Home' Greymouth Star : November 10th 2014 Contents W
ith her glossy hair
in place with an
embellished clip, patent
leather heels and slick
suit, Betty Colt glides out of her black,
modern four-wheel drive.
She has a smirk on her face as she darts
across the road to the courthouse while her
daughter Raylene sits in the passenger seat
behind tinted windows.
Colt does not look the part of a woman
discovered living with 40-odd family
members in allegedly incestuous conditions
among filth-covered tents and caravans.
Her children might have been subject to
filthy beds — shared with cigarette butts
and wildlife — but she was believed to
be living quite well on the family farm in
south-western New South Wales compared
to her offspring.
The unemployed mother of 12 was
propped up by multiple social security
payments, including disability and family
Meanwhile, her children were the alleged
victims of rampant sexual abuse at the
hands of relatives and widespread neglect.
She was sentenced at a NSW Southern
Highlands courthouse to at least nine
months in jail this week for concocting a
plan to get her two sons, both of whom had
been removed from her, out of State care.
Her welfare payments started to dwindle
after five of her children were plucked off
the family farm and put in foster care in
2012 amid allegations of neglect, inter-
generational incest and abuse.
When she was sentenced in Moss Vale
Local Court on Monday, she was on
Newstart allowance, the court heard.
A transcript of unrelenting text messages
and phone calls intercepted by police, and
tendered to the court, gives an insight
into the “overbearing and claustrophobic”
influence Colt exuded over her children,
namely 15-year-old Bobby.
Despite Bobby’s objections, she convinced
him to try and run away with his younger
brother Billy from their Southern
Highlands foster care and rejoin her last
In phone transcripts, she let slip that
Centrelink was trying to stop her money.
Prosecutors said in court the matriarch
wanted to take the boys to South Australia
where they could work as fruit pickers
and give the income to her, which Betty ’s
lawyer denied in court.
She didn’t attempt to entice the
remaining four children — all younger —
who were in foster care.
The Department of Family and
Community Ser vices (FACS) first received
a harm report about the Colt family in
2010, about a year after they moved to a
rural property near Yass.
When welfare officers and police raided
the farm in 2012, they found a collection
of decrepit caravans and tents next to a
They found cigarette butts across the
caravan floor, rotten vegetables in the fridge
and a young kangaroo sleeping in one of
the children’s beds.
Martha, Colt’s sister, reportedly slept in a
tent with their brother, Charlie.
Martha’s child later told a caseworker she
saw the adult siblings having sex.
There were no toilets, showers or baths.
Many children did not know what toilet
Others had never heard of a supermarket,
ate with their fingers and did not know
how to brush their teeth.
Fifteen-year-old Bobby had the
“operating level” of a kindergarten student.
In phone conversations between Colt and
Bobby heard by police, Colt gave her take
on claims she did not provide for her son.
“They think I didn’t educate you enough
and I couldn’t afford the dentist,” she told
“But that ’s only minor.”
Twelve children aged between five and
15, 11 of which genetic testing showed
had parents that were closely related, were
taken from the farm in July 2012.
At court proceedings in the Children’s
Court in 2013, Colt made her case against
the removal of five of her children.
But the court found there was no
“realistic possibility” of the children
returning to her.
“ Without the inter vention of
investigators, the children would have been
taken out of (State) care by Betty Colt
and returned to a life of severe neglect and
abuse,” detective inspector Peter Yeomans
Aside from their waif-like frames, rotting
teeth and speech deficiencies, the Colt
children’s sexualised behaviour hinted at
deep-seeded incest allegedly flourishing on
Rhonda’s daughter Cindy was found
masturbating on the toilet by a care worker
in foster care.
She was five.
Other children confessed to care workers
about having sex with their brothers,
sharing the same dad as their mother and
having an uncle who was also a father.
Most disturbingly, Tammy Colt — Colt’s
27-year-old daughter who police found
living in Victoria — said there were
miscarriages on the farm.
Tammy ’s evidence to the Children’s
Court later attracted the wrath of her
“She’s a stupid bitch ...” Bobby remarked
over the phone in 2013.
The Colt mothers showed a lack of
insight into the inter-generational incest
and sexual abuse, according to a court
judgment released last year.
