Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Remembering Australian Entertainer Smacka Fitzgibbon


Donna Williams aged 8 with GTS convertible

Donna Williams aged 8 with GTS convertible

In 1970, when I was 7 years old, my family had moved from the small rented house into a big two story house in Preston. In went a built in swimming pool, well supplied bar, snooker table, chandeliers, mirror walls, and filled with antiques and racks of guns displayed openly on the walls. There was a revolver in the drawer of the front dresser just inside the front door.

My father was a car dealer, second hand cars. He also moved amidst criminals (convicted and unconvicted), the swells of the entertainment industry and ultimately cops who became ‘friends of the family’. His car yard life was filled with compulsive womanising and this extended to at least a few teenagers and I can’t be sure he bothered distinguishing between who was 18, who was 16 and who was 14. His back rooms were filled with porn, guns, stolen goods. He was a fence. So most of this was ‘dirty money’. And it came with parties, raging wild, weekly parties for his associates and those he schmoozed with.

The parties were full of alcohol but it was not uncommon for joints to be passed about and it probably didn’t stop there. It was usual to see my father literally dance on the snooker table, see people strip off and skinny dip in the pool, move amidst people having sex in the vast garden behind the high wrought iron gates, their rolled barbed wire over the top, the high brick fence out the front. Even the neighbors drew the blinds on our property and when the guns went off in domestic violence at and after the parties it was so terribly hard to get police to the property and even when they did come, strings were quickly pulled to replace them with cops who would take care of it as they were ‘friends of the family’.

In my 30s my older brother, Shane, was talking to me about the parties at our house in the 1970s. He said, ‘we had some pretty famous people come to those parties’. I knew about entrepreneur and TV celebrity Kevin Dennis (Dennis Gowing) because I’d been taken to his car yard since I was at least 3 years old and then you see the same person on the TV (Kevin Dennis’ New Faces) and that’s not a hard one to forget. My father took the trade ins off Kevin Dennis since the early 60s and by the 70s they were still very close colleagues.

We had other celebrities of the era visit the parties, including Smacka Fitzgibbon, a close friend of Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna Everage), who came to one of the parties in 1972. Smacka, too, was not one who was easy to forget. He was a chubby faced man who took over the kitchen one night during a party to cook fish. He played the banjo, sang and cooked a fish with me in the kitchen and it was the first time I tried fish. Smacka seemed a nice enough bloke. Never laid a hand on me and the fish was nice. ‘You know Barry Humphries was at our place, for the parties’, said my older brother.

Then he told me what he remembered, that Barry Humphries had been caught coming out of my attic bedroom and had then been taken out into the back garden by my father and other male partygoers that night and punched up out there. I can remember I was wearing long flannel PJs, so it was probably Autumn, that I was in grade 3, so likely now 8 years old. So whilst it was some time between 1971-1972, it could have been in the Autumn of 1972. As a functionally non-verbal autistic 8 year old, I didn’t understand grooming and after giggling, scampering and jumping on my bed didn’t work. I remember being groped and molested, I’d begun to flail and bite. Things escalated. The rest is is fragments, full of panic and fear with my face shoved into the mattress still trying to fight and keep my PJ bottoms on. Then I only remember being wild and traumatised in the corner staring at the doorway as if I was frozen but electric. That was how it was from my side. It was only in treatment for PTSD and DID in 2011 that I talked about it with anyone.

Pedophiles project seduction onto the children they abuse to try and justify or water down responsibility for their own actions. They often claim they were seduced by the children they abused. But nobody could claim I seduced the pedophile who abused me.

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.