses the Catholic Church, while the second is the autobiography of Sarah Moore, pictured above with Anne Hamilton Byrne. I had done a significant amount of research on this, suspecting some kind of intelligence connection in Australia, BEFORE I had any clue that they were directly connected to the man tasked with overseeing Australia’s intelligence community! Little details like that make everything so much easier for me to make sense of…
But first off, the Catholics! What good is an LSD mind control religious cult sexual abuse story without the Catholic Church making a guest appearance?
Ronald Conway, Hypocrite Par Excellence
For thirty years a prominent Australian Catholic psychologist, Ronald Conway, had a part-time role in assessing and helping trainee priests in the Melbourne seminary. Conway also worked as a consulting psychologist in psychiatric hospitals and in private practice, and some of his male patients say that Conway touched them sexually when they consulted him for professional help. These former patients say that, during “therapy”, they were masturbated by Conway, who encouraged the patients to touch him sexually in the same way as he touched them.
…At the requiem mass, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart gave a homily praising Conway. Hart acknowledged that Conway had been an adviser to the Melbourne archdiocese on priestly vocations. He paid tribute to Conway’s “immense contribution to the evaluation of seminarians, the ongoing assistance given to clerical and religious [people], helping people to discern their vocation.”
Hart added: “We shall never know how much following up he did with these people — in some cases, over many years.”
…In an article in the Weekend Australian on 21 March 2009, federal politician Tony Abbott (who himself was originally a trainee priest in a Catholic seminary in New South Wales) wrote about Conway: “He never contemplated joining the priesthood (as might have been expected of a bright young man of his temperament in that era) and never seems seriously to have considered marriage. He seems largely to have come to terms with any demons of his own and, in any event, chose not to make a spectacle of himself.”
To what “demons” was Abbott referring? And what did he mean about Conway not “making a spectacle of himself?
….Beginning in 1963 (according to Conway’s autobiography, page 98), he was involved in experimenting with psychodelic drugs on patients. He says these drugs eventually included LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, which has sometimes also been known as “acid”) and “the milder psilocybin (derived from the magic mushroom)”. He says that such drugs were “stocked in the special restricted cupboards of the hospital pharmacy”.
Conway writes: “[At St Vincent’s psychiatric department] we helped many a patient with LSD when all other resources, counselling, medication, psychotherapy, ECT [electro-convulsive therapy] and even thoughts of psychosurgery, had been abandoned. From my own work I concluded that no more appropriate substance for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive neuroses existed than LSD in resourceful hands.
“Its virtual abandonment due to hippy excesses and irresponsible and ignorant reporting remains one of the great tragedies of modern psychiatry [pages 98-99].”
Newhaven private hospital
Conway’s autobiography says that he began his LSD experiments at St Vincent’s Hospital. And former patients say that Conway also administered LSD to them at the Newhaven psychiatric hospital which was situated at 86 Normanby Road, Kew, in Melbourne’s inner east.
In the late 1960s and during the 1970s, Newhaven hospital was owned and managed by Marion Villimek, a member of a “New Age” sect called the Santiniketan Park Association, also known as “The Family”. A leader of the sect, Anne Hamilton-Byrne, was also an administrator at the Newhaven. Conway, Eric Seal and other therapists hired consulting rooms there on a sessional basis, and were not involved with the sect. Newhaven ceased being a hospital in 1992.
Celibacy and abuse
Ronald Conway became one of Australia’s most prominent Catholic intellectuals, writing books and newspaper articles about Australian society. He also appeared in radio and television discussion programs as a psychologist and social commentator.
When the church’s sexual scandals became news in Australia in the 1990s, Conway sometimes commented on the issues of celibacy and sexual abuse.
Judging from articles he wrote in the 1990s, Conway evidently believed that the incidence of actual abuse — that is, church personnel committing a breach of professional ethics in their pastoral relationship with children or vulnerable adults — was not as serious as many other people thought.
In July 1996, Christian Brother Robert Charles Best was convicted of indecent assault (for repeatedly putting his hand inside the pants of an eleven-year-old boy in a classroom in a Catholic primary school in Ballarat, Victoria). In an article in the Melbourne Age (25 August 2001), Conway claimed that Brother Robert Best “was seen by some students as more a nuisance and embarrassment than a threat”.
Conway evidently thought that Brother Best’s criminal offence and ethical breach were no big deal.
Conway took a similar elastic view towards the professional ethics of a psychologist by developing intimate (and sexual) relationships with some of his male patients.
The story of “Bill”
Conway’s autobiography says that one of his leisure pastimes was an involvement in amateur theatre production, during which he met a “sterling young man whom I will merely name as Bill.”
Conway says (page 99): “He [Bill] undertook, with the aid of LSD, a series of investigative treatments in a private hospital under psychiatric supervision, with myself as assisting therapist. The treatments were remarkably successful and Bill’s gratitude knew no bounds.”
…Broken Rites has been contacted by several males who received psychological counselling from Conway in the 1960s and 1970s. Conway developed intimate (and sexual) relationships with these patients.
1. “James” told Broken Rites on 17 February 1995 that when he was aged 15 to 16 in the 1960s he was having behavioural troubles, so his mother sent him to see Catholic psychiatrist Dr Eric Seal, who in turn referred him to Ronald Conway. James had counselling sessions for several years at Conway’s home, which was then situated in Torrington Street, Canterbury. Conway also took James to the Newhaven private hospital where he was placed under LSD as part of Conway’s therapy. James says that, on two occasions, Conway masturbated him — once at Newhaven Hospital while James was under LSD and once at Conway’s home. During these two sessions, Conway also allegedly exposed his own genitals to James.
