On their own - Britain's child migrants

Youth migration – demands of the Dominions

group of young men on the dockside by a ship
New Little Brothers are briefed before being transported to the farm 1964. Reproduced courtesy National Archives of Australia.

From the early 1900s the Salvation Army, Dreadnought Trust and Big Brother Movement operated voluntary youth migration schemes that shared similar aims to the child migration schemes – to recruit rural workers and populate the Dominions. Youth migrants, however, being older than 16, usually had more control over their lives.

The Big Brother Movement was the most successful of the schemes because it appointed an Australian ‘Big Brother’ to help the new migrant settle. The first 100 Little Brothers arrived in 1925 but the flow of young men soon ceased because of the Depression and outbreak of World War II. Resuming again in 1947 the Big Brother Movement sponsored over 12,000 youths settling in Australia up until 1982.

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