Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Expert strata, facilities & building management services

Kids in detention camps – crazy!

By John Hargreaves 20 April 2015 89

john hargreaves hostel

In 1952, when I was three, my parents emigrated from England to Australia and we went to a migrant hostel in Bonegilla in Victoria; later we went to other hostels at Bradfield Park and East Hills in Sydney.

My memories are varied of this time but I’ll share with you some of them.

I remember living in a three roomed Nissen hut. We ate our meals in the canteen and showered and went to the toilet in the ablution blocks. Our “house” had no heating or cooking facilities, so my mum got a kerosene heater and sometimes she cooked some potatoes and peas in a three segment saucepan on the top of the heater.

There was a two teacher school on the second hostel and the teachers were Catholic nuns, Mother Angela and Mother Borgia. They were formidable and very strict. There was also a chapel on the hostel and as a six-year-old, I served Mass as an altar boy for the 7am Mass. In 1953, during our stay at Bradfield Park, my brother was born.

We moved to East Hills hostel in about 1955 and I went to a school in Liverpool by school bus and played on the banks of the Georges River. Whilst we were on this hostel, in 1957 my first sister was born.

We moved out of the hostel in late 1957 and spent Christmas in a beachside suburb in Melbourne’s south. Imagine the mind blowing difference for a young eight-year-old whose only memories are of a migrant camp.

I had lived in a camp for nearly six years, with barely any comforts at all. But at least TV came to Australia and my did gave me 6d to go to the theatre and watch the Mickey Mouse show once a week.

I didn’t know that there was another world out there until we went to Victoria. I still have crystal clear memories of the poverty and barrenness of those hostels. A visit to Bonegilla recently brought back horrible memories.

In all of this though, whilst the camps had barbed wire fences round them, the fences were to keep the bad guys out, not us poms, wogs, and other ethnics, in. The gates were open during the day, so people could go to work or school, to go shopping or just go down to the river and play. We were not regarded as criminals, just “ethnics” and ten-pound poms.

Now fast forward to the detention camps on Christmas Island and Nauru. Think about the detention camps in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW. Villawood is not the same as East Hills or Bradfield Park. The detention camps are far worse.

We have treated the asylum seekers and their children like criminals. Whatever, people may think of the adults it is crystal clear to me that the worse victims of all this are the kids.

I believe that the adults must have been so desperate to risk the lives of their wives and kids that they boarded leaky boats and headed for Australia, no matter the role of people smugglers etc. I know many readers will disagree with me on this but I hope they all agree about the kids.

There has been hardly a peep about how many terrorists have been found among the asylum seekers so why can’t they be treated like the migrants similar to my family?

Why can’t the kids go out of the gates to play? Why can’t the kids get a decent education among ordinary Aussie kids? Why can’t their mums and dads go to work and come home again like ordinary families? Why must they be treated like murderers, paedophiles and seriously violent criminals?

How many of you have seen the photos of the kids in the detention camps and have not felt a sorrow for them? How many of you have seen the appalling conditions they live in and haven’t felt some revulsion? How many of you have seen the tent city on Nauru and haven’t thought “I’m glad that’s not me or my kids”?

The current government should back down on all of this and show compassion to the world. The current opposition should back that move. They are as bad as each other and preside in shame.

Both sides of politics are complicit in the theft of the kids’ childhoods, the encouragement for radicalisation in young men and the sense of despair and hopelessness in those incarcerated in those camps and I don’t care where the camps are.

When I tell my story, and I leave a lot out, people say to me ”how come you were in a migrant camp for that long when the usual length of stay was in months not years?” The reasons don’t matter, but I can say that it was not because some heartless bureaucrat decided to sentence my family for an introduction to Australia (the land of our dreams) like the asylum seekers, but economic refugees we were. It was not because of discriminatory government policy.

I was free. Asylum kids are not. Their sad eyes come to me in my sleep.

(Photo: John Hargreaves as a child at a migrant hostel in Sydney.)