At one point Raylene called her daughter
a liar for cooking stories about sexual abuse
at the hands of her uncles.
Despite the evidence showing flourishing
incest in the clan, the mothers flatly denied
Colt’s recent conviction is only a fraction
of a much larger child abuse squad probe
which is expected to further lift the lid on
life on the Colt farm. — A AP
4 - Monday, November 10, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to email@example.com
uLetters to the editor
461 - Death of Pope Leo I (the Great), pope
1729 - Portugal loses Mombassa to Muscat
1928 - Hirohito is enthroned as
Emperor of Japan.
1944 - It is disclosed that
Germany is using a new weapon, a
V2 rocket, against England.
1962 - President of Yemen
accuses Britain of plotting to
1963 - Cholera epidemic in India and
Pakistan is reported to have killed more than
1500 people in previous few weeks.
1969 - Children’s educational programme
Sesame Street makes its debut on PBS
television in the United States.
1980 - East German president Erich
Honecker makes his first state visit to a
western country, Austria.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Martin Luther, German-born Protestant
Reformation leader (1483-1546); Francois
Couperin, French composer (1668-1733);
King George II of Britain 1683-1760);
William Hogarth, British artist (1697-
1764); Oliver Goldsmith, Irish
author (1728-1774); Claude Rains,
British-born actor (1889-1967);
Richard Burton, Welsh-born
actor (1925-1984); Sir Tim Rice,
British lyricist (1944-); Greg Lake,
British rock musician (1947-); Jack
Scalia, US actor (1951-); Sinbad, US actor-
comedian (1956-); Brittany Murphy, US
actress (1977-2009); Eve, US rapper (1978-);
Chris Joannou, Australian rock musician with
Silverchair (1979-); Miranda Lambert, US
singer (1983-) .
“A nickname is the heaviest stone that the
devil can throw at a man.” — William Hazlitt,
British essayist (1778-1830).
“ If My people, who are called by My Name,
will humble themselves and pray and seek My
face and turn from their wicked ways, then will
I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin
and will heal their land. ” — 2 Chronicles 7:14
casualty of the
giant Te Rauparaha
exercise was a driver,
suitably enough, belonging to Three Field
Ambulance. His wound, however, was not the
result of “enemy ” action. Driving in convoy
from Christchurch on Saturday, the soldier
complained of stomach pains.
The ambulance unit established its advanced
dressing station in the Lake Haupiri area
where it was found his condition had not
improved. The unit’s commander, Colonel
L L Treadgold, decided to send him at once
to Greymouth Hospital where he was treated
on Saturday night for appendicitis.
The only other casualty so far was a broken
tooth suffered by one of the SAS rangers. This
was extracted by a Greymouth dentist.
Members of the general public do not like
bees, except for what they produce. There is
something disturbing about their buzzing
and darting. Not so for the 30-odd
enthusiasts who turned up for the annual
field day of the West Coast branch of the
National Beekeepers’ Association. They
think that bees are no more dangerous than
blackbirds. It is all a matter of being in the
know when it comes to handling the bee
The day last Saturday attracted visitors
from all parts of the Coast and Canterbury.
The afternoon was mainly devoted to queen
raising and general management of apiaries
for the benefit of amateur beekeepers.
An unusual attraction at next Saturday ’s gala
day sponsored by the Greymouth Lions Club
will be an exhibition of penning sheep given
by a sheep dog and its Greymouth owner
Mr H Dowling, a Kaiata farmer.
uFood for thought
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The small, green plastic soldiers that have
been popular for generations were inducted
into the National Toy Hall of Fame
overnight, along with the 1980s stumper
Rubik’s Cube, and bubbles.
The trio of toys takes its place alongside
other classics including Barbie, G I Joe,
Scrabble and the hula hoop after beating
out nine other finalists including Fisher-
Price Little People, American Girl dolls
and My Little Pony. The unbendable,
monotone army men have been around
since 1938, with ups and downs along the
way. Their popularity waned during the
Vietnam War but they became big-screen
stars with the 1995 Pixar movie Toy Story
and several manufacturers continue to
produce millions of them every year.
