Child Migration Timeline

1618

First group of 100 London street children sent to Virginia

1618

First group of 100 London street children sent to Virginia

The London Common Council sends a group of 100 vagrant street children from London to Jamestown, Virginia - the first permanent English settlement on the North American coast. Two additional groups of 100 children are sent in 1620 and 1622; the latter as reinforcements following the Indian massacre of 350 settlers in Virginia.
Letter from King James I to Sir Thomas Smyth relating to the transportation of children to Virginia 13 January 1618.
Reproduced courtesy London Metropolitan Archives.
Transcript of Letter from King James I to Sir Thomas Smyth relating to the transportation of children to Virginia 13 January 1618.
Reproduced courtesy London Metropolitan Archives.

1645

200 poor children spirited to North American colonies

1645

200 poor children spirited to North American colonies

The Corporation for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England emigrates 200 poor children to the North American colonies to meet the labour shortage. 'Spiriting' (or kidnapping) children for work continues into the next century, despite the creation of offices in 1664 and 1682 to register intended emigrants and young people leaving British ports for the colonies.
A mapp of Virginia discovered to ye hills, and in it's latt from 35 deg & 1/2 neer Florida to 41 deg bounds of New England.
John Farrer about 1667. Reproduced courtesy Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

1666

Great Fire of London

1666

Great Fire of London

1718

Criminals sent to North America under British Transportation Act

1718

Criminals sent to North America under British Transportation Act

1740s

500 Scottish children kidnapped for colonies

1740s

500 Scottish children kidnapped for colonies

Some 500 Scottish children are kidnapped for the colonies, among whom was Peter Williamson ('Indian Peter'). In 1757 Williamson's book French and Indian Cruelty Exemplified in the Life and Various Vicissitudes of Fortune of Peter Williamson exposes the kidnapping of Scottish children for the Americas, and leads to civil action against the Aberdeen businessmen and magistrates involved in the traffic.
Peter Williamson.
Reproduced courtesy Dianne Sutherland. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

1763

Britain acquires French colonies east of the Mississippi River

1763

Britain acquires French colonies east of the Mississippi River

1775

American War of Independence 1775-1783

1775

American War of Independence 1775-1783

1788

Penal colony established at Sydney Cove, Australia by First Fleet

1788

Penal colony established at Sydney Cove, Australia by First Fleet

1789

French Revolutionary wars 1789-1815

1789

French Revolutionary wars 1789-1815

1801

United Kingdom formed by union of Great Britain and Ireland

1801

United Kingdom formed by union of Great Britain and Ireland

1812

War of 1812 between Britain and United States ends 1815

1812

War of 1812 between Britain and United States ends 1815

1830

Captain Edward Brenton establishes Children's Friend Society

1830

Captain Edward Brenton establishes Children's Friend Society

Captain Edward Pelham Brenton establishes the Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy (later known as the Children's Friend Society) in London for the reformation and emigration of outcast youth. During the 1830s the Society dispatches some 700-800 boys to the Cape Colony and Toronto, Ontario.
Captain Edward Pelham Brenton 1837.
Reproduced courtesy National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

1833

Slavery abolished throughout British Empire

1833

Slavery abolished throughout British Empire

1834

New Poor Law reforms Britain's social welfare system

1834

New Poor Law reforms Britain's social welfare system

1837

Queen Victoria ascends the British throne

1837

Queen Victoria ascends the British throne

1838

Parkhurst Prison established on Isle of Wight

1838

Parkhurst Prison established on Isle of Wight

Parkhurst Prison is established on the Isle of Wight to house convicted boys under 16, before their possible emigration to the colonies. Some Parkhurst boys are sent to Fremantle, Western Australia and Auckland, New Zealand.
Parkhurst Prison for juvenile offenders, Isle of Wight 1843-1864.
Reproduced courtesy Isle of Wight County Record Office.

1844

Ragged Schools Union established

1844

Ragged Schools Union established

The Ragged Schools Union is established with the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury as president. Named for the ragged appearance of their students, the schools provide poor children with a free basic education. In 1849 the Ragged Schools receive a grant of 1500 to send 150 children to New South Wales.
Lambeth Ragged School, London 1851.
Reproduced courtesy City of London/HIP/Topfoto.

