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One of the first children she stole — by intervening in an adoption via cult operatives in a Melbourne hospital — was Sarah Moore.

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Sarah was wonderful. She became the leader, if you like, of the inner sanctum of the cult kids, the ones with the dyed white hair and the fake Hamilton-Byrne surname imprisoned in the fibro house beside Lake Eildon through the s and s. Hamilton-Byrne took away children's identities.


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Sarah was Hamilton-Byrne's favourite but also her whipping-girl. Sarah was kicked out of the cult in early as she grew independent in her teenage years. Her dear friend and cult "sister" Leeanne Creese had escaped through a lakehouse window a few months earlier. Sarah and Leeanne, on the outside, initiated the police raid in that freed the children. Hamilton-Byrne was found hiding out near New York in Sarah became a doctor in developing countries.

Anne Hamilton-Byrne first ever interview reveals The Family cult secrets - 60 Minutes Australia

But the aftershocks of her continual dosings with LSD in the cult and the abuse she suffered and witnessed kept recurring. She died alone aged 46 in Melbourne just as the book and first documentary were released. Leeanne, meanwhile, like most of the survivors, lives quietly with her own family, trying for a stable life. Leeanne is at the forefront of the class action against the cult by survivors which will be heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria this year.

She was so loved, and such a generous person.

Not the Messiah: Anne Hamilton-Byrne's legacy of ruined childhoods

The funeral had a Buddhist theme. Many survivors were there from throughout Australia as well as the compassionate policeman Lex De Man and crusading TV journalist Marie Mohr, who did more to flush out Hamilton-Byrne and help the children than most. Sarah took everything Anne offered, but she was fighting her Teacher. He said Hamilton-Byrne had been betrayed.

She made up a mantra for the cult in its heyday forbidding betrayal, but she was betrayed spectacularly in the end. Her closest lawyer ended up telling police everything. Her closest "Auntie", directed to help run the prison house at Lake Eildon, told police everything too. Did she know that one day judgment would come? There is a plot waiting next to her third husband, Bill Hamilton-Byrne.


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While staying in the communes, the pair say there was some contact with the "systemites" in the outside world - especially social workers - but they were well-prepared for them. However, Jonathan says he was ejected from the group after having a "total mental breakdown" at the age of He says: "I basically continued to follow The Family rules inside my own head as I couldn't accept the outside world.

She says she decided to get herself thrown out by gathering items which were forbidden by The Family such as cigarettes, make-up, jewellery and chewing gum.

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After being confronted by adults about her stash, Verity was deliberately unrepentant - and started laughing when they tried to perform an "exorcism" on her. I'd said 'no' before, but I never really felt I had the right to do it. I'd never fought for myself. When she left The Family in the early s, Verity struggled with alcohol and drugs in an attempt to block out her childhood experiences. She says: "I changed my lifestyle when I had kids but, to be honest, it is probably sheer luck that I survived those first few years out of the cult.

The pair hope that by raising awareness of what happened to them, it might encourage other survivors to contact the police and other authorities with their stories. Verity says: "So many of them survivors don't feel like there's any point in speaking up about it. The remnants of the group continue to have a presence online, now known as The Family International.

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A spokeswoman said: "Although the Family International has apologised on a number of occasions to former members for any hurt, real or perceived, that they may have suffered during their time in our membership, we do not give credence to tales of institutionalised abuse. PM claims scrapping early release would have prevented London attack but Corbyn points to budget cuts. Media playback is unsupported on your device.


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