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Inquiry into Historical Child Sexual Abuse at Beaumaris Primary School Begins

The Victorian Government’s Inquiry Terms of Reference provides that it will cover child abuse by a “relevant employee” at Beaumaris Primary School during the 1960s and/or 1970s and “any other government school”. However, it will also look into abuse perpetrated by those same employees who continued to abuse children after they left Beaumaris Primary School to take positions at other government schools up until the 1990s.

Monday 23 October marked the first day of the Victorian government’s public hearings, chaired by Kathleen Foley SC. Ms. Foley outlined the Inquiry will also investigate the response from the Department of Education to that sexual abuse, including what was known at the time of the abuse.

Public hearings will continue to take place this week and can be watched online. The Inquiry will hear from survivors’ directly in private sessions.

So far, the Inquiry has publicly identified 3 alleged perpetrators:

  1. Convicted paedophile Gary Arthur Mitchell, former teacher, deputy principal and principal at several schools in the 1960s-1990s
  2. Grahame (Graham) Harold Steele, former teacher and sports coach at Beaumaris Primary School in the 1960s and early 1970s
  3. David Ernest Keith MacGregor, former teacher at Beaumaris Primary School and other schools.

It has not named other perpetrators publicly due to “legal and other considerations”.

According to the Inquiry’s website, 24 Victorian government schools will be investigated. Those schools are listed below.

Ryan Carlisle Thomas acts on behalf of many former students at Victorian government schools who have experienced child sexual abuse at the hands of teachers, principals and other staff. Many of these perpetrators were known offenders that schools failed to properly vet before allowing close proximity to students.

Ryan Carlisle Thomas commends the Victorian Government for launching this Inquiry into child sexual abuse perpetrated by staff at Beaumaris Primary School during the 1960s and 1970s. However, it is clear that this is the tip of the iceberg and a thorough investigation needs to be had into the full extent of the abuse that was allowed to perpetuate in State-run schools for so long.

The Inquiry will consist of public hearings which can be watched online and private sessions.

The Inquiry is calling for written submissions to be made by 31 October 2023.

The Inquiry has until 28 February next year to deliver its findings.

List of Government schools covered by the Inquiry:

  • Aspendale Primary School
  • Beaconsfield Upper Primary School
  • Beaumaris Primary School
  • Belvedere Park Primary School
  • Bundalong South Primary School (now closed)
  • Bunyip Primary School
  • Chelsea Heights Primary School
  • Cowes Primary School
  • Cranbourne Primary School
  • Dandenong North Primary School
  • Dandenong West Primary School
  • Drouin South Primary School
  • Emerald Primary School
  • Hampton Primary School
  • Kunyung Primary School
  • Mirboo Primary School, now Mirboo North Primary School
  • Moorabbin (Tucker Road) Primary School, now Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School
  • Moorabbin West Primary School (now closed)
  • Mount View Primary School
  • Ormond East PS now McKinnon Primary School
  • Tarraville Primary School (now closed)
  • Tarwin Lower Primary School
  • Warragul Primary School
  • Warragul Technical School, now Warragul Regional College