2. “Pierre” told Broken Rites: “In my twenties I was having difficulty in forming relationships, so I sought help from Ron Conway. He treated me for several years at his house and at the Newhaven Hospital and the Sacred Heart Hospital, including with LSD. During several of these therapy sessions, he got me to engage in mutual masturbation with him. Eventually I realised this was not appropriate and I declined to engage in this, although I continued to associate with him as a friend. I know that Conway sexualised the relationship he had with many of his other patients. He justified that behaviour as being part of the therapy. I know of at least four other men who approached Conway for assistance and with whom he ended up having a sexual relationship.”
3. “Roger” told Broken Rites: “When I was twenty, I needed a counsellor. I heard about Conway and started having therapy sessions at his home. He said that I seemed tense, so he started touching me. At first, it was just holding hands but later it became more intimate — that is, sexual touching. In the late 1970s, Conway arranged through Dr Eric Seal for me to have a number of sessions at the Newhaven hospital, where I was given LSD to facilitate Conway’s therapy. This therapy included Conway touching my body in a sexual manner. He also displayed his own genitals to me. Later I put a stop to this sexual relationship but we kept up the friendship.”
“Damien” (a patient of Conway in the 1960s), wrote to Broken Rites on 11 May 2010 and authorised us to publish his commments:
…. “After several sessions with Conway, it was suggested that I undergo LSD therapy in Newhaven Private Hospital as an overnight patient. It was explained to me that this therapy was a way to fast-track psychoanalysis and would be very helpful in accepting my sexuality. Conway, as a psychologist, had no qualifications to administer drugs. I did not understand this at the time.
“During the last session I came to believe that I had been in the presence of God who authorized me to lead the sexual life which had been chosen for me.
“Conway then suggested that I continue to see him without the use of LSD.I explained to him that my finances were stretched and that it was not possible. He said that it was important that I continue to see him and that if I were willing he would see me at his home in Torrington Street, Canterbury, gratis.
“What a shock I got when one night he made advances to me and we ended up on the floor of his sitting room. The room was decorated as if it were the inside of an Egyptian tomb. He said this should not have happened but that, as it had, we should do it properly in his bedroom. It was a spartan room with the bed covers on a single bed already turned down and electric bar heaters turned on resting on tables either side.
…”In the early 1990s, when I was 48 years of age, I was a patient in the Freemason’s Hospital and woke up one afternoon to find Ron Conway sitting on my bed holding my hand. He had heard from someone that I was in hospital. I made it clear that I was not happy with his presence .He explained to me that he had been following my life through a work colleague of mine, another psychologist.
“Ron Conway never appeared again.”
Conway was not “religious” in the common sense and was not a “churchgoer”. In politics, he was right-wing and was opposed to political “progressives”. He was well known among the followers of the Catholic political commentator B.A. Santamaria. These Catholic connections helped him to develop his career as a psychotherapist.
From about 1969, he developed a part-time role at Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College seminary, which trained priests for all dioceses in Victoria and Tasmania. He says he “screened” or “helped” men who had applied to train for the priesthood. The church authorities also asked Conway to “help” other Catholic priests or religious brothers who were having problems, especially sexual problems.
Conway and the strange case of Father Paul David Ryan
It is unclear how the seminary’s “screening” worked and to what extent Conway was involved in it. Broken Rites has investigated the case of one Melbourne trainee priest, Paul David Ryan — and Ronald Conway certainly became involved in this case.
Ryan was originally a trainee priest at the Adelaide Catholic seminary but was expelled half-way through third year.
Despite this, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, of the Ballarat Diocese in Victoria, accepted Ryan as a candidate for the priesthood in that diocese. In 1972 Mulkearns sponsored Ryan for admission to the Melbourne seminary.
Despite his poor references, Ryan was admitted and he stayed at the seminary for five years.
It is unclear why a reject from the Adelaide seminary was accepted into the Melbourne seminary. It is not known whether Ryan was one of the applicants who were screened by Conway at entry but Conway certainly became involved in issues surrounding Ryan in 1976, as explained below.
Broken Rites possesses copies of church documents, including correspondence between the rector of the Melbourne seminary (Fr Kevin Mogg) and a Father John Harvey in Maryland, U.S.A. (who specialized in helping priests with sexual problems). During his Melbourne seminary training (according to the church documents), Ryan “had been regularly involved in overt sexual behaviour” with about six other trainee priests. The acts (the seminary letter stated) included mutual masturbation and also some “more serious acts”.
The church authorities went ahead with Ryan’s ordination, which took place in Ballarat in May 1976, and he was due to be given an on-going appointment to a parish in the Ballarat diocese for early 1977.
But the news of his ordination alarmed a Ballarat mother, who complained to the diocesan authorities that Ryan sexually abused her teenage son (with disastrous consequences for the son) while Ryan was doing work-experience in a Ballarat parish during in the final year of his course.
The church authorities still intended to keep Ryan as a priest but they realised that this mother would go public if she saw Ryan being appointed to any Ballarat parish — and this would damage the respectable image of the Catholic Church.
The church authorities went into damage control. In late 1976 (according to the church documents) the seminary asked Ronald Conway to interview Ryan. Conway then wrote a report on Ryan and referred him to Catholic psychiatrist Dr Eric Seal.
On 18 November 1976, Dr Seal wrote to the rector of the Melbourne seminary (Fr Kevin Mogg), saying that he [Seal] had received a comprehensive report about Ryan from Ronald Conway.
Following the reports by Conway and Seal and after further discussions, the Ballarat diocese “solved” the problem of the angry Ballarat mother — the diocese arranged for Ryan to be given a trip to the United States in 1977.
Church documents (in the possession of Broken Rites) state that Ryan was allowed to work in parishes in the U.S., where he committed sexual crimes against a number of American schoolboys.
