Personal Stories

During the 19th and 20th centuries, child migration was used to promote imperial, economic, racial, social and religious goals. The people behind these agendas often ignored the fact that at the heart of all these plans were young children.

The children were separated from their families, often told lies about their parents and deported from their countries of birth. Governments in Britain and Australia failed to protect them. They were often the victims of criminal neglect and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. They were deprived of love and the stability of a caring home. Even allowing for the harsh conditions of their former lives, and the general disregard for children's welfare at the time, this treatment was inexcusable.

Some children managed to create fulfilling lives for themselves, but many more have had a lifetime of physical and emotional trauma. Their families in Britain have also suffered greatly. Apologies from the Australian and British governments in 2009 and 2010 and funds to assist family reunion have helped redress the injustices of the past, but for many it has been too late.

Here are the stories of three child migrants: Hugh McGowan, Sandra Anker and Michael Harvey.

 

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