Case 442


Frank Byrne was forcibly removed from his mother Maudie at the age of 5 and has been searching and yearning for her almost all of his life. After 60 years, the old man Frank has finally found her amongst the patient case records of Perth’s Claremont Mental institute where she was incarcerated and eventually buried in an pauper’s grave.

Frank’s determination and need for closure, sees him promise and prepare to have Maudie’s remains exhumed and returned back to her country for the burial she deserves.

Case 442 intimately follows Frank’s painful struggle and the final laying to rest of his mother. An emotionally moving story highlighting an unbreakable mother-son bond and why harsh Government Removal policies have left so many Australians like Frank with a scarred and fragmented identity.

Frank attended the world premiere in Sydney. It took him three years to gather all the data to Case 442. This movie is an urgent example of the Stolen Generations, those Aboriginal people who were forcibly removed from their families by the Australian authorities.

Frank says about this struggle: “All the’ve done was wreck my life and my mother’s life.”—“I’ve cried through the years. I don’t know if I’ve any more crying in me.”—“The person who took me away had no heart. I’ve got no hate, but I have anger. It will never go away from me.”—“I didn’t ask for that [black] skin. It’s because of my skin that they took me away from my mother.”

In the course of his investigations he discovered that Frank’s uncle was in fact his father. Suddenly, cousins became siblings. And there are many similar stories all around the country. As Mitch says, “You never know your family, you can walk past them in the street.”


Frank Byrne - narrator
Release dates
May 27th, 2005 - Australia
World premiere at the Indigenous Arts Festival, Sydney.
2008 International Cherokee Film Festival: Best International Documentary Award
Bella Kenworthy

When Frank then turned 7 in 1944 he was sent to Beagle Bay Mission.

Case 442 is in English and Gooniyandi (with subtitles).

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An appropriate citation for this document is:, Movies - Case 442, retrieved 14 December 2018