Playing A Stain on the Brain - the David Owen Story
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[From: "Stain On The Brain - the David Owen Story", http://davidowenlegend.org/ ]
...seriously flirting with an audience appeal of
Angela's Ashes, Magdalene Sisters andRabbit Proof Fence.
- Alissa Allen
It's about pain, hilarity and inspiration. From the gold mining dustbowl territory of Kidston, to a covert hospital stay in Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef, little baby Owen is ripped from the loving arms of family and unlawfully, self-righteously dumped by his "would-be" father on the receiving depot platform of a most unfortunate final stop, Neerkol Orphanage, a.k.a. 'The Devil's Playground.' After 14 years of unimaginable cruelty, David emerges illiterate and damaged.
The lost teenager finds his way out of the Bush as a farmhand, street boxer, Rugby League hooker, model prisoner, Aboriginal crew boss, beloved son and brother as he steps into his last role of dockyard union leader defending the rights of the underdog. When the plant shuts down making Owen redundant and untrainable, he seeks the help of HEAS psychologist Dr. Roger Peters, finally exposing what happened at Neerkol. He makes a painful deathbed promise to his emotionally-shattered mum Katie, to make right the evil wrongs he encountered as a ward of the State, in the care of the Sisters of Mercy and the Government of Queensland.
With the support of Dr. Peters and his dear sister Margaret, David steps into the world media spotlight exposing his tragic story - which leads to death threats surrounding his testimony in front of the Forde Commission into the Abuse of Queensland Institutions which impacts final official Government Recommendations. David's story fills one chapter in Orphans of the Empire, Alan Gill, Random House - quite appropriately titled,Daredevil Dave. In 2007, collaborating with Dr. Peters, a 52-page submission naming the Government of Queensland and the Catholic Church violating the rights of a child, was delivered to the UN in Geneva. To date there has been no response.
POSTSCRIPT: David Owen never received compensation from the Catholic Church, and in June 2008, accepted a final Redress Scheme offered by the Queensland Government. He feels he would rather use whatever energy and spirit he has left in his later years to help - through his book and film - create a better understanding of how vitally important a caring and responsible child welfare system is to our world's future generations.
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Abuse at Neerkol
There are several more pieces written about life at Neerkol at The Justice Project - The abuse of children in care .