The boys survived, but Carl kept the horrors he had endured secret, even from his brother, for decades. When Carl found the strength to speak out, he discovered the tragic aftermath of life in the Church of England Charlton Boys’ Home for many of his fellow inmates.
Despite the adversity and the pain, Carl’s story is overwhelmingly optimistic and heartwarming. It contains recollections of 1940s and ’50s Sydney that will intrigue anyone who loves Newtown, Glebe and the surrounding suburbs, and is told in his own authentic voice.
Born in Newtown, Sydney, in 1937, the eldest of two sons to Mary and Reginald Beauchamp, Carl Beauchamp was brought up in a dysfunctional household and first put into care in a church home at the age of seven. He spent the rest of his childhood and teenage years in and out of homes where he was abused by those who should have been protecting him.
At 17, Carl started work in the Crago flour mill in Newtown before being called up for compulsory National Service in 1956. After four years in the Citizen Military Forces, he worked two jobs to save for his first home with his sweetheart Beryl, who he married on January 27, 1960.
Carl went into business with his father-in-law, running a cleaning company, and later worked as a foreman at an aluminium company and a supervisor in the bread industry.
A keen and talented sportsman, Carl played rugby league, soccer, golf and tennis. He coached junior soccer teams for many years, building a six-team club, Fairfield Heights, into the largest junior club in Australia at the time with 54 teams.
For 15 years he and Beryl lived in semi-retirement at Tuross Heads on the NSW South Coast, where Carl was active in the community and as secretary of the local branch of the ALP. The couple returned to live in Sydney in 2003. They enjoy spending time with their four children, 12 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.
In 2004, Carl gave evidence about his experiences in the Church of England’s Charlton Memorial Home at Glebe to the Senate Affairs References Committee preparing the Forgotten Australians and Protecting Vulnerable Children: A National Challenge reports. Carl subsequently organised a reunion of former Charlton inmates and encouraged fellow victims to seek support and counselling and put together evidence together for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Carl’s strong faith, and his love for Beryl, have sustained him and given him the strength to continue his work as an advocate for other survivors of institutional abuse.