Child Migration

09 October, 2011

26 young migrants aboard the SS Jervis Bay prior to disembarking on the 6th January 1939. Newspaper cutting from <i>Sun News</i> Pictorial.
26 young migrants aboard the SS Jervis Bay prior to disembarking on the 6th January 1939. Newspaper cutting from Sun News Pictorial.
Source: Arthur Welfare. Reproduced from Sun News Pictorial 6 January 1939.

Question: What information does the Immigration Discovery Centre have about child migration?

Answer: The Immigration Museum and the Immigration Discovery Centre (IDC) have a good range of information and resources on this topic, including On their own: Britain's child migrants, a new travelling exhibition opening next week.

Developed by the Australian National Maritime Museum in conjunction with Liverpool Museums, the exhibition examines the history of British child migration to Australia and other parts of the British Empire.

The exhibition focuses on the period from the 1860s to the 1960s, when over 100 000 children as young as four, who were called 'orphans', 'waifs' and 'strays', were sent by the government, religious orders and charitable societies to live and work in institutions and on farms. Many were forcibly sent, often being told that they were truly orphans or that their parents had abandoned them, although some did choose to come of their own accord.

The experiences of these children were diverse and the exhibition examines a range of stories and case studies of child migration, ranging from the very positive to the truly heartbreaking. To complement the exhibition there is a section called Stolen childhoods, developed by Immigration Museum, that looks at the stories of three child migrants from both Victoria and Tasmania.

The IDC also has a wide range of other resources that can assist you with information on this topic. The IDC library collection has a number of books that discuss British child migration schemes from the 1600s onwards, ranging from general titles about child migration to those on specific programs such as the mid 19th-century Earl Grey Scheme for Irish famine 'orphans' and the Fairbridge scheme of the 20th century. We have also collated online resources from both the Museum Victoria and external websites that discuss the history of child migration, the links to which can be found at right.

There are also two memorials in the centre of Melbourne that commemorate the children who came to Australia on migration schemes, including a wooden love seat in the Immigration Museum's eastern garden and the Victorian Forgotten Australians memorial just over the river at Southbank.  

Comments (1)

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Sebastian De Carss 27 April, 2013 21:20
Good British stock appedix4 1949 to 1974 Springhill school in Ripon Uk. I do have the original photo's of last preparation child migrant camp for 80 British Army orphans and disable children for Australia. My requards. A child migrant slave from 1966 to 1975. Sebastian De Carss. British.
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