State ward regularly beaten by nuns, inquiry told
A former ward of the state say she and other young girls were regularly beaten by nuns at a convent in Ballarat in the 1950s and 60s.
Gabrielle Short told the Victorian child abuse inquiry she thought she was going to die from the abuse at Nazareth House.
She says many girls who spent time there have significant health and psychological issues as a result of their treatment.
“Many times a nun would come out of nowhere and just start belting into us with her stick, across the head and kicking us at the same time,” she said.
“I remember many times being beaten so bad I could not get back up off the floor.
“My head head would be spinning and my legs would feel so weak I felt like I had no blood in my head.”
The inquiry also heard from Gordon Hill, who spent 15 years in the St Joseph’s boys home in Ballarat from the age of two.
He told the inquiry he was also sexually abused and beaten by nuns and priests.
Mr Hill says the abuse started when he was five.
“It went on until I was about 11. Then I went on to the next section and thank god it stopped,” he said.
“But a couple of priests who were there used to love certain kids.”