And, after returning to Australia, Ryan was also allowed to work in parishes in western Victoria, where he again committed sexual crimes (consisting of repeated indecent touching) against more boys, one of whom later committed suicide. Paul David Ryan was jailed in Australia in 2006 for his sexual crimes.
It is not known what Ronald Conway thought about the abusive behaviour of Father Paul David Ryan and similar church-offenders.
Did he think (as he said in the case of Christian Brother Robert Best who was convicted in 1996) that Ryan’s kind of criminal offences and ethical breaches were “more a nuisance and embarrassment than a threat”?
And here is the Coup De Grace from Sarah Moore. Saving the best and longest piece for last. One of the reasons this post took so long to get out was that I had to read the whole book and edit it down to the juiciest details! But I think I got the significant pages. Keep an eye out for Swami Muktanda of “Eat.Pray.Love” fame and for a certain Governor-General Casey, overseer of Australian intelligence back in the heyday of the cult. This really gets into the nitty-gritty of what a living HELL it must have been to grow up in the Family.
Excerpt from UNSEEN, UNHEARD, UNKNOWN
by Sarah Moore (Hamilton-Byrne)
My mother was Anne Hamilton-Byrne, the leader of a small sect in the Dandenongs called the Family or the Great White Brotherhood. I was a small part of her plan to collect children in what she herself once called a “scientific experiment”. Later I discovered it was her intention that we children would continue her sect after the earth was consumed by a holocaust. She saw us as the “inheritors of the earth”. I didn’t know that then. In those days I was just a child. A child of a guru, but a child no less.
Twenty-two to twenty-eight children in all lived at Uptop in its heyday, although the fosters had varying lengths of stay
She used to say that she couldn’t remember all the dates very well because she had so many children. Maybe, in retrospect, we should have realised that was weird but then we never thought it was anything out of the ordinary. She decided upon sets of twins and triplets and gave us ages and birth-dates to fit in with that idea. Birthday changes were just something you accepted. It was as if Anne knew so much more about everything than us and she just might be revealing another piece of our life plan if she changed our birthdays.
We were the children of The Family, the children of Anne Hamilton-Byrne. We were dressed alike. Most of the girls’ hair was dyed blond, cut into fringes and worn long with identical hairstyles and identically-coloured ribbons. All the boys had bowl haircuts.
…Why did she raise us in almost total social isolation, miles from anywhere, with minimal contact with other humans apart from the sect members who looked after us? Why did she subject us to the bizarre and cruel regimen in which we grew up? Was it to demonstrate that she had the power to create a generation that would be reared with her beliefs and believing in her? I suspect perhaps that there were more sinister motives than these alone. Some of us had multiple birth certificates and passports, and citizenship of more than one country. Only she knows why thus was and why we were also all dressed alike, why most of us even had our hair dyed identically blond.
I can only conjecture because I will never know for sure. However I suspect that she went to such great lengths in order to enable her to move children around, in and out of the country. Perhaps even to be sold overseas. I’m sure there is a market somewhere in the world for small blond children with no traceable identities. If she did it, it was a perfect scam. Many ex-sect members have said that they were aware that Anne was creating children by a “breeding program” in the late 1960s. These were ‘invisible’ kids, because they had no papers and there is no proof that they ever existed. Yet we Hamilton-Byrne children had multiple identities. These identities could perhaps have been loaned to other children and the similarity of our appearance used to cover up their absence. One little blond kid looks very like another in a passport photo. I don’t suppose we will ever know the truth because only Anne Hamilton-Byrne knows the truth about the whole affair and the truth is something she will never tell.
…I am training to be a doctor but sometimes I think my medical career will be sabotaged because there are still many in the sect who have a lot of influence in professional and academic circles. It may sound melodramatic, but I know that some who were Anne’s enemies have disappeared in strange circumstances.
….You would always hear the alarm clock going off upstairs in the lounge room where Aunty Helen slept on guard against food thieves. She would come stumbling downstairs, guided by torchlight, and go first to the boys’ bedroom and wake up Aunty Liz or Trish who slept in there. They would lurch out to the bathroom and get dressed.
Aunty Helen would light the gas light in the boys’ room, and then go around checking the boys’ beds to see who had wet them the night before. The poor children guilty of this would be led by the ear into the bathroom to have a belting administered by Aunty Trish or Liz. Then they would be shoved, still in their pyjamas, under a cold shower, no matter how freezing the weather outside.
Every morning I awoke to the sounds of children howling as they got their first belting for the day. Rare was the day that no-one wet the bed, at least until 1986, and even then the younger boys continued to do so on occasions.
The unfortunate child then had to wash his own sheets out during breakfast, and often had to miss lunch as well. The sheets were piled in a corner of the bathroom until breakfast time and they smelled horrible.
…Also, once a week, or more if it was considered that an individual had a weight problem, we were weighed and the results entered in a book to be communicated to Anne. She had a horror of fatness and was obsessed with body shape and weight. She always insisted that we girls were getting too fat, even though in some cases it was malnutrition rather than extra kilos that caused our bellies to stick out.
Weighing was a very serious business – particularly serious for us because if it was considered that we were putting on too much weight we would have our food rations cut down and that was a dreadful proposition – food being the most important thing in our lives. We girls viewed the scales with hatred. They made our miserable lives even worse.
Some of the girls also showered in the morning if there was time. We showered every two days in a rostered system, some in the morning and some at night. We were allowed a maximum of three minutes under the shower, and ‘no washing down there’!. We were forbidden to look at our bodies under the shower – we were supposed to shower with our eyes shut – and also we were ordered not to look at anyone else. Particularly forbidden was girls coming into contact with boys. I do believe that I had not seen a naked male body – even in a book , as these too were heavily censored- until HSC Biology. In summer, when water was scarce, we often couldn’t shower and had to wash from a bucket or else one bath would be filled and all of us had to use it. The water was pretty dark and scungy by the time it was the turn of the last few.