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
89 Responses to
Kids in detention camps – crazy!
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
5
JC 1:29 pm 26 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

John Hargreaves said “If I was the PM, I would properly fund aid programs and processing centres for asylum seekers in the country of origin.”
How do you know what country half the current boat loads are coming from, if they have no documentation to prove it? Then, if you do know, how are you going to set up these centers when the countries they are fleeing from are the oppressors? Do you think they would give Australia permission to set up and run a detention center housing thousands, all funded by taxpayers? How much will that cost when it becomes so easy for everyone in that nation to just rock up and say “Let me in.”? That is the equivalent of just giving everyone a free plane ticket to Oz as long as they just claim oppression.
Going on from that, these “processing” centers would become prime targets for the oppressing forces, pretty much rounding up all of their problems in one spot, easy to eliminate the whole lot with one missile. That wouldn’t be very smart at all.

John Hargreaves also said “They are not terrorists in thinly veiled disguise.” Again I say, how do you know when they ditched all their paperwork before coming onto our soil?
If they come here with proof of identity, then you have something to process, otherwise they are possible threats to our nation and it’s people until proven otherwise.

The guy who murdered two Aussies in the Martin Place siege was an Iranian asylum seeker who came by boat.

He was an asylum seeker but not one that came by boat. He arrived (presumably on a plane) with a valid visa and then sought asylum when he got here. But don’t let the truth get in the way.

“He arrived (presumably on a plane)…..”
You are half-right as he definitely arrived.
I am surprised that you have not actually confirmed his flight number and day of arrival.
I don’t mind be brought to account if I have made an error but your presumption that he arrived by air without proof is just as erroneous.

He didn’t arrive on a boat, unless it was a cruise ship. That is for sure and it is a fact that he arrived with a visa and then claim asylum. SO no comparison what so ever.

Oh remind me when did he arrive? Yes 1996 and was granted asylum by a Liebral immigration minister. Oh dear.

dungfungus 11:16 am 26 Apr 15

JC said :

dungfungus said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

John Hargreaves said “If I was the PM, I would properly fund aid programs and processing centres for asylum seekers in the country of origin.”
How do you know what country half the current boat loads are coming from, if they have no documentation to prove it? Then, if you do know, how are you going to set up these centers when the countries they are fleeing from are the oppressors? Do you think they would give Australia permission to set up and run a detention center housing thousands, all funded by taxpayers? How much will that cost when it becomes so easy for everyone in that nation to just rock up and say “Let me in.”? That is the equivalent of just giving everyone a free plane ticket to Oz as long as they just claim oppression.
Going on from that, these “processing” centers would become prime targets for the oppressing forces, pretty much rounding up all of their problems in one spot, easy to eliminate the whole lot with one missile. That wouldn’t be very smart at all.

John Hargreaves also said “They are not terrorists in thinly veiled disguise.” Again I say, how do you know when they ditched all their paperwork before coming onto our soil?
If they come here with proof of identity, then you have something to process, otherwise they are possible threats to our nation and it’s people until proven otherwise.

The guy who murdered two Aussies in the Martin Place siege was an Iranian asylum seeker who came by boat.

He was an asylum seeker but not one that came by boat. He arrived (presumably on a plane) with a valid visa and then sought asylum when he got here. But don’t let the truth get in the way.

“He arrived (presumably on a plane)…..”
You are half-right as he definitely arrived.
I am surprised that you have not actually confirmed his flight number and day of arrival.
I don’t mind be brought to account if I have made an error but your presumption that he arrived by air without proof is just as erroneous.

Masquara 11:05 am 26 Apr 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

The left is having a lot of difficulty dealing with this link, especially as it has been related to boy journalists from the NY Times.

The great thing is that Abbott has banned all information on boat arrivals so he can say anything he wants and it’s “true”. Also who can object to invisible asylum seekers? Can’t see them, they’re not there!

We did the same to the Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, so have a proud tradition to uphold.

Of course if we become the refugees we will just force our way into New Zealand, so that won’t be a problem.

A boat was sent back to Vietnam only the other day, and it was quite openly discussed by the govt.

dungfungus 11:24 am 25 Apr 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

The left is having a lot of difficulty dealing with this link, especially as it has been related to boy journalists from the NY Times.

The great thing is that Abbott has banned all information on boat arrivals so he can say anything he wants and it’s “true”. Also who can object to invisible asylum seekers? Can’t see them, they’re not there!

We did the same to the Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, so have a proud tradition to uphold.

