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Westbrook - New two-part documentary soon on CI @Foxtel

NewsKevin Perry
The Westbrook Home for Boys image source - thechronicle.com.au

The Westbrook Home for Boys
image source - thechronicle.com.au

Starts Thursday, August 28 at 8.30pm EST

Concludes Thursday, September 4 at 8.30pm EST

On Thursday, August 28 at 8.30pm EST, FOXTEL’s Crime & Investigation Network will premiere a compelling new two-part documentary series, Westbrook, which tells the harrowing true story of the infamous Westbrook boys’ home in Toowoomba, Queensland.

Introduced by former Queensland Premier and current CEO of YWCA NSW, The Hon. Anna Bligh and produced by Graham McNeice at Shadow Productions (Crime Investigation Australia, The Train: The Granville Rail Disaster), this powerful 2 x 60 minute docudrama focuses on the Westbrook Farm Home for Boys in Toowoomba in the 1950s and 60s.

It was during this era that Baby Boomers were being born to a nation and parents were still suffering from the traumas of World War. Many were orphans. Some children went off the rails. And all were seen as potential trouble.

The story of this unforgiving period at Westbrook, where boys were imprisoned, systematically abused and sexually assaulted in a regimen designed to break their spirit, is told by nine survivors who were there.

Lead by the journey of inmate Alfred ‘Crow’ Fletcher, Westbrook details the brutality endured by the children and young men at the hands of the authorities, and how they managed to survive. 

The docudrama follows Fletcher‘s attempts to escape, the brave officers who blew the whistle and told the media and the young boys who tried to burn Westbrook down.

Featuring emotional interviews with many of the survivors, these courageous but broken men - now in their 60s and 70s - tell of the damaged lives that have resulted from their time at this horrific facility.

“Westbrook was an extremely dark period in Australia’s history and the suffering endured by the inmates was unimaginable. This is a story that needs to be told.” said Ms Anna Bligh.

Graham McNeice said “In making this documentary, I wanted to give the many hundreds of boys who had to suffer at Westbrook and similar institutions, a voice. Their courage is in their survival.” 

Weaving archival footage with the knowledge of anthropologist Dr Adele Chynoweth, this rivetting docudrama offers an insight in to a very different – and shocking - time in Australia’s past.

Westbrook was among the institutions investigated as part of the 1998 Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, also known as the Forde Inquiry. The Forde Inquiry described the cruelty at Westbrook as the most extreme example of culture of brutality against institutionalised children.

In July 2014, the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its first report, with more reports to come. 

The two-part docudrama Westbrook will air on Thursdays from 28 August at 8.30pm EST on Crime & Investigation Network.

Westbrook is produced by Graham McNeice at Shadow Productions and is exclusive to Foxtel’s Crime & Investigation Network.

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