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By Cameron Lucadou-Wells
November 25, 2009 / knowxjournal.com.au
POLICE have begun an investigation into claims that wards of state were bashed to death and then secretly buried at the former Bayswater Boys Home in the 1950s.
Rod Braybon, 65, of Garfield, was interviewed by Victoria Police homicide squad detectives last Thursday over his claims.
As well as suffering sexual, physical and mental abuse during his stay, he says he knew of three boys "that weren't seen again".
Since media reports earlier this month, he has received several new claims by email that children were secretly buried at Sugarloaf Hill behind the home.
One of the claimants was the daughter of a Salvation Army officer who worked at the home.
On top of the police investigation, Mr Braybon has called for a formal state inquiry into an estimated 700 deaths of children in state care in Victoria in 1928-1970.
Jo Jones, who is conducting preliminary research with University of Sydney's Richard Hill into the deaths of children in out-of-home care, said the claims were not confined to Bayswater Boys Home.
She said about 700 wards of state died in Victoria between 1928-1970 and at least 50 deaths were not adequately explained or were suspicious.
"At present all 'evidence' I have in my possession is anecdotal and second-hand with the exception of Rod Braybon's. I am prepared to hand over any information I have if that is going to be of benefit to anyone contemplating further investigation."
A Victoria Police statement confirmed the interview with Mr Braybon.
"Investigative and resourcing decisions will be made depending on the nature of the allegations made."
Mr Braybon said that as a 12-year-old at the home he was raped by a staff member. He said he reported the abuse the next morning to an officer, who flogged him with a tomato stake and put him in isolation for 48 hours.
He saw children as young as six endure rapes and beatings, he said.
"There was one who was flogged in the shower block for wetting the bed."
The pain felt by wards of state was in stark view at last Monday's formal apologies by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull.
"I thought [the leaders] did a brilliant job," Mr Braybon said. "I just hope they live up to their promise for housing and accommodation for anyone in care."