The Family cult

Wonderful on the outside Treacherous on the inside....! Cults have millions of members around the world who also thought they were immune.
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The Family cult

Unread post by Caterpillar » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:19 am

The Family cult in Australia was in the news recently. Unfortunately, its leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne ?remains unrepentant? and ?escaped punishment for alleged maltreatment of the children in her care?. This includes feeding LSD to the children!!! According to the 60 Minutes report in 2004, health professionals who were sect members such as doctor, nurse, midwife and social worker helped with the ?adoption? of children into the cult? :shock:

Creating the family tree, August 16, 2009. ... 62,00.html

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1961 ANNE Hamilton meets Dr Raynor Johnson, Master of Queen's College at the University of Melbourne and renowned authority on mysticism.

1961 (continued) Together they found The Family, a religion based on a blend of Eastern mysticism and Christianity.

1960s The Family begins recruiting cult members from patients at the Newhaven private psychiatric hospital in Kew. The recruits are given heavy doses of LSD.

1968 Hamilton-Byrne begins adopting children with her "husband" Bill Byrne. Both change their surname to Hamilton-Byrne, but do not marry until the mid-1970s

The Family cult's secrets exposed by James Campbell, August 16, 2009. ... 61,00.html

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THE leader of Australia's most notorious cult, The Family, remains unrepentant two decades after the raid that shocked the nation.

Anne Hamilton-Byrne broke her silence yesterday, saying she was ready to die after reconciling with Sarah Moore, the "daughter" who betrayed her to the authorities.

The Family made headlines around the world in 1987 when the Australian Federal Police and Community Services Victoria raided the cult's property at Lake Eildon and took six children into care.

Hamilton-Byrne had ordered the children's hair be dyed peroxide blonde and they be dressed in identical outfits.

It was also alleged they had been half-starved, beaten and forced to take large quantities of tranquilisers to "calm them down" and even fed LSD when they became adults.

Asked about whether she mistreated her "children", she said: "They were normal children and they could be disobedient to a point, but not all the time."

But she would not discuss any specific claims.

On the issue of alleged LSD use in the cult, she said: "Everything on earth has its uses."

And asked about whether she had any regrets, she would only say: "I've got regrets about losing touch with daughter."

"I'm ready to die now. I don't mind when I go," she said after an emotional reunion with her favourite "daughter" Dr Moore, witnessed by the Sunday Herald Sun.

Dr Moore said she still believed Hamilton-Byrne was responsible for mistreatment of children, but she said the cult leader blamed the "Aunties" for any abuse.

"That's as far she will go in acknowledging any wrongdoing," Dr Moore said.

"Otherwise she is unrepentant. She is a powerful and charismatic person, and I believe she initially meant well with both creating the cult and collecting us children.

"Both acts were in compensation and delusional repair for her own childhood."

The Family by Reporter Peter Overton (60 Minutes), July 25, 2004.

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There's no doubt Anne Hamilton-Byrne is an evil woman. She believes she's the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and runs a sinister cult just outside Melbourne.

For years, she collected children, locked them away from the real world, brainwashed them, abused them, experimented on them body and soul. Children of 13 and 14 were forced to take drugs like LSD. Some had their hair dyed blond to fit this dangerous woman's idea of the perfect family

PETER OVERTON: ? What was the motto of the Family?

(Former Victorian detective) LEX DE MAN: The motto ? unseen, unknown and unheard.

PETER OVERTON: And that's how it's remained for so many years, protected by the middle-class respectability of so many of its members ? doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, all willing to do the bidding of their master.

MAN: I was told to leave my first wife and go up to the hills. I did. I was told to ? that I would be going to have a baby with another woman, and I did. I was told...

PETER OVERTON: Sect members gave her their money, their minds and a never-ending supply of children.

LEX DE MAN: One example, one of the children was born to a young mother, 15 years of age. The doctor attending the birth was a sect member. The nurse attending the birth and the midwife were sect members. The child was born, handed to a sect nurse by the doctor, handed to a sect social worker and given into the very arms of Anne Hamilton-Byrne.

SARAH HAMILTON-BYRNE: My mother was a 15-year-old girl whose doctor was a member of the sect and the doctor organised the adoption, drugged my mother and took me away from her at birth. So my mother had a pillow over her head, was drugged up to the eyeballs and I was just wrenched out of her and taken away.

