The Family (DVD)

Rose Jones

The Family (DVD)
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The Family (DVD)

Rose Jones

An incendiary, heartbreaking investigation into one of Australia’s most notorious cults, and the scars it’s survivors still bear today.

Anne Hamilton-Byrne was beautiful, charismatic and delusional. She was also incredibly dangerous. Convinced she was a living god, Hamilton-Byrne headed an apocalyptic sect called The Family, which was prominent in Melbourne from the 1960s to the 1990s. With her husband Bill, she acquired numerous children - some through adoption scams, some born to cult members - and raised them as her own. Isolated from the outside world, the children were dressed in matching outfits, had identically dyed blonde hair, and were allegedly beaten, starved and injected with LSD. Taught that Hamilton-Byrne was both their mother and the messiah, the children were eventually rescued during a police raid in 1987, but their trauma had only just begun.

With survivors and cult members telling their stories alongside the Australian and international detectives who worked the case, this confronting feature documentary exposes not just what happened within the still-operating sect but also within the conservative Melbourne community that allowed The Family to flourish.

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