…After this we had to be on the floor in position for hatha yoga by 6:25 to 6:30 at the latest. Hatha time for lasted one hour, during which we followed a prescribed order of four main asanas (positions) with intervening minor exercises and relaxation.
As we did yoga every day of our lives from a very young age, we were extremely supple. We eventually got given red towels which we had to lay out to do our yoga on; before that time we laid out blankets, which I remember used to slip around on the lino. We lay on the floor side by side, about half a metre between us. The next row was placed in between the others to form staggered rows. Each person had a specific place and one child, who lay perpendicular to the rest at the front, acted as supervisor and directed the pace of the exercise and kept the time.
Hatha finished at 7:20 – 7:25 and then the girls picked up their towels. Hatha yoga was often the only exercise we got for the day especially during the long periods of time when we were totally confined indoors. This happened when there were people in the vicinity or some suspected media or police interest. It could go on for many months. Or we could be confined simply as punishment.
While we were doing our yoga, most of the Aunties were upstairs having their breakfast. THEY got tea and toast. They also read a daily affirmation from a book called `God Calling’. Sometimes one Aunty was left downstairs to keep an eye on us or would wash our clothes.
….Anne Hamilton-Byrne believed in discipline absolutely. We believed we were her children. She was, we were told, Jesus Christ reincarnated. This was rarely explicitly said by her: it was more assumed by how she referred to herself and acted. Her religion was based on distorted perceptions of the Hindu notion of “karma”: that you reap what you sow. Suffering as children was supposed not just to expiate the sins of this life, but also the sins of our past lives. Suffering built up our chances of salvation and redemption. Anne’s religion practically called for child-abuse.
Because she travelled so much she left two books of instructions called ‘Mummy’s Rule Books’. These books listed penalties for infractions. They had entries such as : “If David rocks or sways during meditation, he is to be hit over the head with a chair” and rules about everything, even about how many hours of piano practice each child was to do. These were signed by Anne. She encouraged the Aunties to belt us.
The guiding principle of our rigid existence was discipline. Discipline was the word used to justify abuse. It was discipline that we had to agree with no matter what.
It was enforced in the early days with beltings and the deprivation of food by the missing of meals almost every day. Later this changed to public humiliation, lines to write, the missing of ‘privileges’ and less common but more severe beltings.
We often had to watch others being beaten. If we took our eyes away that would be interpreted as disapproval and if you disapproved that was a worse crime. Public beatings were held to flush out insubordinates. Anyone who got upset or refused to look or appeared to be disagreeing that the person should be punished, got beaten as well.
Punishments came in waves. Whatever Anne considered the best way of disciplining us was enforced until she changed her mind. So I remember harsh times and softer times.
….Megan Dawes once missed meals for a day because she was caught wearing odd socks. We weren’t even allowed to go to the toilet until the designated recess time and so of course kids would wet their pants and be belted for that. One time we had a baby called Madeleine staying with us for a few weeks. She was locked in a cot all day with the sides up. She had not reached the walking stage and so couldn’t get out of the cot and get to the toilet. However that didn’t stop the Aunties. She still got belted when she wet or dirtied her nappy. I remember Trish ordering me to bathe Madeleine in a basin after she had soiled herself. The water had to be icy cold as a punishment and Trish smacked her after I bathed her. She was screaming and I had difficulty holding her still in the cold water.
…We were often punished for rocking. We used to rock ourselves to sleep at night because we felt so miserable, sitting up on our haunches and swaying to and fro, or just rocking our head from side to side.. Often after a belting we would call out ‘Mummy, Daddy’ as we rocked to and fro, calling out to a Mummy and Daddy who were not there and did not care. When we were younger a few of us, myself included used to headbang as we rocked: it was a way of seeking comfort. If we were caught, we were punished with another belting, or being put outside on the concrete for the remainder of the night, or getting cold water tipped over us. Rocking was considered to be bad because , even when we were tiny children it was interpreted as a form of sexual gratification.
…For most of my early childhood, I remember being constantly hungry. We were starving and it was Anne’s policy that we were. We were so hungry we ate dirt and leaves. We were so hungry we ate grass and scavenged in the rubbish bins. We were so hungry we ate the cats’ and dogs’ food, we ate bread and seed left out for the birds. We were so hungry we stole anything we could. Vitamin C capsules were considered by us as manna from Heaven.
….The irony was that stealing food was the crime for which we were most often punished. It was a Catch-22 situation: we were so hungry we stole food and if we stole food we were made to miss more meals. In light of this miserable situation it wasn’t surprising that most of us were obsessed with food.
Extraordinary measures were taken to prevent us stealing food. The kitchen cupboards were padlocked. There was a chain and padlock around the fridge, and an Aunty was delegated to guard the kitchen at all times. Amazingly, despite these measures, we were sometimes successful in stealing food. But, more often than not, the ever-vigilant Aunties noticed immediately if anything was missing.
…As well as trying to steal, we used to scavenge for what we could. The younger children would crawl under the dining table after the meal, supposedly to sweep up any mess, but their real purpose would be to eat whatever scraps or crumbs had fallen. Others of us would raid the rubbish bins and the compost bin. I only ate leaves and grass to assuage in some way the dreadful emptiness in my stomach. It was a desperation measure. Any edible plants and flowers were dealt with very quickly. I remember the nasturtiums in particular disappeared within minutes of flowering. We also ate the honeysuckle bush, and another type of grass that had a sweet tasting centre.
…The climax of each child’s drug-taking came in the sect practice known as ‘going-through’. I describe my own experience of this in another chapter. However during this process, also known as “clearing”, we were given LSD and a number of other hallucinogenic drugs. It was a state that was basically a sustained LSD trip. It was meant to clear your soul and take you to a higher plane of understanding, and was perhaps the key to Anne’s spiritual influence.
