Mark Torr has been the driving force behind the Childrens Memorial Gardens Neerkol.
Mark Torr has been the driving force behind the Childrens Memorial Gardens Neerkol. Chris Ison ROK031116cneerkol2

Founder hopes positives come from 'psychic' tour of Neerkol memorial

MARK Torr has become the missing link between the 110 Neerkol orphans laid to rest and their living relatives.

Since he opened the Childrens Memorial Garden Neerkol in March last year, 10 children have been reunited with family members.

For Mark, it is all about keeping their memories alive.

Yesterday, he responded to news a "gifted psychic" Chris Powell would take a small, sold-out tour group through the site on Saturday, March 4.

The tour is hosted by WhiteCloud Ghostwalkers from 7.30-11pm.

Mark said so long as they were doing it for the right reasons, there was no problem, and said it could in fact further his cause.

"Say there's 10 people go there, including Chris, there's nine people going to get educated on something," Mark said.

"I am just hoping she knows the story, the full story.

"It took me 12 months of seven days a week to find the story and to find to connect the children; at present we have got 10 living relatives that have been reunited with those children that would have never had that chance."

Neerkol's atrocious history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse came to the fore during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses Child Sexual Abuse, announced in 2012.

It uncovered experiences of a number of men and women who were resident at St Joseph's Orphanage, Neerkol, operated by the Sisters of Mercy between 1940 and 1975.

Decades on and Mark's recent experiences of families reuniting with their lost relatives are equally uplifting as they are tragic.

"The last lady that went there only went there because she heard about the garden, no connection, just went there to have a look," Mark said.

"And she's seen a child's name there and she wrote to me and said well my uncle there was a mention of she had a sister that died that no one seems to know what happened to her, and he never spoke.

"She said 'that is her name' and she gave me a birth date and a death date, and it was spot on, so I filled her in with the rest of the information.

"So it's important thing because out of some of these things, if there's nine people there there might be one connection, or a connection through someone else.

"Ten out of the 119 children there is a pretty good strike rate."



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