Demolish the old St Alipius Boys School building, site of the worst child sexual abuse

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The recent Royal Commission showed that the St Alipious Catholic Boys school was one of the worst schools for child sexual abuse in Australia, if not the world. At one stage in the 1970s every male staff member (Christian Brothers as well as a Preist) was sexually abusing primary school aged boys. These included paedophiles like Br Best, Br Dowlan, Br Farrell and Br Fitzgerald.

Today the numbers of former students that are now deceased is well above the national average, with many taking thier own lives or sucumbing to early death from alcohol or drug abuse or single vehicle accidents. The City of Ballarat has a suicide rate that is higher than the State road toll, and up to 5 times larger than other comparable towns. The ripple effect of what happened at this school continues through the generations.

The current St Alipius school is no longer on this site. It moved to the next block decades ago, and the building is currently used as a kindergarten. This building is beside the church and on the same land as the prespertary. At one stage one of Australias worst pedophiles lived there and worked at the school as its principal, Fr Gerald Ridsdale. Cardinal George Pell, recently convicted of child sexual abuse, also lived there at the same time. 

Survivors have described the building as a site of evil and pain and many feel umcomfortable inside, feeling sadness and desolation. This is not sacred ground - its desecrated and should be demolished. Its an old building, but it stands today as a constant reminder of rape, pain and death.

Demolish it. Allow survivors, their families and those left behind by those no longer with us to be a part of its destruction. 

All around the world at sites of trauma and death, it is not unusual to demolish the building and to replace it with something more appropriate. In this case, it could be replaced with a memorial garden, similar to that done at St Patrick's College Ballarat. Imagine a peaceful place where people can forever see the damage done to children and indeed to the whole community of Ballarat. A place where the community can continue to tie ribbons as a sign of support to victims. Perhaps this could be a memorial to all the victims of child sexual abuse in Ballarat, not only the Catholics. Its in a main street on the entrance to the city, and being beside the church, the catholic community will also never forget what was done to thier children.

Demolish it. Knock it down. Destoy it. And in its place make a memorial of colour and light so that we will never forget the evil that happened to our children, our brothers and sisters. Start the healing. We cant change the past, but we can start a new future.