Of course if we become the refugees we will just force our way into New Zealand, so that won’t be a problem.

Do you have “other” information that there have been boat arrivals recently? No, you don’t.
So why bag Abbott?

rubaiyat 2:21 am 25 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

The left is having a lot of difficulty dealing with this link, especially as it has been related to boy journalists from the NY Times.

The great thing is that Abbott has banned all information on boat arrivals so he can say anything he wants and it’s “true”. Also who can object to invisible asylum seekers? Can’t see them, they’re not there!

We did the same to the Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, so have a proud tradition to uphold.

Of course if we become the refugees we will just force our way into New Zealand, so that won’t be a problem.

JC 12:05 am 25 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

John Hargreaves said “If I was the PM, I would properly fund aid programs and processing centres for asylum seekers in the country of origin.”
How do you know what country half the current boat loads are coming from, if they have no documentation to prove it? Then, if you do know, how are you going to set up these centers when the countries they are fleeing from are the oppressors? Do you think they would give Australia permission to set up and run a detention center housing thousands, all funded by taxpayers? How much will that cost when it becomes so easy for everyone in that nation to just rock up and say “Let me in.”? That is the equivalent of just giving everyone a free plane ticket to Oz as long as they just claim oppression.
Going on from that, these “processing” centers would become prime targets for the oppressing forces, pretty much rounding up all of their problems in one spot, easy to eliminate the whole lot with one missile. That wouldn’t be very smart at all.

John Hargreaves also said “They are not terrorists in thinly veiled disguise.” Again I say, how do you know when they ditched all their paperwork before coming onto our soil?
If they come here with proof of identity, then you have something to process, otherwise they are possible threats to our nation and it’s people until proven otherwise.

The guy who murdered two Aussies in the Martin Place siege was an Iranian asylum seeker who came by boat.

He was an asylum seeker but not one that came by boat. He arrived (presumably on a plane) with a valid visa and then sought asylum when he got here. But don’t let the truth get in the way.

JC 12:01 am 25 Apr 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

If a boatload of Christians fleeing massacres by ISIS turns up I would expect that they would be escorted to the place they departed from. This is the current policy.

To be murdered hey. But guess not happening here, so not your problem.

They wouldn’t be murdered in Indonsia, because that’s where the boat would have come from.

I think it’s incredibly sad that children are getting caught up in all this. It’s also sad that people leave their homeland because they have completely lost hope.

The question is, though, how best to help.

Actually no. One can but assume if there is no boat to Australia then there is no need to go to Indonesia, so the point remains they will remain where they will possibly be persecuted and murdered.

Masquara 9:39 pm 24 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

John Hargreaves also said “They are not terrorists in thinly veiled disguise.” Again I say, how do you know when they ditched all their paperwork before coming onto our soil?
If they come here with proof of identity, then you have something to process, otherwise they are possible threats to our nation and it’s people until proven otherwise.

Too many of our young jihadists are from refugee families. And the news that “refugees” threw 15 Christians overboard in the Mediterranean last week is extremely worrying. How do we know that’s an isolated mentality?

dungfungus 4:26 pm 24 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

John Hargreaves said “If I was the PM, I would properly fund aid programs and processing centres for asylum seekers in the country of origin.”
How do you know what country half the current boat loads are coming from, if they have no documentation to prove it? Then, if you do know, how are you going to set up these centers when the countries they are fleeing from are the oppressors? Do you think they would give Australia permission to set up and run a detention center housing thousands, all funded by taxpayers? How much will that cost when it becomes so easy for everyone in that nation to just rock up and say “Let me in.”? That is the equivalent of just giving everyone a free plane ticket to Oz as long as they just claim oppression.
Going on from that, these “processing” centers would become prime targets for the oppressing forces, pretty much rounding up all of their problems in one spot, easy to eliminate the whole lot with one missile. That wouldn’t be very smart at all.

John Hargreaves also said “They are not terrorists in thinly veiled disguise.” Again I say, how do you know when they ditched all their paperwork before coming onto our soil?
If they come here with proof of identity, then you have something to process, otherwise they are possible threats to our nation and it’s people until proven otherwise.

The guy who murdered two Aussies in the Martin Place siege was an Iranian asylum seeker who came by boat.

5

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site