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Hamilton-Byrne told most of the children whom she adopted fraudulently that she was their birth mother – she faked numerous pregnancies by wearing homemade smocks.
The first children arrived in the early 1970s. Adoption was poorly regulated in Australia, and unmarried motherhood still carried social stigma. Through her network of followers, Hamilton-Byrne found it easy to procure infants. “You had babies born in cult hospitals, delivered by cult midwives, handed over to cult social workers,”