1845

Irish potato famine begins

1845

Irish potato famine begins

1850

Poor Law Guardians send children to colonies

1850

Poor Law Guardians send children to colonies

The Poor Law Amendment Act allows Poor Law Guardians to fund the emigration of any child under 16 in their care with the consent of the Poor Law Board. From 1849 to 1851 the St Pancras Poor Law Guardians send out small numbers of children to the West Indies colonies.
Correspondence between the Board of Guardians of St Pancras and the Poor-Law Board, relative to the emigration of children to the Bermudas.
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1851. Reproduced courtesy the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament and ProQuest.

1853

Infant vaccination made compulsory in UK

1853

Infant vaccination made compulsory in UK

1853

Reverend Charles Brace establishes Children's Aid Society

1853

Reverend Charles Brace establishes Children's Aid Society

New York Methodist minister Reverend Charles Loring Brace establishes the Children's Aid Society and pioneers an internal migration scheme to provide orphans with a better future away from overcrowded cities. Between 1854 and 1929 more than 150,000 children are sent on the 'orphan trains' from New York institutions to farming families in Iowa, Michigan, Kansas and Ohio.
Children at a railroad station 1910-1915.
Reproduced courtesy National Orphan Train Complex Archives.

1861

American Civil War 1861-1865

1861

American Civil War 1861-1865

1866

Cholera kills thousands in London during the summer of 1866

1866

Cholera kills thousands in London during the summer of 1866

1867

Dominion of Canada formed by union of former British colonies

1867

Dominion of Canada formed by union of former British colonies

1867

Thomas Barnardo sets up ragged school in London

1867

Thomas Barnardo sets up ragged school in London

Irishman Thomas Barnardo, who moved to London in 1866 to train as a doctor, sets up a ragged school in the city's East End. One evening, student Jim Jarvis takes Barnardo around the area, showing him children sleeping on roofs and in gutters. Deeply affected Barnardo decides to devote himself to helping destitute children.
Dr Thomas John Barnardo 1870s.
Reproduced courtesy Barnardo's/Topfoto.
Jim Jarvis shows Dr Barnardo the waifs on the London streets.
Reproduced courtesy Topfoto.

1868

Last British convicts arrive in Western Australia

1868

Last British convicts arrive in Western Australia

1869

Suez Canal opens

1869

Suez Canal opens

1869

Maria Rye escorts first party of children to Canada

1869

Maria Rye escorts first party of children to Canada

English social reformer Maria Rye founded the Female Middle Class Emigration Society in 1861 to transport young women to New Zealand, Australia and Canada. In 1869 she turns her attention to rescuing workhouse and orphan children and sending them to Canada. She escorts her first party of 76 children to her distributing home, 'Our Western Home', at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
First group of children at 'Our Western Home' 1869.
Reproduced courtesy Niagara Historical Society & Museum.
Maria Rye.
Reproduced courtesy Niagara Historical Society & Museum.
Sunday morning at Miss Rye's Western Home - setting out for church.
Reproduced courtesy Niagara Historical Society & Museum.
'Our Western Home', Miss Rye's distributing home for immigrant children.
Canadian Illustrated News Vol XX No 23 6 December 1879. Reproduced courtesy Library and Archives Canada.

1870

Annie Macpherson escorts 100 children to Ontario

1870

Annie Macpherson escorts 100 children to Ontario

Scottish-born evangelist Annie Macpherson escorts her first party of 100 children to her receiving home 'Marchmont' in Belleville, Ontario. Methodist minister Thomas Bowman Stephenson begins his rescue work in London. Father Nugent of Liverpool, through his Nugent Society Care Homes, pioneers Catholic child migration to Canada by accompanying a small party of 24 children across the Atlantic.
Boys from Annie Macpherson's home 'Marchmont', Belleville 1922.
Reproduced courtesy Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau/Library and Archives Canada/C-034837.
Miss Macpherson's receiving home 'Marchmont' 1873.
Reproduced courtesy D & Lake Ltd/Library and Archives Canada/PA-207772.
Father James Nugent.
Reproduced courtesy National Museums Liverpool.

1870

Thomas Barnardo opens first home for boys in London

1870

Thomas Barnardo opens first home for boys in London

Thomas Barnardo opens his first London home for boys at 18-26 Stepney Causeway. One evening he turns away 11-year-old John Somers (nicknamed Carrots) because the shelter is full. Two days later the boy is found dead from hunger and exposure. From this point on the home bears the sign 'No destitute child ever refused admission'.
Tinsmiths workshop at Stepney Causeway about 1895.
Reproduced courtesy Barnardo's/Topfoto.
Stepney Causeway about 1910.
Reproduced courtesy Barnardo's/Topfoto.

