Bill Campbell: A tale of resiliance

Bill Campbell, AO

Minnamurra’s Bill Campbell hopes that his autobiography, Rejected No More, will help others traumatised by their childhood experiences to move on.

In addition to the suffering from neglect, abandonment, and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, Mr Campbell was also separated from his twin sisters. They were in children’s homes and institutions, sometimes right next door, but were not able to communicate or see each other.

“Being separated from my parents was hard enough, but then to be separated from my sisters… that was traumatic,” he says.

Against all odds, having overcome the demons caused by his experiences – including sleeping rough in the Cross, alcohol addiction and a complete physical and mental breakdown – with a new found faith and the support of his wife, he became a successful business and family man.

Wanting to save children from the experiences he went through, in 1998 he founded the William Campbell Foundation, an out-of-home foster care agency with a focus on keeping siblings together.

The Foundation now cares for over 110 children and young people who are supported by over 100 carers, throughout the Shoalhaven and Illawarra.

It has 50 full time and 25 casual staff members working from five offices, as well as a Nowra Hill Farming property, the site for the planned William Campbell College (a special assistance agricultural school).

“When we started out we made it very clear we were a Christian organisation,” says Mr Campbell.

“People looked upon us as a sect or a cult.

“It took years to convince some people of our sincerity and integrity but we’ve done it.

“I’m proud to see the outcomes we have with children, especially the ones that would otherwise fall through the cracks.”

He says that writing the book, a three year process, was at times a traumatic, but ultimately a therapeutic, experience.

“I didn’t want to experience again the emotions I had, because I felt that I was free of that now.

“I didn’t want to discover things that I suspected might have happened but didn’t know for sure.”

Mr Campbell said he was ultimately convinced to write the book in the hope
of helping others.

“This book is for everyone who has struggled to find meaning in life – if your childhood was dysfunctional, if you made terrible mistakes, if you feel the world is against you and if you feel unloved.

“It is a book of empathy, understanding and healing, and is intended to bring freedom to children and adults traumatised by the demons of their past.

“It also shows that as a society we are all responsible to keep every child safe and loved.”

He hopes that he can represent a lot of others who are too traumatised to speak publicly about what happened in their lives.

“Today I no longer live in the past. My past life is where it belongs.

“I can still feel the hurt and trauma, but it doesn’t haunt me any more.

“I’m hoping that someway this book might have therapeutic value to other older and mature age people that haven’t been able to come to terms with their childhood.

“That they will find a pathway where they no longer live in the past but enjoy what they have presently and can build in the future.”

He offers the sobering statistic that, since the war years, over 500,000 children have been taken into care.

Mr Campbell received an Order of Australia Medal for his work.

Details: The book can be purchased at http://www.wcfoundation.org.au/shop or from the Kiama Downs Pharmacy. The website also offers information about
volunteering as a carer. Tax deductible donations for the Foundations work are welcome.

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