PETER OVERTON: Taken away and forced to take Hamilton-Byrne's name. Sarah Hamilton-Byrne would grow up believing that Anne was her mum. Within a few years, Hamilton-Byrne had collected at least 14 children, dying their hair blond to convince the outside world they were really brothers and sisters.

LEX DE MAN: Bleached hair blond, singing like the Von Trapp family, living out Anne's fantasy of ? in her thoughts, I'm sure it was something like an Aryan race. Horrific.

SARAH HAMILTON-BYRNE: One morning, we were doing exercises under here and one of the boys was called by one of the aunties from upstairs and he thought he was going to get another beating, and he actually lost control of his bowels and I remember us all watching horrified as he was doing that because we were all just sort of exercising and stuff and wondering what was going to happen to him now from that. He was just literally so terrified.

PETER OVERTON: Was he punished for that?

SARAH HAMILTON-BYRNE: Oh, yes, as well. Yes. He was dragged off by the ear for that as well. He actually killed himself too, and his brother. Both of those boys are now dead.

PETER OVERTON: Hamilton-Byrne was often overseas, living in mansions financed by her followers. Back in Australia, it was left to a sinister group of Anne's disciples, known as the aunties, to implement her insane vision.

PETER OVERTON: Food deprivation was a regular punishment, a form of control.

PETER OVERTON: And then there were the drugs. The cult regularly forced children as young as 13 into an initiation right called Going Through, massive quantities of the hallucinogenic LSD.

SARAH HAMILTON-BYRNE: You were locked in a room completely dark for days and just fed this drug over and over again and people come in ? Anne and other of her sect members coming in, telling you to work on yourself and to confess, usually sexual misdemeanours.

PETER OVERTON: What would she say to you?

SARAH HAMILTON-BYRNE: That we had to acknowledge her as Jesus Christ, that we had to acknowledge that I was thinking of sex, that I wanted to be raped, that I was evil.

PETER OVERTON: But Sarah was about to make a life-changing decision when she realised that Anne Hamilton-Byrne's brutal discipline might actually be killing her little sister Willow.

SARAH HAMILTON-BYRNE: She was actually starved so much she was going into comas and if she hadn't stolen the birds' bread and foraged in the dustbins and stuff, she would have died up there. And that's the main reason that I ended up actually agreeing to talk to the police to try and do something about her.

PETER OVERTON: In 1987, alerted by Sarah, the police finally acted, raiding the property and rescuing the children. Now, cult members were flushed out, including Dr Christine Fleming, who had abused her trusted position to facilitate Sarah's adoption.

PETER OVERTON: And Dr John McKay, who'd also helped Hamilton-Byrne adopt a child.

MARIE MOHR: I can't understand why people didn't get suspicious considering even one simple fact ? Anne's age. As if they could have been her children. She was too old to have those children.

PETER OVERTON: Yet despite all the evidence, Hamilton-Byrne continued her jet-setting lifestyle, flitting between her New York home, this English manor and her tropical retreat in Hawaii until Marie Mohr tracked her down.

MARIE MOHR: I've been trying to catch up with you for a long time. Have you got any comment now about why you kept those children locked away for so long?

MAN: No comment.


PETER OVERTON: Extradited back to Australia, the so-called Divine One was charged with just one offence ? falsifying a statutory declaration.

LEX DE MAN: I never forget walking out of court, the County Court of Melbourne, on the day of the conviction and the day of the $15,000 fine. That was it. It left me gutted. I don't think ? justice was done, but in what degree? On a scale of one to 100? Just one

Payout for The Family sect victims by James Campbell, August 16, 2009. ... 62,00.html

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THE Family cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne has paid six-figure sums to two former "followers" who sued her for alleged damage done to them in their childhoods.

Hamilton-Byrne settled the cases for payouts of an estimated $250,000 each.

In the 1980s, police estimated Hamilton-Byrne's wealth at more than $50 million.

Painful justice by James Campbell, August 16, 2009. ... 62,00.html

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LEX De Man, the policeman who spent five years bringing The Family cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne to justice, is still haunted by the case and its toll on everyone involved.

And while proud that Operation Forest, the taskforce on which he worked from 1989 to 1994, eventually secured her conviction for perjury, he is still angry Hamilton-Byrne escaped punishment for alleged maltreatment of the children in her care.

Mr De Man said Hamilton-Byrne was lucky the children who had endured beatings, druggings and starvation at The Family's Lake Eildon property were too traumatised to testify against their alleged tormentor.

