Graeme Thorne Kidnapping – A loved child kidnapped and killed

Dear Graeme

The scratchy voices coming across the airwaves from the battery wireless first brought us the awful news of your kidnapping; you were just a few months older than myself and I think because of this, I felt a special empathy.

The reason given for the kidnapping was a ransom demand on your parents who had just won 100,000 Pounds in our first Opera House lottery. The lottery had been set up in the face of huge public outcry to help pay for the rampaging costs for the Sydney Opera House which was then under construction.

Churches across the country had resounded with fire and brimstone sermons on the evils of gambling when this lottery was first announced.

By this time; I was attending the Presbyterian Sunday school on the last Sunday of the month and, for some reason; Mum had insisted I also attend the Lutheran Sunday School, for two of the remaining Sundays each month.

I never did quite understand why this extra religious instruction was deemed necessary for me. My elder brothers and sister had escaped this intrusion and Terry was never made to follow me down this route.

The photos of your family were first splashed across the papers when it was announced your Dad had won the lottery, and a few days later; the same papers carried pitiful photos of your grieving Mum and Dad after you were snatched on the 7th July.

I was just 8 years old, but the pain and grief your parents felt was so poignantly evident, you could not have help but be moved to tears.

It came as a shock to go to Church on Sundays and listen to your family virtually condemned by both Lutheran and Presbyterian Ministers as they raged against the evils of gambling. In some twisted way, they were saying your abduction was an explicable consequence of your Dad having bought a lottery ticket.

Of course you were lamented, but until your body was found in mid August, the “mad monks” continued to link the crime with the evils of gambling.

I think this was the first time I ever dared question the rightness of my Christian faith.

I would ride to school in the cold July mornings with the picture of your parents imprinted on my mind. Given the state of the situation at my home; I would marvel at the depth of love and anguish displayed by your parents.

I know this sounds horrible but the love your parents had for you was so obvious; that in some ways I envied you.

I cried for you, the day your body was found; even today I cannot go to, or past the Opera House, without thinking of you and your family.

I have never forgotten you and I have never forgiven the preachers of hate who most likely; hastened the early death of your Dad.

If there is really something after we leave this world; I fervently hope you are now united

Bruce

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