The army men were finalists two other
years before making the cut this time
around, offering hope to this year’s also-
rans, which also included Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles, Slip ‘N Slide, the skill game
Operation, paper airplanes, pots and pans,
and the toy trucks sold annually since 1964
by the Hess gas station chain.
The brain-teasing Rubik’s Cube was
invented by Hungarian architect Erno
Rubik in the 1970s, but took off in the
United States in 1980 after being imported
by Ideal Toy Corp.
More than 100 million of the six-color
cubes were sold between 1980 and 1982,
dividing an obsessively twisting populace
between those who could solve it and those
who could not.
The cubes, with nine coloured squares on
each side, can be arranged 43 quintillion
ways, according to the Toy Hall of Fame,
and have inspired organised competitions
in more than 50 countries, along with
contests to solve it blindfolded, one-
handed and under water. Mats Valk of the
Netherlands holds the speed record for
re-aligning the colours in 5.55 seconds.
Plastic soldiers make Toy Hall of Fame
Little green army men, bubbles, Rubik’s
Rubber duck, chess.
Dominoes, Star Wars action figures.
Blanket, doll house, Hot Wheels.
Playing cards, The Game of Life.
Ball, Big Wheel, Nintendo Game Boy.
Baby doll, skateboard, stick.
Atari 2600 game system, kite, Raggedy
Easy-Bake O ven, Lionel trains.
Candy Land, Cardboard box, Jack-in-
G I Joe, rocking horse, Scrabble.
Alphabet blocks, checkers.
Jigsaw puzzle, Raggedy Ann.
Silly Putty, Tonka trucks.
Bicycle, jacks, jump rope, Mr Potato
Duncan yo-yo, hula hoop, Lincoln Logs,
Radio Flyer wagon, roller skates, View-
Barbie, Crayola crayons, erector set,
Etch A Sketch, frisbee, Lego, marbles,
Monopoly, Play-Doh, teddy bear,
US National Toy Hall
of Fame inductees
The green army men toys were added to the US National Toy Hall of Fame this year.
Google guru Amit Singhal
believes the search-engine of the
future will be “a perfect personal
assistant ” — knowing what you
want and when.
Although people can travel to
the moon’s surface without leaving
their armchairs, search-engine
developments so far are just “baby
steps” to “the holy grail of search”,
Singhal said in a rare inter view.
Singhal, 44, has already brought
transformational change to
the internet since taking over
development of Google’s search
engine in 2000, when the web was
still relatively limited and achingly
The “Google fellow ” sees a world
of “knowledge on demand” before
people even know they want it,
as speech recognition, language
understanding, touch technology
and computer advances combine.
The search engine of the future
will be the “perfect personal
assistant giving you benefit of all
technical knowledge, enhancing
your thought processes”, he said.
Singhal dismisses criticism that
having all the information at
people’s fingertips could create lazy
minds, shortening attention spans
and reducing capacity to remember
“People always worry about
change,” he said.
“ We have to teach people to swim
with the flow of technology, not
swim against it,” he said.
“There were worries about the
Gutenberg printing press — that
it would destroy the beauty of
the spoken word — but we’re far
better off with the knowledge it ’s
brought,” he said.
“People worried tv would stop
people reading books but that hasn’t
happened,” he noted.
“The internet has made people
more productive, removing barriers
to getting information.”
Search is at the core of Google,
which fields millions of questions a
day in more than 110 languages.
Singhal’s vision has helped make
it the most visited search engine
globally, as well as one of the
planet ’s most profitable companies.
“These are immensely exciting
times” with search technology
“going through an exponential
period” of change, he said.
On his inspiration and the future
of search engines, Singhal smiles
and says: “Star Trek.”
He watched the popular science-
fiction show obsessively growing
up in India’s Himalayan state of
The series gave him a dream about
a future where a computer like
the one on the starship Enterprise
could provide any information
And life has given Singhal, a
graduate of the prestigious Indian
Institute of Technology and Cornell
University, the chance to help
develop just that kind of technology.
“I imagined a future where a
starship computer would be able to
answer any question I might ask,
“ We’re closer to that dream than I
ever thought possible.” — Reuters
Welcome to Googles future
The incest matriarch
The Moss Vale Local Court in New South Wales. Inset: Betty Colt with her lawyer.
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