Author will speak of her early laundry life

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter

FORMER Australind resident Faye Bohling will speak at the Australind Library about her highly-praised autobiography, The Laundry Girl.

Mrs Bohling was inspired to write her story after reading a simple question in an ad in the West Australian newspaper: “Were you at the Home of the Good Shepherd laundry?”

“It was like a bolt out of the blue,” Mrs Bohling said.

“It put me on track to find out more.”

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Now the home of the Catholic Education Office in Leederville, the Home of the Good Shepherd laundry was once an institution for “destitute girls and women”. Just a child, she was placed in the laundry where there were no other children, and she was forced to work the same long hours as the adults.

Run by the sisters from the institution’s convent, the hours were long and the treatment was far from loving.

“Even they can’t tell me why I was there,” Mrs Bohling said.

After looking through old newspapers, Mrs Bohling found a Christmas card dated 1948 which she clearly remembers having with her at the Home of the Good Shepherd.

“I was only 10 years old,” she said, and she began digging a little deeper into why her mother had placed her in the institution.

“She put me in there on the 23rd of October, and she remarried a week later,” Mrs Bohling said.

Without a hint of blaming or finger pointing, Mrs Bohling spoke of how she never spoke to anyone about her time in the Good Shepherd, not even her first husband.

Mrs Bohling said her extraordinary childhood experience helped her become a better mother.

“I am so lucky to have such wonderful children,” Mrs Bohling said.

“They are my joy and my forgiveness.

“I always tried to be fair and I was wary of dishing out injustice.”

Faye Bohling will be at the Australind Library Monday 6 November at 5.30pm.

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