1870

Boys and Girls Welfare Society established in Manchester

1870

Boys and Girls Welfare Society established in Manchester

The Boys and Girls Welfare Society (previously the Manchester and Salford Boys and Girls Refuges) is established by Leonard Shaw and Richard Taylor. It takes part in child migration schemes primarily to Canada, and then through the Child Emigration Society from about 1918.
Leonard Kilbee Shaw.
Reproduced courtesy Together Trust.
Richard Branwell Taylor.
Reproduced courtesy Together Trust.
Group of Manchester Refuges girls before sailing to Canada 1898.
Reproduced courtesy Together Trust.
Group of Manchester Refuges boys before sailing to Canada about 1900.
Reproduced courtesy Together Trust.

1872

Annie Macpherson opens new Canadian receiving homes

1872

Annie Macpherson opens new Canadian receiving homes

Annie Macpherson opens two further receiving homes at Galt, Ontario and Knowlton, Quebec, operated by her sister Louisa Birt. Macpherson coordinates emigration parties from Barnardo's, Orphan Homes of Scotland, Smyly Homes of Dublin and her London Home of Industry. James Fegan establishes his first home in Deptford, London, and later sends more than 3,000 boys to Brandon and Toronto in Canada.
Group of immigrant boys en route to a home at Stratford, Ontario 1908.
Reproduced courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-020909.
James Fegan.
Reproduced courtesy Fegans Child and Family Care.
Fegans boys attend a service on deck en route to Canada.
Reproduced courtesy Fegans Child and Family Care.

1873

National Children's Homes and Orphanage starts emigration scheme

1873

National Children's Homes and Orphanage starts emigration scheme

The National Children's Homes and Orphanage, founded in 1869 by Thomas Bowman Stephenson, Francis Horner and Alfred Mager, sends children to Canada from 1873 to 1931. It sent children to Australia as part of the Fairbridge scheme from 1937-1939 and directly from 1950-1954. Also in 1873, Louisa Birt begins sending children from the newly-opened Liverpool Sheltering Home to Nova Scotia, Canada.
First party of emigrants to Canada with Francis Horner 1873.
Reproduced courtesy Action for Children.
Staff and children in front of Hamilton Home in Ontario 1870s.
Reproduced courtesy Action for Children.
National Children's Homes party to Canada by Cunard liner Antonia 1926.
Reproduced courtesy Action for Children.

1875

Andrew Doyle reports unfavourably on child migration to Canada

1875

Andrew Doyle reports unfavourably on child migration to Canada

Following his visit to Canada in 1874 Senior Poor Law Board inspector Andrew Doyle releases an unflattering report on child migration. Doyle is particularly critical of Maria Rye, accused of poor recordkeeping and insufficient supervision of children. Rye is investigated by the Canadian Government and, in 1895, hands over her work to the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society.
Our 'gutter children'.
George Cruikshank 1869. Reproduced courtesy V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Transcript of Our 'gutter children'.
George Cruikshank 1869. Reproduced courtesy V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Some of Miss Rye's emigrant girls.
Canadian Illustrated News Vol XI No 18 1 May 1875. Reproduced courtesy Library and Archives Canada.

1880

Education becomes compulsory in UK for children under 10

1880

Education becomes compulsory in UK for children under 10

1882

First party of Barnardo's children sent to Canada

1882

First party of Barnardo's children sent to Canada

Thomas Barnardo's emphasis on education and training leads him to search for new opportunities in the colonies. In 1882 the first 51 boys from Stepney Causeway migrates to Canada on SS Parisian. In 1883 Barnardo establishes his first Canadian distributing home at Hazelbrae, Peterborough, and opens the 200 square mile Industrial Farm for Barnardo Boys in Russell, Manitoba, in 1887.
Staff members sort out trunks for Barnardo girls at Hazelbrae 1911.
Reproduced courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives.
Scenes from Hazelbrae, Peterborough.
Reproduced courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives.
Girls at Margaret Cox Home, Peterborough.
Reproduced courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives.
A boy ploughing at Dr Barnardo's Industrial Farm in Russell, Manitoba about 1900.
Reproduced courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-117285.

1883

Children's Society commences sending children to Canada

1883

Children's Society commences sending children to Canada

The Church of England Children's Society (formerly the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society) sends approximately 3,900 children to Canada, Australia and Southern Rhodesia between 1883 and 1960. The Society maintains six receiving homes in Canada until 1936-37 and uses other agencies to send children to Australia, and later Southern Rhodesia, from 1925.
Queen Mary, patron of the Waifs and Strays Society, on the steps of a nursery home after 1930.
Reproduced courtesy The Children's Society.

