Victim tells Royal Commission of abuse at Riverview

An archival photograph of the Salvation Army Riverview Training Home in Ipswich, Queensland taken in the 1940s.
An archival photograph of the Salvation Army Riverview Training Home in Ipswich, Queensland taken in the 1940s. Contributed

A TORMENTED retiree, who was subjected to unimaginable childhood abuse at a Riverview boy's home, has unloaded decades of grief at a public hearing in Sydney.

Giving evidence before the royal commission into Institutional Responses into to Child Sex Abuse, Raymond Carlile wept as he recalled children being raped and beaten until they bled under the watch of the Salvation Army.

The 67-year-old, who in 2010 received a $100,000 in compensation from the Salvation Army, told the commission he was eight when he was sent to the home which later became known as the Endeavour Training Farm.

For three hours, Mr Carlile struggled through his accounts of the persistent sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a man known as Lieutenant Lawrence Wilson.

He told the commission Lt Wilson had said "I want you, you dirty little thing", the night he "grabbed" him from his bed, told him to get undressed and raped him.

He said in the years that followed, Lt Wilson had forced him to perform oral sex on him and had masturbated as he ordered him to have sex with another boy at the home.

When the abuse was over, Lt Wilson would warn him that if he told anyone what had happened, the pain he had suffered would be nothing compared "to what you'll get".

"It hurts to think about it," Mr Carlile said

"You feel so awful, dirty and filthy…like you can never get clean."

His confronting evidence was met with applause from a crowd of supporters in the public gallery.

It followed the opening address from counsel assisting the commissioner Simeon Beckett, who told the commission, it would likely hear further "shocking" witness accounts as former residents from Riverview and three other boy's homes told their stories.

He said evidence of excessive punishment, which was at the heart of the inquiry, would include reports of children being locked in cages and one boy having his testicles whipped with a cane.

Documents tendered before the commission reveal council workers from Ipswich had raised concerns about poor hygiene and treatment of children in 1972.

By the next year, the Department of Children's Services, was concerned there were "real worries and real dangers about sending any boys there (due to) the lack of adequate and suitable staff…the danger of rape and other homosexual assaults and the shambles that this whole place looks causes obvious problems".

The farm was eventually closed in the late 70s

Mr Carlile is one of seven former Riverview residents to give evidence before the commission which is also expected to hear from high-ranking members of the Salvation Army and senior police officers in coming days.

• APN Newsdesk's continuing coverage of the royal commission contains graphic details of child sex abuse and subsequent trauma. Victims of abuse can seek support and counselling by calling the Victims Access Line on 1800 633 063