The three children were 5 1/2, 5 1/2 and 2 2/3 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in the United States all of their lives. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody. On 8 February 1993 the mother took the children to Australia, her State of origin, to visit her family. The father did not accompany them, although he advised the mother that if she found employment for him in Perth he would move to Australia.
On 20 February 1993 the father informed the mother via telephone that he would not come to Australia and that he had never in fact intended to travel there. The mother decided to remain in Australia with the children.
In August, October and December 1993 the father and his parents sent the children’s possessions to Australia. When the father became aware of his rights under the Hague Convention he instructed the Australian Central Authority to institute return proceedings.
On 18 January 1994 the Family Court of Australia ordered the return of the children. The mother appealed.