….The end of the massive vitamin doses coincided with the death of a prominent sect member called Joan Villimek, who owned the Newhaven Private Psychiatric Hospital in Kew. We believe that she was supplying the money to buy them; as it was inconceivable that Anne dig into her own pocket to provide anything, other than the occasional bizarre gifts and dresses she bought for us.
Being ill brought few pay-offs for us children. It did not result in appropriate medication or extra emotional support and affection. In fact, it often led to punishment rather than sympathy. For instance, David, who had chronic asthma and a history of other allergies, was punished by the Aunties for coughing and wheezing all the time. He was never given bronchodilators such as Ventolin or steroids – the proper treatment for his condition. He was just told that he was a wheezer, as if this was something that was his fault. And if he woke the Aunties at night with his coughing or wheezing, they would often tip water over him and lock him outside the house for the rest of the night, or just belt him. Often he slept in the bathroom because of his ‘noise’. He was even denied meals as a deterrent. Symptoms of any illness were attributed by Anne and the Aunties as ‘all in the mind’ or ‘attention-seeking’ and if someone were really sick, they tended to just be ignored.
Homoeopathy remedies, prescribed by Anne, were given to us regularly for all sorts of reasons. Anne proclaimed herself an expert on this form of treatment and told us she had studied it for six years in Tibet. For the affliction of ‘disobedience’ we were given Stramonium, for ‘shock’ (a term meaning either physical or emotional upset) the treatment was Aconite, for ‘thinking wrongly’ Pulsatilla, for ‘rocking at night’ and for farting Nux Vomica. These homoeopathic medicines were administered in addition to our usual punishments for offences, and in addition to other drugs.
…In an attempt to cure Cassandra of her attacks, Anne and the Aunties began using imported drugs on her. The drugs came from Germany and were meant to make her grow. At the time I thought they were steroids because two of the other kids, Timothy and Arrianne, had been given a course of them once before. Dr Christobel Wallace and the other Aunties called these drugs Timothy and Arrianne were given steroids. Anne wanted Arrianne to grow because she was very small, but she never grew much. I think her growth in height was actually halted by the early doses of steroids given to her.
…Sure, it was much more fun and more exciting than the life Uptop: in America and Hawaii we even got to spend some time with Baba Muktananda. But, from memories of the rest of her performance and attitude towards us, it seems unlikely that she was spending money to take us overseas just so that we could have fun, or spend time with Baba.
I don’t quite understand either why or how Anne got involved with Baba. He certainly paid her a lot of attention and treated her with respect. In the end she ended up causing a lot of trouble in the ashram, and several of Baba’s close disciples defected to the Family, including two prominent swamis of Baba. So maybe she was in it because she saw an opportunity to establish another sphere of influence. I was present when Swami Tajomayananda got initiated by Anne into the family, and, knowing what a wonderful person he was, because he had come to stay at Eildon with us for a while before that, I am still puzzled by why he would want to join a sect where everyone was so miserable, when it seemed to me that around Baba everyone was so happy.
Whatever Anne’s reasons for taking us overseas, life there was much better than that Uptop. We still lived a fairly isolated existence, but when we were in America we had trips every day to Baba’s ashram down the road, and interacted with the other disciples in the evening activities at the ashram. We also saw Baba at a private darshan about once a week, when he could come down to our house to see us.
At these darshans Baba was very good to us. In fact, in retrospect, it was remarkable that he gave us so much time and attention because at that time he was very famous and had many thousands of devotees worldwide, and lots of demands for his time and attention. Of course at the time we did not realise that and merely lapped up his affection and enjoyed the fun we had with him. He was very fond of us and would talk and laugh with us and give us chocolates and little gifts. We worshipped and adored him – we wanted nothing better than to stay at his feet forever. Once he asked us if we wanted to leave Anne and go to Ganeshpuri and stay with him in his ashram. We all enthusiastically said yes, and were later belted and abused by Anne for being so disloyal. I am not sure if he ever knew or guessed what our life was like: he certainly never criticised Anne and treated her with a lot of respect apart from occasionally playing practical jokes on her, much to our (stifled) amusement.
…Among the many things that Anne told us children was that she was a direct descendant of the French Royal Family. She also said we were indirect descendants of Jesus Christ because, she reasoned, she and thus us as her children, were from the House of David, which was the House of Jesus. The lineage was all set out in the front of the Bible. She told us that we weren’t allowed to tell anyone about this, because royalty were no longer popular and we “might get our heads cut off”!
….In fact the sect had come to the attention of the journalist who wrote the articles purely accidentally long before that because he owned land in the Dandenongs opposite Dr John Mackay, a sect psychiatrist. The journalist, David Elias, first realised there was something strange going on when his daughter had been playing with Helen, Dr Mackay’s daughter. Elias’s daughter said Helen Mackay “didn’t just have one mummy, she had lots”.
Gradually Elias became more interested in the sect’s activities and in 1979, while he was writing a series on alternative religions, he tried to write something on the Family, he was warned off by Dr Raynor Johnson, who threatened to sue the paper. Dr Johnson was at the time a very influential man. He was the retired head of Melbourne University’s Queen’s College and was a world respected authority on religion. He was also co-founder with Anne of The Family.
After ‘The Age’ was threatened with a writ it took another four years before Elias could come up with anything else on the Family because of the incredible secrecy that surrounded them.
The information on Anne Hamilton-Byrne he unearthed came from months of digging. He learned that the woman we knew as Anne Hamilton-Byrne was born Evelyn Grace Victoria Edwards in Sale, Victoria. She was one of seven children born to a railway engine cleaner Ralph Vernon Edwards and his English second wife Florence Louise.