1888

William Quarrier establishes 'Fairknowe' receiving home

1888

William Quarrier establishes 'Fairknowe' receiving home

Glasgow shoemaker William Quarrier, founder of the Orphan Homes of Scotland at Bridge of Weir, opens his own Canadian receiving home, 'Fairknowe', at Brockville, Ontario. Quarriers Homes sends more than 7,000 Scottish children to Canada from 1871-1938.
'Fairknowe', Brockville 1894.
Reproduced courtesy Quarriers.
Second party of Quarriers boys 1885.
Reproduced courtesy Quarriers.

1889

UK Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act passed

1889

UK Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act passed

1889

Thomas Barnardo opens distributing home in Toronto

1889

Thomas Barnardo opens distributing home in Toronto

Thomas Barnardo opens an office and distributing home for boys in Toronto, Ontario. In 1891 the British Custody of Children Act ('Barnardo's Act') legalises the work of private emigration societies. Barnardo's Winnipeg receiving and distributing home for boys and girls going west opens in 1896.
British immigrant children from Dr Barnardo's Homes at landing stage, Saint John, New Brunswick.
Reproduced courtesy Isaac Erb/Library and Archives Canada/PA-041785.

1894

Salvation Army sets up colonial Emigration Board

1894

Salvation Army sets up colonial Emigration Board

The Salvation Army, founded by former Methodist minister William Booth in 1865, sets up its own Emigration Board to arrange large scale emigration to the colonies. The Army assists migrants, particularly children, to Canada until World War I. After the war the Army sends migrants to Australia, including youths to be trained at its Riverview farm in Queensland.
Collage of images from the Salvation Army training farm for youths, Riverview about 1935.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Queensland.

1899

Catholic child migration centralised through Crusade of Rescue

1899

Catholic child migration centralised through Crusade of Rescue

British Catholic child migration is centralised through the 'Crusade of Rescue', led by Father George Hudson in Birmingham, and Father Richard Seddon and Reverend Archibald Douglas in London.
Father George Hudson.
Reproduced courtesy Father Hudson's Society.
Immigrant boys for the St George's Home, Hintonburg 1908.
Reproduced courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-020907.

1901

Commonwealth of Australia formed through federation of states. Immigration Restriction Act introduces a White Australia policy

1901

Commonwealth of Australia formed through federation of states. Immigration Restriction Act introduces a White Australia policy

1906

Ellinor Close establishes training farm in New Brunswick

1906

Ellinor Close establishes training farm in New Brunswick

Englishwoman Ellinor Close establishes the Ellinor Close Farm Home in Nauwigewauk, New Brunswick, to train workhouse children before their placement with Canadian farmers. The scheme ends with the outbreak of World War I.
Young boys farming on the Ellinor Close Farm Home 1910.
Reproduced courtesy Vintage Photo and Frame Limited.

1909

Kingsley Fairbridge establishes Child Emigration Society

1909

Kingsley Fairbridge establishes Child Emigration Society

South African-born Kingsley Fairbridge is at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. Following a successful address at the Colonial Club he founds the Society for the Furtherance of Child Emigration to the Colonies. He plans to send orphan children to Canada and Australia to undertake agricultural training in farm schools and populate the rural expanses of the British Empire.
Evan Tulloch and Kingsley Fairbridge, London.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library BA 617/3.
Young Kingsley Fairbridge (left) with parents at Fairbridge home Umtali, Southern Rhodesia 1897.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library BA 617/9.

1910

Thomas Sedgwick leads British youths to New Zealand and Canada

1910

Thomas Sedgwick leads British youths to New Zealand and Canada

English philanthropist Thomas Sedgwick leads 50 British youths to become farm apprentices in New Zealand. He takes a second party to Ontario, Canada, in 1912. Sedgwick later helps to recruit boys for the Dreadnought Scheme and works as a welfare officer on Australian-bound ships through the 1920s, accompanying the first party of Little Brothers to Melbourne in 1925.
Emigrants to Ontario 1912.
Reproduced courtesy Cambridge University Library.

1911

First Dreadnought Boys arrive in Australia

1911

First Dreadnought Boys arrive in Australia

The Australian Dreadnought Scheme is established to support youth migration. The first party of Dreadnought Boys arrives in April to be trained in farming techniques at the Government Agricultural Training Farm at Scheyville near Windsor, New South Wales.
Farm workers being taught how to milk at Scheyville Training Farm 1926.
Reproduced courtesy State Records NSW.
Scheyville Training Farm.
B Wiltshire 1926. Reproduced courtesy State Records NSW.

