Henry Lawson

They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window-sill is level with the faces in the street —
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet —
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street —
Drifting on, drifting on,
To the scrape of restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky
The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by,
Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet,
Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street —
Flowing in, flowing in,
To the beat of hurried feet —
Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

The human river dwindles when ’Tis past the hour of eight,
Its waves go flowing faster in the fear of being late;
But slowly drag the moments, whilst beneath the dust and heat
The city grinds the owners of the faces in the street —
Grinding body, grinding soul,
Yielding scarce enough to eat —
Oh! I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

On Monday 5 June 2017 The Australian newspaper ran a front page story featuring spurious allegations that a prominent anti-child sexual abuse activist – whose image, name and personal details were published – had attempted to extort $66 million from the catholic order of the brothers of christian instruction – also known as the mennaisans – two of whose members brutally raped the activist inside a Tokyo chapel at an international school for the children of expatriates when he was just eleven years old.

This website adheres to a firm editorial policy of refusing to accord respect to child abusers and rapists, and as such the lack of capitalisation of the order’s name is deliberate given that that in 2014 the perverted collective of supposed Christians made full and frank admissions in writing confessing to the rape, and as an act of supposed contrition that year flew the victim and his family to Japan so that the offender and his superiors could personally apologise for the heinous crimes committed against him as a young child by those entrusted with his care.

Notwithstanding the clear admissions of guilt made by the mennaisans, The Australian nevertheless elected to run their story imputing, among other things, that the victim:

  • lied about his abuse
  • was an insurance scammer
  • committed a criminal act in breach of his parole conditions
  • attempted to extort $66 million from the Catholic Church
  • breached the Australian and Japanese criminal codes in the act of the attempted extortion
  • falsely denied that he had committed the above mentioned criminal acts
  • own several ‘up-market’ properties that he acquired as proceeds of crime
  • uttered false statements that he alleged were drafted and signed by another person
  • made a legal claim for compensation against his falsely alleged abusers
  • invented allegations against the Australian Consulate in Tokyo, Japan
  • concocted false claims of abuse perpetrated against him while a student at the Church of England Grammar School, now renamed the Anglican Church Grammar School and colloquially known as ‘Churchie’
  • manufactured false allegations about police recordings of admissions made by his abuser about the crimes that were perpetrated against him
  • made false representations to the Queensland Parole Board
  • lied to the Queensland Department of Community Corrections
  • engaged in criminal acts by perpetrating harassment using a computer

Each and every one of these imputations is demonstrably untrue, and the authors and publishers of the article have committed an offence against the principles of fair reporting, journalistic ethics, common decency, and the criminal code of Queensland by virtue of their actions.

Let me make an interests disclosure: the man who is the subject of The Australian’s story is a friend of mine, and I am proud to call him as such, despite the fact that he was many years ago convicted of the heinous crime of murder.

The man did it, or so he told the Parole Board, for if he did not make this admission then under the strictures of the laws of the day he would not ever have been able to have been released from prison and build the exemplary life that he has in the two decades since he walked free from the cells, albeit under the eternal restrictions of a lifetime on parole.

I personally know a number of men who have taken another’s life, the most famous, or infamous, of them being them being Mick Gatto, the alleged gangland figure and confirmed philanthropist who was acquitted on the grounds of self-defence on a charge of murdering a man who a jury found had in fact tried to take his.


He’s a damn good bloke Mick, a gentleman who uses his means to help others left behind by society and the supposed charities that claim to pick up he pieces, and I will forever stand and oppose anyone who ever says otherwise, because the simple fact is that I know the man and they don’t.

Similarly I know other men who have falsely been accused and convicted of crimes, just as I know men who have made terrible errors in their lives and done awful things that have resulted in the losses of others, actions they greatly regret and would later do anything to recall but cannot, for rivers inexorably flow forward and their paths cannot ever be reversed, regardless of the force of regret or will or repentance or desire.

The victim who is the subject of the story cast on the front page of The Australian is a convicted murderer. It is a fact, and it cannot be denied. He was convicted of this crime in the mid-1980’s, and spent 15 years of his life in prison as a consequence of his terrible crime, and he spent almost every single one of those near 15 000 days suffering the remorse of the sinner for what he had done.

He can’t bring them back, just as he can’t bring back to life the woman whose life was lost.

Rivers flow forward.

But he can make amends for his sins, and he has done so, and I know it to be true.

The man and I met for the first time when he made contact with me during my live reporting of the Royal Commission hearings of Case Study 34 into the abuses that occurred at Brisbane Boys Grammar School and St Paul’s School.

Initially I was wary of the man, as I am wary of all people as a consequence of the effects of my own abuse as a child and its resultant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that has plagued my life since the age of thirteen, but I set my personal reservations aside after my then 16-year-old daughter warmed to him when he, without prompting, attended my mother’s funeral last year and engaged in conversation with her.

My little girl is no fool – in fact she is the captain of her school, and headed directly for an OP 1 – and despite me telling her of the man’s background she adamantly asserted that he was a good guy, and having no evidence to ever dispute her judgment I believed her, and still do., and she is as usual correct, for he is a good man.

A good man who did wrong.

A child who was raped and lost his way.

A man who once was lost, but now is found.

A human being who was betrayed and abused and lost his way along the road, a person who like Saul took the wrong path, but like the man who became Paul rode a road to Damascus and on the way found his way.

And now, as he walks the narrow path, the men who once upon a time tried to cut him down emerge from the darkness of the swamps and and for reasons of their own attempt to drag him back down into the sewers below.

This man is my friend, and I am from Geebung, a land in which boys like me pick and we stick.

He – this man who some deign to describe as a monster, but who is really just a human being as frail as you and I, and perhaps due to the privations that he suffered as a child is even more so again – came to my mother’s funeral when many stayed away.

This man is my friend, and when he is assailed by those who do not understand his pain I will stand by him and throw back the punches that due to his personal pain he is unable to throw,

Therein ends my confession, and so the story starts.