Apparently young Evelyn’s mother was known for setting fire to her own curly red hair and for having an interest in psychic phenomenon and talking to the dead. Subsequently other journalists have reported that Anne’s mother was mentally ill and died alone in a mental asylum. Her aunts in England were institutionalised and her sister suffered from psychiatric problems as well.
Newspapers have reported that Anne grew up in a large family. After her mother was committed to Ararat Mental Asylum, Anne spent some of her childhood in the Old Brighton Orphanage.
Although she claims to have gone to Firbank Church of England Grammar School, school records show she began at grade one at Sunshine Primary School on February 7, 1929 and that she had come there from the orphanage.
She has said she was handicapped at school but fellow school pupils do not recall any callipers. In fact according to newspaper reports they only remember “an overweight child whose nickname was ‘Puddy’.”
She has claimed to have had qualifications in psychiatric nursing, homoeopathy, physiotherapy and a pilot’s licence. She also said she had been a famous opera singer, winning the Sun Aria awards, and later studying with Dame Joan Hammond and Dame Joan Sutherland. Journalists who have searched the records find no evidence of any of those qualifications. She also has a number of aliases including Fiona Macdonald, Anne Hamilton, and Michelle Sutherland.
In 1941 she married an twenty four year old RAAF policeman named Harris and had her daughter Judith (who later called herself Natasha). Harris was killed in a car accident in 1955. Newspapers report, though with no substantiation, that Harris’s death was predicted to Anne by a Tibetan guru she had earlier met. As with anything connected to Anne, it’s hard to know the truth.
Apparently after that Anne disappeared for four years. Some reports say she spent several years in Geelong where she gave yoga lessons for $1 a head in a church hall, then set herself up as a therapist of some sort in Melbourne. It is recorded that in 1959 she enrolled in a yoga class in Melbourne.
She called herself Anne Harris but registered her name as Anne Hamilton. She was asked to leave the class after putting a ‘spell’ on a fellow student. In the sixties she married a former Navy officer named Michael Riley and went to live in the Dandenong Ranges, just outside Melbourne.
The marriage didn’t last long. But it was useful to Anne in other ways. Riley worked as Dr Raynor Johnson’s gardener in those days and this may have been how Anne came to know the man with whom she went on to co-found The Family.
A group formed around Raynor Johnson and Anne. Dr Johnson was known within the group as the John the Baptist figure to Anne’s Christ. In the study of his big old house in the hills, they met on Thursdays and Sundays and the talk would be on the principles of yoga and meditation. Finally this group became more formal and developed into the beginning of The Family. They built a place called the Santiniketan Lodge. The Lodge was named after the school founded by the Indian mystic and poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Bill Byrne was an earth-moving contractor from Traralgon in Victoria. In 1968 he took his son Michael to the Newhaven Psychiatric hospital for treatment. This was the hospital that was owned by one of the sect members and staffed in part by psychiatrists, doctors and nurses who were sect members. It didn’t take long for Bill to come under Anne’s spell and he soon left his wife and moved in with Anne. They married in 1978. Bill had been a local government councillor and was still commuting from Gippsland when the first children were arriving at Winberra.
Key passage coming up and a great line (first sentence of paragraph) to boot. Note that Lord Casey was rumoured to have contributed large sums of money to the cult and was apparently nursed back to health by them.
It has been suggested that Anne would have had no power without a syringe. She claimed a lot of knowledge of medical things. She said she had been the matron of a hospital but there is no evidence she ever did nursing. I can’t emphasise the importance of nursing in the sect enough. It was critical to the way she viewed the Aunties and, it was what she planned for the girls’ future profession. She said nursing was one of the ideal occupations because it was a form of ‘selfless service’ that led to spiritual advancement. We knew that on their weeks off from Uptop the Aunties were either training to be nurses or practised as nurses. Several of the Aunties nursed Lord Casey, a former Governor-General of Australia. Rumour has it that he made a significant donation to the sect.
Lord Casey had great taste in Doctors
Taking a quick break from Moore’s book text to supplement her mention of Lord Casey. This is from an Australian biography site and has more detail on Casey.
In public, Casey seemed to be a devoted Cold-War warrior, fervently supportive of Britain and the U.S.A., and deeply hostile towards the Soviet Union and China; he was the minister responsible for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.”
OK, back to the mind control drugs…
I have mentioned earlier the alarming drug dependency of the sect and how we were constantly administered prescription drugs. There was always a lot of medical paraphernalia around Uptop: syringes, tablets, gauges and more. I remember one whole cupboard containing hundreds of bottles of homoeopathic medicines. This cupboard was in the downstairs girls’ room, and one summer we broke in and stole lots of this homoeopathy, because the pills were sugar-coated and tasted like lollies.
…Anne was extremely vain. Appearance was all in The Family. Ugly children were treated appallingly, as if they were less worthy. According to ex-sect members, people were even screened by Anne on the basis of their looks when they were trying to get into the sect.
As for us, Anne wanted people to believe we were her children, and she thought she was beautiful, so it was a certainty that she screened us on our looks, or at least screened our parents. We were to be the ones who would carry on the work of the sect – we were a direct reflection on her – so she was intimately concerned about our appearances. She used to talk a lot about “breeding” and talk about us being from the “right stock”.
A very Nazi attitude, obviously…
Anne was always a very rich woman who never spared herself anything. Lately though, she has been crying poor. But judging by all the real estate she owns throughout the world, I estimate she is worth at least A$150 million. Broom Farm, her three-storey mansion and hundred acres or so of farmland in Langton Green, Kent, England must be worth several million alone. She owns at least one more house in England in Crowborough, and, I think, another in Red Hill. She, or her companies, Fafette and Audette, owns at least a dozen houses in Ferny Creek and another mansion in Olinda. She and Bill have or did have a few years ago, a huge property just outside Traralgon. In the United States, there is another large property of hers in the Catskill Mountains outside New York, America with three houses on it. And of course there was Uptop, five acres of waterfront land in a popular holiday area.
