Robert John Fardon was born in 1949 in Murwillumbah, a country town in far northeastern New South Wales. His parents separated when he was very young and he was raised by his father who often left him in the care of an aunt and uncle on a farm. Fardon described his father as a chronic alcoholic who was absent for lengthy periods either working as a labourer or serving time in prison. When his father was around, he often brutally punished Fardon. He abused Fardon’s dog and eventually shot it in front of him. He also gave alcohol to Fardon when he was only fi ve or six. At the age of 12, Fardon was expelled from school after punching a teacher. He then worked on the farm or in other labouring jobs.