A child migrant believes his name was changed by nuns before he sailed from Northern Ireland to Australia in an effort to ensure he could not be traced, a public inquiry in Ireland has heard, reports AAP on Yahoo7.
Seasick children vomited from the decks and cried on their way to a new identity and life in a country they knew nothing about. One nun said: "I hope that ship sinks on the way out there as punishment for misbehaving."
Once they arrived, some children were subjected to sexual and physical abuse by members of the Christian Brothers Catholic religious order at Clontarf in Western Australia, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry was told on Tuesday.
The decision to change the name of one child was signed by a mother superior in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Catholic Council for Child Welfare.
He was told not to change it back when he arrived in Australia following the month-long passage from Northern Ireland. A witness statement said he was never askedif he wanted to go. "I had no idea where Australia was, my mother was never told about going there."
The nuns fitted him out with clothes for the trip. "The last thing they did was change my name. I think they wanted to ensure I could not be traced."
FULL STORY Nuns changed child migrant's name
Historical abuse inquiry hearing evidence from Australia (The Irish Times)