On their own - Britain's child migrants

Immigration our only salvation

Lads make good! Serve God – and serve your boss too!

In 1894 the Salvation Army set up its own Emigration Board to arrange large scale emigration from ‘darkest England’ to the colonies. The Army chartered entire ships such as the White Star liner 'SS Vedic' to transport migrants, including unemployed young men and single women, to Canada and Australia in the early 1900s.

booklet with man's photo on the front and text 'Vedic' souvenir

Salvation Army and 'Vedic'

Souvenir booklet issued to Salvation Army migrants on 'SS Vedic' in 1928.

Lent by Salvation Army

Smaller schemes were run during this period by the English philanthropist Thomas Sedgwick and the South Australian Government. Sedgwick led British youths to become farm apprentices in New Zealand and Canada, while the SA Government was keen to recruit 6,000 youths to take the place of men lost during World War I.

Australia for the British Boy

In the 1920s publications such as Australia for the British Boy and the Millions magazine promoted the mutual – and overtly imperialist – benefits of youth migration and population growth. Supporting Barnardo’s and the Big Brother Movement, the Millions Club aimed to fill Australia’s empty spaces with millions of residents.

Reproduced courtesy La Trobe Rare Books Collection of the State Library of Victoria.


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