On their own - Britain's child migrants

Herbert Ernest – proud Fairbridgian

smartly dressed young boy

"I was asked where I’d like to go – Australia or Canada. I didn’t like the cold, so I said Australia because somebody had told me it was hot."


Photograph reproduced courtesy Doris Ernest.

Eight-year-old Herbert Ernest’s fate was sealed after he set fire to the kitchen at home while frying an egg. Herbert was placed with the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society and in 1929 was sent to the Fairbridge Farm School in Pinjarra, Western Australia.

Herbert quickly adapted to the Fairbridge routine which began with a six o’clock wake-up call and a cold shower. He enjoyed dairy and stable training and worked at various farm jobs before joining the RAAF and serving in New Guinea. Herbert learnt a strong work ethic in Australia and believes that Fairbridge made him the man he was.

Herbert was also featured earlier in the exhibition in Meet the children.

Home | Contact Us | © Australian National Maritime Museum and National Museums Liverpool 2010