Cameron Auld tells his surprising story of redemption.
We all find our calling in different ways.
Cameron Auld found his after being shot in the head with a sawn-off Remington .22 while sitting in his lounge room.
The reformed bikie is now a chaplain who works within the Queensland prison system and with the RSPCA.
“I was a member of a motorcycle club, many, many years ago,” he says. “In 1980 I was involved in a war between two motorcycle clubs and I hurt somebody very seriously in a fight and they decided to come back and get even. So they shot me and I ended up in hospital.
“Following that, I thought I had to get out of that and lead a better life. So I became involved with the church and built up the courage to leave the club. I gave my life to the church and have worked for the church ever since.”
The 54-year-old is now a chaplain at Goodna’s St Francis Xavier Parish and at Wacol’s Arthur Gorrie Correction Centre, which led to his work with the RSPCA.
“The RSPCA do supply dogs and cats to the prisons for all the inmates to look after,” he says. “It is seen as a rehabilitation process.
“How I got started was the RSPCA asked one of the chaplains in the jail, a few years ago now, if they’d like to come and bless the animals for Saint Francis of Assisi as he is the patron saint of animals. It just so happened that I was there at the time, this was about five years ago. Ever since then I’ve done it and every year, on October 4, I go to the RSPCA and I bless all the animals.
“I’ve blessed so many different animals. Cats, dogs, birds, lizards, possums and even a hermit crab. I have been asked while in the jail to bless a few of the guys’ pets.”
Auld says people are often surprised when they learn he is a chaplain, but we shouldn’t judge people based on their looks.
“A lot of people judge a book by its cover, as soon as they see me they think the worst thoughts,” he says. “When I tell them I work as a chaplain in the prison system they are surprised. I still have one or two people who have not forgiven me for what my previous life was.
“I believe that society needs to be a little bit less judgmental towards the guys that stuffed up in their lives. I’ve seen people in jail who have done terrible terrible things and I can’t offer any excuses for them. But I have also seen guys who have done nothing wrong their entire lives and in a moment of madness they slipped. Now they’re paying for that maybe the next ten years of their life.
“I sit down and talk to these guys and they’re in their own little sentence in their mind. They’ve lost their families and their friends and their children and they literally have no one.”