A woman, who had been sent to Australia from England when she was a child had been molested and abandoned. She became so hungry that she had to eat grains that were meant for the pigs, an investigation discovered.

Marcelle O’Brien had been deported to Pinjarra, Australia, by Fairbridge Society when she was four years old.

The Queen at the time, the wife of George VI, had later intervened, asking if she was able to return to the United Kingdom for adoption, but Fairbridge stated that is wasn’t in the girl’s “best interests”, heard the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Mrs O’Brien stated that she suffered from “mental cruelty” as well as “sadistic” behavior in the home where she had been forced to undergo “slave labour”.

She had been molested by the school’s principal, as well as caned, the hearing heard.


The current inquiry, covering England and Wales, discovered that O’Brien lived in what was called a “loving and caring” home with her foster mother located in Surrey before she was sent abroad.

Her foster mother then sent a letter to the Queen attempting to get O’Brien to return to the country so that she may adopt her.

Former Queen Involvement

A letter received from a society of the Queen’s Lady in Waiting stated that O ‘Brien had been “happily settled at our school in Pinjarra – and which Her Majesty may remember visiting in 1928”.

It continued on to state that O ‘Brien made many friends, and if she were uprooted, it would “not be in the child’s best interests”.

The palace had seemingly been reassured with the response from Fairbridge.

O’Brien said to the panel: “They didn’t take any notice. The Royal Family just didn’t want to know anything. They stopped you from going back to your own original home.”