John Moffatt Smith is one of thirty two brothers and sisters, who were taken by welfare when they were babies. They would remain separated for twenty eight years. Split up and placed in institutions around the NSW regional and rural areas until fostered, adopted, or became old enough to leave the Orphanages they were placed in.
John suffered eleven torturous and abusive years of life in the institution until he was finally adopted. Then once free from the orphanage, John’s father figure died only months after arriving, and the mother worked beyond midnight from Monday through to Saturday, leaving only Sundays to be home, and even then she was on call, so in a sense he was still abandoned and alone. John lived a tumultuous life on the streets, drifting from town to town, staying with extended adopted family members or friends from the age of twelve.
After several years of this nomad existence of working and drifting around, John met his wife and finally settled down, to have his own family, while intentionally keeping his childhood secrets from his family, and only felt compelled to tell his story in light of the current Royal Commission into Institutional abuse, feeling it was the right time for his family to hear the truth about his past.
Fortunately for John there would be reasoning for him to accept the cruel cards dealt to him in his past, but as he tells all who asked how he did not become an angry twisted revenge fuelled man, his answer has always remained the same. I believe if I changed just one moment of time then this would alter my future, to where I would not of been at the place and time I first laid eyes on my wife Donna, so now not have my children, nor my Grandchildren, therefore if my hellish childhood is a trade off for my wife, kids, and grandkids that are my life today, then I’m blessed.
In 1988, John appeared on the Ray Martin show, and was re-united with two of his brothers. He was to learn later that evening; he had many more siblings to meet, twenty nine more to be exact. A week later he appeared for a second time on the show to meet even more of his lost family.
Then a few years later, he would be further shocked, when a sister Robyn knocked on his front door with news of more family members yet unfound.
While today John travels the country with his guest speaking engagements and hopes the message he delivers does in some way help others to deal with the troubles and issues they could be facing.
Through the eyes of thousands, as told through the eyes of one.
Re-united on The Ray Martin Show