…Once initiated, came the ‘go-through’ and that meant LSD trips. Everyone knew that it was an inevitable consequence of initiation, one of the rituals that was integral to the spiritual development of the new initiate. I’ve been present at many ‘go-throughs’ of people in the sect and ended up having at least a dozen myself.
During a ‘go-through’ you were supposed to look at yourself and see the badness inside, to regress to significant incidents in childhood and in previous lives which affected your personality and retarded your spiritual development. The drug, which Anne sometimes called the ‘herb’ or the ‘dream medicine’, was meant to make this easier. It was also meant to make the spiritual bonding easier between master and disciple. You were supposed to recognise her as the “one true master”, Christ incarnate.
She would come in to people when they were under and ask, “Do you know who I am?” The correct answer was, “the Lord Incarnate”. The incorrect answer meant you weren’t ‘working’ hard enough. “Working” was ‘looking at yourself’ and realising what a “horrible” person you were, repenting for your sins and purifying yourself.
Before my first ‘go-through’ I was deprived of sleep for several nights and made to read ‘Yoga and the Bible’. Beforehand I’d watched one of my brothers get down on his knees and beg me not to hate him for being a closet homosexual. This confession had been wrung out of him by Anne after several days of intensive ‘working’ under the drug. He felt that he was a failure and I did my best to tell him that he’d never be a failure to me because I loved him. We were all scared of revealing our weaknesses but doubted that we would be able to hold anything back once under the influence of the drugs.
Anne’s technique, pretty typical, of keeping us awake for several days before a ‘go-through’ meant that we were incredibly vulnerable anyway. You have to hand it to Anne, she knew her stuff; this was chronic sleep deprivation and it added to the strain of the whole experience. Even today, I find if I am really tired I’m prone to flashbacks of LSD and it is harder to cope than it should be. Add to that the sensory deprivation, for I was placed in a quiet and dark room and never knew whether it was day or night.
…It was also at this time in 1984, just before my initiation, that Anne changed my name and gave me a new identity. No longer was I to be called Andree who was born in June, July or maybe September. Now, for some reason that I never knew, I was called Sarah. I was now a triplet and had even changed nationalities: I was now born in New Zealand on 16 November 1970. I even had a passport to prove this.
It may seem bizarre now but at the time I took this in my stride. I didn’t even consider it strange that Anne had never told me this information up to now, that previously I had believed I was someone else.
Next passage is interesting. Why so many identities, so many passports? What were these people being used for? Also, the paragraphs to come about as gripping and nasty as it gets. So be forewarned…
This sort of thing – sudden changes in our reality- was par for the course in our lives and we never questioned surprises. We were used to unpredictability as far as Anne was concerned. I hated the name Andree anyway and being a triplet was more interesting than being a single. I now know that there were several passports in my name, a couple of which were Australian. They all had different birth-dates. I also had several birth certificates in different names and in different states.
The drug was wearing off by then and I was very thirsty and hungry and tired. I wanted to sleep but I thought I should fight sleep. I was desperate to maintain control. Very late that night or it might have even been early the next morning, I’m not sure which, Anne came in and gave me some more LSD. She chastised me severely and said I hadn’t worked well enough. She said I needed an increased dose so that she could get me working properly.
After that I had no real idea of what was happening. Sometimes I would remember who I was and that I was ‘going-through’. Most of the time I didn’t have a clue. I remember feeling like I was floating and it seemed to go on for a very long time. Anne came in once or twice, and also sent messengers in to say that I should prepare for a spiritual experience and that I should repent for my selfishness and for the fact that I was a slut and I desired to be raped whenever I was out on the street. At this stage I didn’t even know what rape was.
Then Anne came in and made me curl into a ball, so that I could regress into babyhood. Nothing happened, probably because I didn’t know what I was meant to do. But I managed to remember and re-experience a few bad things, like the ‘Ants incident’, and Anne took that as a sign that I was getting somewhere. She gave me some more of the drug and told me to keep working and I’d get some good insights into myself soon.
I think that a few days and nights passed while I was in that state. I could only tell if another day had passed by the rattle of dishes in the kitchen below me as they prepared dinner each evening. I was completely terrified for almost the whole time and I still don’t know how long I was kept drugged in that room. The drugs made it difficult to tell what was real and what was hallucination.
I am not sure of what happened after that. I remember the door opened and a doctor came into the room. He was one of the doctors of the sect. He sat on the bed. He said I was evil and that he had been sent by my Master to cure me. My evil, he said, was that subconsciously I was wanting to be raped. I didn’t know what he meant by this. I remember a feeling of terror spreading through me. He told me he was going to give me an operation “to mix up your insides so you will never be able to have children” and that I would never want to think about sex again because I would be sick if I did. He said my Guru had ordered this as a punishment for my filthy mind and as a lesson to teach me that God is more important than sex.
He had a knife. I think he cut me. I remember screaming. I thought that I felt the knife deep inside me. In the redness of the pain I heard Anne’s laughter. She was in the room watching, goading him on. I heard her yelling, “Perhaps that will teach you, you whore, you slut. We will give you what you want.” I felt the stickiness of the blood. My blood. I passed out…
That is all I consciously remember about my go-through. The rest is the stuff of nightmares. I used to relive it every September for years, and the rest of the year I tried to forget it. It is only recently that I have gained any control over the nightmares but whenever I think about that ‘go-through’, I get a low aching in my stomach. I think I was brutalised, but how much is real and how much is drug-induced hallucination, I do not know. But I have a scar which I don’t remember existing before my going through and I certainly did not receive it afterwards.
