THE KATHRYN HILL STORY
Kathryn was born on 21st January 1952, the second child to James and Jessie, sister
to Jimmy, Archie and Irene. Her story is as much the same as her brother’s and sister
up until 1965 when they were all sent to Australia. Almost immediately this family
of four was broken up and it was to change the course of all their lives, each one
sent in a different direction because their father was a weak man. Giving them up
for the love of other women.
Kathryn was familiar with being moved around, having spent many years in care starting
at the age of eight. After leaving high school at the age of sixteen Kathryn was
found a home in a women’s hostel run by a young couple in Wood Street, Randwick,
Sydney. She shared with four other girls, one named Dawn who she became very close
friends with. During her stay there she was to have numerous jobs including being
a live clothes model in a well known department store.
Kathryn was an attractive woman and was somewhat vulnerable after years in care.
At 17 she became involved with a married man, a few years her senior and the affair
blossomed. She believed she’d found happiness, until the inevitable happened and
Kathryn fell pregnant. The pregnancy was not planned and the father was not going
to stand by her. The suggestion was made that she have the baby adopted, but she
refused and shortly before the birth moved back into a Barnardo’s home in Sydney
to await the birth.
Her son James was born on the 14th August 1970. Strangely she named her son after
her father, the very same man that had deserted her because at this time Kathryn
still believed that her father would come and get her from Australia and take her
back to England. It was never to be.
Kathryn left hospital with James’s and was to spend the next year or so with her
brother Jimmy, who helped her bring up the child. She struggled as single parent,
but she never at any time thought about putting him into care. Kathryn moved from
place to place and was last seen at her brother’s funeral in 1993. Sadly neither
Archie nor Irene were to keep in contact with her and at this time her whereabouts
is unknown, as is her son’s.
I have now been trying to trace Kathryn and her son James’s for a year with all the
professional recourses available to me. We are no further forward now than we were
a year ago. The only information I have received is that her last known whereabouts
was in Maruchydore, NSW in 2002 but since then, there has been no word. We have
now put it in the hands of the missing person’s bureau in Australia.
What were they thinking all those years ago sending us kids to Australia, like they
did with convicts? A land completely alien to us all, where we were just “making
up the numbers”, and providing cheap labour. Although a few did make a good life
for themselves, the few does not outweigh the thousands that didn’t…..
Tony added October 2010
At last after years of searching I have now managed to track Kathy Hill down alive
and well,with the help of an old friend of hers, Dawn. She shared digs with her back
those early days. She now lives in Queensland on a caravan park with her son. After
sending numerous letters with no reply Dawn took it upon herself and she decided
to take a chance and turn up unannounced. She took the long four hour drive north
to surprise her, unfortunately Dawn and Kathryn’s reunion was not a pleasant and
definately not the one Dawn imagined. As with many other child migrants they would
rather forget that part of their lives that caused them so much pain. After travelling
so far to catch up with her old friend ,who she had been searching years for, she
was sent packing.
Dawn said to me that she was no longer the tall beautiful happy go lucky girl she
used to know, the years had taken its toll and was very bitter with the world. SO
Thank you - Tony.