It is nearly forty years ago since the first known father, an Australian, applied for legal custody of a baby girl and was subsequently granted legal custody of his baby daughter by the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Though this father was granted legal custody of his baby daughter by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the Department of Community Welfare and the Department of Social Security of the governments of the day refused to accept Tthe Supreme Court of New South Wales’ ruling of a father being given the opportunity and the equal rights to raise his baby daughter.
The father was refused any assistance and received no child maintenance as the mother refused to pay any, and the Department of Community Welfare and the Social Security Department would not force the mother who deserted the child to pay child support, as she was a woman.
Nor was he granted a single parent’s pension or the equivalent pension that was automatically granted to single mothers and their children.
Through the eight-year period that his young daughter was diagnosed as seriously ill and dying, he was not offered any support or financial assistance whatsoever from anybody.
Forced to give up his career, this father, his baby daughter and his mother had to survive on his mother’s aged pension.
Due to the harassing attitudes by the Child Welfare Department and their determination to seize his baby daughter at any given opportunity, the father was forced to fly 4,100 Miles over a period of 10 hours and 50 minutes overnight from Sydney to Perth; the father would then fly back to Sydney on the same night. This journey was undertaken many times to hide his baby daughter in the care of his mother to avoid his baby daughter being made a state ward, as this was the policy of the day.
That father was Leslie James Gray, now living in Perth, Western Australia.
[Photo by Katie E