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The Documentary Exposing Australia's cult “The Family”

2016-09-25 Source:kaiwind Author:dailymail

(kaiwind.com)According to British Daily Mail report, A documentary into the notorious cult led by yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne will premiere at the upcoming Melbourne International Film Festival.“The Family”(also called “the Santiniketan Park Association”)raised lots of concerns.


The notorious cult has been described as “sinister and beautiful” and like a “Grimm fairytale”. There are still a number of cult believers who live in Victoria.

Rosie Jones, the director of the documentary, described the actions of the cult as series of “dark” events that highlighted “human frailty” ,according to the Daily Mail quoted by The Age.


The children of The Family, many of whom had their hair dyed blonde to make them look like siblings 


  Anne Hamilton Byrne 

“How do people get involved in a cult, what draws them in, how do they do things that they would normally find morally reprehensible,” she said.

“It opens up a lot of questions that are universal rather than relevant only to this particular group.”

Anne set up “family” in Lake Eildon, All the children in the cult were blonde, they all looked the same.

Children from different families looked like siblings ,and their new “mother” Anne Hamilton-Byrne.

The Family's property Lake Eildon was raided by police in 1987 after one of the cults “daughters” - now revealed to be Hamilton-Byrne's favourite child Sarah - went to police with abuse allegations.

Following the raid police found another 14 children had been brought up in the isolated home.

  14 children living with her at one stage - some of them have spoken out about the abuse  


  Anne Hamilton-Byrne hold hands with one of the bleach-blonde children 

Adult children are interviewed in The Family, and they speak of being beaten, of being starved as punishment, of being forced to take LSD and other drugs and also of the sexual assault of children.

In 2009 Hamilton-Byrne spoke with the Herald Sun claiming she as the mother of the children in her care and said anyone who said otherwise were “lying bastards”.

She said the only regret she had was “losing touch with daughter” (Sarah) and after an emotional reunion with the young woman who brought the cult down she said she was “ready to die”.

That was life in “The Family” a notorious cult than ran for decades in Melbourne until one woman, Dr Sarah Moore, managed to escape. Months later, in August 1987, Australian Federal Police used her evidence to justify a raid on the cult’s Lake Eildon property.


  The cult is well-know for its illicit drug use - predominately LSD (Anne Hamilton-Byrne pictured) 

Sarah who was a doctor until she was found to be self-prescribing drugs in 2005 - said she can't help but see the elderly cult leader as her mum - even as she betrayed her in the media.

“But, despite perhaps appearances to the contrary, at that time I felt enormous loyalty to Anne. To my mind, I had put my life on the line to oppose her, as I believed at the time that to oppose her, to betray her, was to die.”

Sarah said her “mother” nergetically denied the charge,blaming it instead on the “aunties”.

The film also explores how far the reach of The Family stretched, Raynor Johnson had connections to all sorts of people, Raynor and Anne recruited doctors, lawyers, architects. They only recruited really wealthy people, in fact, or people with status and skills they needed.

The medical staff and lawyers made it easy for the cult to take babies from single mothers who were pressured into signing their children over.

Other babies were those of cult-followers who didn't want them.

Anne Hamilton-Byrne is no longer the leader of the cult however it is believed to still be in operation

Ben Shenton had been in The Family since he was eighteen months old. In 2013 he described his childhood home as being similar to an institution - said the children were forced to do yoga and were fed very little food.

In 2013 ,he told the ABC that the children were forced to do yoga and were fed very little food.

“Removal of food, beatings. Some of them were put outside at night and left outside at different times. Being part of that, helping that to happen because you had feuds with those kids... we grew up controlled and controlling one another.”

Ben went to see her in 2011 - and describes the moment as 'closure' on his horrific upbringing.

“It was seeing a final this is who you are ... she had lost her power of me when I was removed from the cult... but I guess it's like closing a door on an event.”


Now Anne Hamilton Byrne is in her in her eighties, living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia. About twenty members of the cult still live in Melbourne.


The Family — also called the Santiniketan Park Association and the Great White Brotherhood — is a controversial Australian New Age group formed in the mid-1960s under the leadership of the Yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The basis of The Family's philosophy was that Anne Hamilton-Byrne was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and a living god.

Anne Hamilton-Byrne acquired fourteen infants and young children between about 1968 and 1975. The children were kept in seclusion and home-schooled at Kai Lama , a rural property usually referred to as "Uptop", at Taylor Bay on Lake Eildon near the town of Eildon, Victoria . They were told that Anne Hamilton-Byrne was their biological mother, and knew the other adults in the group as 'aunties' and 'uncles'. They were denied almost all access to the outside world, and subjected to a discipline that included frequent, severe beatings – often for little or no reason – and starvation diets. The children were frequently dosed with the psychiatric drugs Anatensol, Diazepam, Haloperidol, Largactil, Mogadon, Serepax, Stelazine, Tegretol or Tofranil. Sarah Hamilton-Byrne was expelled by her adoptive mother in 1987 because of arguing and rebellious behaviour.

In August 2009, two individuals succeeded in getting financial compensation from Anne Hamilton-Byrne after suing her. Her granddaughter, Rebecca Cook-Hamilton, sued her in 2007 for alleged psychiatric and psychological illnesses. She alleged that she received "cruel and inhuman treatment" from Hamilton-Byrne and her servants, including beatings, being locked in a freezing shed overnight and being forced to take medications. She also alleged that she was given insufficient food. Her payout was estimated to be $250,000.

 Original linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3705224/Inside-Melbourne-cult-known-Family.html 

 Chinese version linkhttp://anticult.kaiwind.com/xingao/2016/201608/01/t20160801_4121758.shtml