….Some of the sect beliefs, dictated by Anne, are, however, a little more bizarre. For example, Anne decreed that Hell was not hot but cold so one of her methods of getting back at those who displeased her was to write out the name of wrong do-ers and put it in the freezer under an ice cube. Thereby consigning them to Hell. Also she said that the end of the world was going to happen very shortly and that only those that were living in the Dandenongs would survive. Another method of placing a curse upon those that had gone against her was to use wax dolls. She would stick pins in these dolls to cause discomfort and illness in people she thought had done her wrong.
…This was the Sixties and here was Anne saying anything went as long as she said so. That meant sex, drugs and power. It was a tempting combination for many of Melbourne’s professionals. Anne gave them permission to ignore all the rules of society. They were special, they belonged to Anne and that meant they were obeying a higher law than the laws ordinary people had to obey.
Moore next explains how she views the Family’s incredible ability to avoid scrutiny and prosecution.
…The bulk of the sect was made up of professional people. Without their support and participation, Anne Hamilton-Byrne would never have become what she is today. It was their names, or most importantly, the letters that went after their names, that gave her the credibility and social power she needed. It gave her the means to keep those she already had and to get more and similar people into the cult..
These professional people: doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, psychiatrists, nurses and social workers allowed her successfully to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes for more than twenty years.
Had The Family been a group of strangely dressed people meeting once or twice a week for meditation, an address by the Master, playing of music and chanting, they would never have gone unnoticed for so long. But pin-striped professionals in their conservative suits with their impeccable social credentials could get away with maintaining in their private life morals that were completely at variance with their professional ethics. They looked respectable, people thought, therefore they must be respectable.
Who were these professionals? They were doctors who wrote out the prescriptions that controlled us; lawyers, who wrote out the Deed Polls that were needed to forge passports and birth certificates that created our false identities; social workers, who allowed Anne to by-pass normal channels to allow her to adopt, or simply steal in some instances, sixteen children; doctors and nurses who gave her contacts with rich dying people who then left their estates to her. It was the same doctors who signed their death certificates; psychiatrists who had people committed to Newhaven – the Family owned psychiatric hospital; and doctors and nurses who supervised the abuse of LSD,( which for a while they actually obtained free of charge from the Swiss drug company, Sandoz).
Sandoz, which was not only the maker of LSD, but an IG Farben subsidiary as well!
It was also sect doctors who prescribed all the drugs she used to control and sedate people, because without drugs Anne’s power would have been diminished enormously. I can’t believe these educated people couldn’t have seen through Anne. Surely there must have been some among them who could have seen through the elaborately constructed veneer that was the belief system of The Family. Even if you looked at one of the basic instructions of the sect, that we live a life of asceticism, you had an instant contradiction; here was Anne living it up completely, spending money on anything that took her fancy.
….And then there were the inner core members: the Evil ones. I believe that they were only in for what they could get. They were under no delusions about Anne’s holiness and they stayed because it suited them. Their motivation was simply the quest for power. M. Scott Peck in his book ‘People of the Lie’ describes the evil personality: a person who quests for power over others, who has a need to subjugate life and liveliness in others and a total lack of insight into the enormity of their own wrong-doings. These people are recognisable by the number and complexity of their lies.
The snobbery and elitism seen among these inner core members illustrates this. The more they got away with, the more they felt superior to the rest of society and the more they attempted. The guilt of these people is unquestionable. They established the sect, they targeted patients and friends, administered drugs, ran Newhaven, falsified documents, and carried out Anne’ s dirty work. They dealt with the huge inflows and outflows of money that Anne commanded. They even rationalised it, because there were only ten or twelve of them, by claiming to be the reincarnations of Christ’s apostles working towards some great unseen spiritual goal. They will remain with her to the end. Each has multiple names and identities and their legacy is a farrago of lies.
.. In ‘The Age’ in September 1983 David Elias wrote at length about Anne’s methods and about Newhaven Hospital. The Hospital was owned by Mrs Marion Villimek and she was both a director and matron. He was contacted by a former patient, George Ellis, whose case perfectly illustrates the way the hospital was run.
In 1966 Mr Ellis was a patient at Newhaven, being treated for alcoholism. He had been a medical student at Queen’s College at Melbourne University and when Dr Raynor Johnson was still head. Dr Johnson visited a patient in the next bed and they recognised each other. Another frequent visitor to this patient was Anne Hamilton-Byrne, who was then Mrs Riley. “This was to be the lady who captivated me with her talk of spiritual things, her knowledge of God and a familiarity with things psychic and her soothsaying.”, he said.
Mr Ellis told ‘The Age’: “During her visits to Newhaven Mrs Riley became friendly with me – even then she had a sort of charisma. She suggested to me that on my discharge, it would be courting disaster to return to my bachelor flat and suggested that it would be a better idea to come and stay with her and another person at her home in Ferny Creek.” George Ellis went to live with Anne and pretty soon found he was being “introduced to the mysteries of the procedures of the sect”.
He was initiated into the cult and later married another member – at Anne’s suggestion – that marriage has since broken down. He detailed his attendances at “clearings” (also called “go-throughs”) where sect members were given drugs under the supervision of three psychiatrists. He claimed the clearings were carried out at Newhaven and in private houses. Sometimes as many as six sect members would be going-through at one time.
He talked about Anne’s method which involved having sect members sit with those going – through and reporting back to her anything that was said. Anne then used this knowledge to create the impression that she had psychic powers. He and his family were sent to England several times and once to India by Anne.
Later Anne sent him to Uptop as a cook and to look after us children. He talked about how he and other sect members had nursed Lord Casey, after a serious road accident. Mr Ellis was assigned to watch over Lord Casey at night and to give him his medication. All this despite the fact that he had only ever had a small amount of training as a medical student.
You would think the guy who oversees Australia’s intelligence service could get an actual doctor?