For most Americans, images of rural Australia brings to mind Crocodile Dundee, kangaroos, and gregarious folks who speak English but with a vocabulary all their own. Australia seems like a wonderful place to visit.
However, in rural New South Wales, Australia, a real life horror story played out for decades as generations of one family generated – and degenerated – among themselves in what is one of the most egregious examples of incest ever known.
Local welfare and educational authorities, after receiving multiple stories of unclean and cognitively-impaired children, investigated a camp in a secluded valley which this inbred extended family was currently living.
The family, given the pseudonym last name of ‘Colt’, (as well as pseudonym first names) to protect their true identities, had been intrafamilial sexual relations for three generations. Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, fathers, daughters, sons and daughters, all had sexual relations in every depraved combination imaginable, with the predictable results being children born with severe mental and physical impairments – misaligned eyes, difficulty walking, and limited ability to learn being just three examples.
The stories are awful to hear: young children made to watch as older children and adults had sex with each other, children as young as five having sex with teenage siblings while adults watched, and children taking joy in mutilating the genitals of animals were but some of the wretched particulars investigators discovered.
So how did the Colts, generation after generation, manage to keep their dark secrets hidden from neighbors and authorities alike?
Decade after decade, the Colt family had managed to hide their sickening story by moving from place to place, across the vast expanse of southern Australia. Primarily living on welfare payments, they would live in ‘bush camps’ like this one – ramshackle structures that can be best described as shacks, supplemented by dilapidated caravans, tucked away in the thinly populated countryside of this continent-nation.
They mostly avoided contact with those outside their family, so that folks living close by had no idea of the dark secret the Colts kept. Folks from the local town reported women dressed like 1960s flower children driving vehicles packed with young children passing by on the way to or from the hidden camp in the valley, but no one thought anything of it until news broke of the horror existing so close by.
Family elders would move the family to a new jurisdiction when they caught wind they had been put on a watch list of local or state authorities, so they had long stayed one step ahead of being discovered. “This family did not want to be found,” explained Maree Walk of Family and Community Services in NSW. “Some of the families that we work with are very open and seeking for help — but that wasn’t the circumstances here.” Living on welfare checks also lessened the opportunities for contact with outsiders.
Upon their discovery by police and welfare authorities, the family’s children were placed with foster parents. Several of the Colt mothers have petitioned to have their children returned; it would seem an unlikely event that any court would return innocents to such a hellish fate.
Hopefully the youngest Colts are not too damaged whereby they cannot go on to live normal lives. Thankfully, this ugly chapter in depravity has been brought to an end.