"One girl looked like she was seven but was, in fact, 11. She was suffering from psycho-social dwarfism," Mr De Man said.

"I didn't think at that time - and even today - that many of the kids would be able to sustain giving evidence in the witness box. I think they'd been damaged too much."

The detective's decision to go after Hamilton-Byrne for falsifying documents came in 1991 when the cult's solicitor, Peter Kibby, decided to co-operate with police.

"Documents don't lie. People lie on documents. A document might be false, but it's a human being that puts the information on it," Mr De Man said.

Kibby then persuaded one of the former "Aunties", Pat MacFarlane, to make a statement.

After months of interviews, and later armed with the evidence to secure a warrant to arrest Hamilton-Byrne, police still took three years to find her.

But when he was told she had been arrested in the US, Mr De Man said he was overcome with emotion.

He then flew to New York where he was met by two US marshals, who handed over Hamilton-Byrne.

"She was a frail, old-looking woman without her wig," he said.

"Her first words to me were 'You're a lot younger than I thought you would be'."

Mr De Man said people were sceptical of the taskforce's success when it was established.

"When we started, people said to us 'You'll never find her and if you do, you'll never interview her, you'll never charge her, you'll never bring her back to this country, you'll never get her before a court and you'll never get a conviction'," he said.

"Four-and-half years later we found her in a joint operation with the FBI, we went and got her and we brought her back, fronted her before the courts and she pleaded guilty - even though the penalty was minuscule - $5000.

"In the end it was about the principle of justice."

P.S. Previous 60 Minutes reported $15,000 fine, not $5000. However, she was still not charged for her alleged abuse of the children.

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Re: The Family cult

Unread post by Vanilla » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:13 am

Here is a video about it I am watching now. ... 85b018da7a||||

Lots of Ramsters come from Australia. I am sure they heard about this.

Isnt the motto for RSE --make known the unknown? Well the motto for the Family is-- the Unknown The unseen and the unheard.

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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:58 am

Re: The Family cult

Unread post by HBfoster » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:34 am

Hi Vanilla,
Actually, that quote is not quite accurate. In the Hb group, the quote was about selfless service; ie service should be unseen unheard unknown; the phrase does not have the same meaning that RSE applies to those words.
I was raised in the HB group; some of what has been reported is accurate, some is sensationalized.Still, I suppose media is not known for its nuances and accuracy..
Wishing you all the best.

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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:58 am

Re: The Family cult

Unread post by HBfoster » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:34 pm

Hi Guys, just thought if it is ok , I'd write a little more.By the way; I love a lot of people, both members and ex members of the group, and want to respect the myriad different people I care about here.
Like Sarah (in the first article), I believe the intentions behind raising us kids were good.
Some of what the media reported was just plain wrong; we kids weren't raised as Aryans! In fact there were several biracial marriages in the group, several Jewish members, and we were taught to revere an Indian Guru ( Swami Muktunanda).You can google Sarah Hamilton Byrne Swami Muktunanda on google images and a photo of two of the kids with Swami Muktunanda will come up. ( Later on , Swami Abhayananda ( Stan Trout) came to Anne with allegations of sexual abuse within SYDA, and Anne helped the Swami leave SYDA,and refused to allow her girls to go to India with Swami Muktunanda, which resulted in a falling out.
(Stan Trout wrote an open letter on the leaving SYDA board about this.)
Of course, some of the people talking about our group decided to lose all touch with reality.There are a subset of internet bloggers who apparently get entertainment by making things up about us kids.
According to some sites, we are actually MK Ultra zombies with multiple personalities working for the CIA. ( I kid you not; its out there!)

Apparently ,despite the fact that we were raised mainly in Australia, ASIO did not even get a look in. :) Sometimes you just have to laugh.

On a more serious note , many of the foster kids and HB kids who lived Up Top ( we are now all adults, for the most part late 30s -40s) are doing pretty well with our lives; Ben Shenton, a Christian pastor and computer programmer and father, has a website. Most of us have chosen to keep our lives private. Several have graduate degrees. (The education Up Top was really good.) ( Corporal punishment, missing meals,; not so good.)
Having the media routinely describe us kids as damaged is not of course very helpful. Funny: it is no longer ok to describe rape victims as damaged goods; it would be nice when kids raised in religious groups are shown the same respect.

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