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Hard As - Panel | Kristina Olsson, Karyn Walsh, Katie McGuire, Edwina Shaw & Sherryl Munson | Avid Reader

Sunday, 20 November 2022




Avid Reader Bookshop, 193 Boundary St, West End QLD 4101

Bryan Hartas was only seven when he saw his father beat his mother so badly that she was taken away in an ambulance. He never saw her again. He thought things couldn’t get much worse, but then he and his brothers were sent to Neerkol, an infamous Queensland orphanage west of Rockhampton. He knew he was in trouble when on his first day he saw kids digging in the dirt and eating the roots of small weeds.

Bryan is just one of many Forgotten Australians (FA) who suffered horrific ongoing abuse as children in state care. What they lived through should never be repeated. Despite his difficult beginnings he has worked hard all his life and has four wonderful children. Through Lotus Place and The Alliance of Forgotten Australians, Bryan has been empowered to tell his story, in his own words, with the help of his friend, writer and editor, Edwina Shaw.

The people who identify as Forgotten Australians are generally now 40 years of age and upwards. They are the survivors of the approximately 500,000 children who found themselves in institutional or other out-of-home care in the last century.

Bryan’s story is a testament to the human spirit, to a child’s love for his mother, and the capacity of the heart to rise, and rise again.

A panel of people who worked with Bryan, and who knew him best and supported his story-telling project, will discuss his legacy and the importance of recording and sharing difficult stories by Forgotten Australians.

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