1912

RMS Titanic sinks on its maiden voyage

1912

RMS Titanic sinks on its maiden voyage

1912

Kingsley Fairbridge establishes first farm school in Australia

1912

Kingsley Fairbridge establishes first farm school in Australia

Kingsley Fairbridge and his wife Ruby arrive in Australia to establish the first Fairbridge Farm School on 160 acres south of Pinjarra in Western Australia. In January 1913 the first 13 boys arrive and face a desperate struggle for survival when World War I separates Fairbridge from his Oxford supporters.
Opening of Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra 1913.
Reproduced courtesy Old Fairbridgians Association.
Kingsley Fairbridge with his children Barbara, Elizabeth and Rhodes.
Reproduced courtesy Old Fairbridgians Association.

1914

World War I 1914-1918

1914

World War I 1914-1918

1914

World War I halts child migration to Canada and Australia

1914

World War I halts child migration to Canada and Australia

World War I halts the expansion of Fairbridge Pinjarra and the Dreadnought Scheme and curtails emigration from Britain. In 1920 British care societies recommence sending children to Canada - but on a much smaller scale.
'Immigration policy change decided upon: boys and girls wanted'.
The Argus 5 February 1915. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia.
Transcript of 'Immigration policy change decided upon: boys and girls wanted'.
The Argus 5 February 1915. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia.

1921

First official Barnardo's party arrives in Australia

1921

First official Barnardo's party arrives in Australia

The first official party of 47 Barnardo's boys arrives in Australia on SS Berrima. In 1923 the first party of 32 Barnardo's girls arrives on SS Euripides - having taken tea with Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace before their departure. The British Government's Empire Settlement Act of 1922 provides for assisted emigration to the dominions, including child and youth migration.
'Barnardo girl immigrants arriving on Friday'.
The Sydney Morning Herald 9 May 1923. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia.
The Southern Cross: the call of the stars to British men and women 1928.
Reproduced courtesy National Archives of Australia: A434, 1949/3/21685.

1922

Barwell farm apprentice scheme revived in South Australia

1922

Barwell farm apprentice scheme revived in South Australia

South Australian Premier Sir Henry Barwell revives the state's 1913 farm apprenticeship scheme to bring 6,000 youths to fill the places of men lost during World War I. Known as 'Barwell Boys' they are apprenticed to the government for three years. The scheme is temporarily halted in 1924 before a modified scheme with relaxed conditions operates from 1927 to 1928.
Group of Barwell Boys at Keswick Barracks, Adelaide 1922.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of South Australia: B 54370.
Sir Henry Barwell, Premier of South Australia 1922.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of South Australia: PRG 280/1/23/312.

1924

Sir Richard Linton establishes Big Brother Movement

1924

Sir Richard Linton establishes Big Brother Movement

New Zealand-born businessman Sir Richard Linton establishes the Big Brother Movement in Sydney to promote the migration of British youths to Australia. Some 100 youths arrive by the end of 1925 to be trained and placed in rural employment under the guidance of an Australian 'Big Brother'.
'Luncheon to Big and Little Brothers'.
The Argus 12 December 1925. Reproduced courtesy Newspapers Collection, State Library of Victoria.
Transcript of 'Luncheon to Big and Little Brothers'.
The Argus 12 December 1925. Reproduced courtesy Newspapers Collection, State Library of Victoria.

1925

Canadian Government bans entry of unaccompanied children under 14

1925

Canadian Government bans entry of unaccompanied children under 14

The Canadian Government bans children under 14 without parents from entering Canada for three years; this is made permanent in 1928. Middlemore Homes in Birmingham form an association with Fairbridge and begin sending children to Pinjarra following the restrictions. Annie Macpherson's Marchmont home is amalgamated with Barnardo's.
British Oversea Settlement Delegation to Canada.
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1924. Reproduced courtesy the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament and ProQuest.

1925

Salvation Army charters SS Vedic to bring migrants to Australia

1925

Salvation Army charters SS Vedic to bring migrants to Australia

The Salvation Army charters the White Star liner SS Vedic to bring youth migrants (as well as adults and families) to Australia in 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1929. Girls are taken to Brightview Lodge in Western Australia while boys are trained at the Army's Riverview farm in Brisbane.
SS Vedic postcard.
Reproduced courtesy Salvation Army.
Salvation Army band playing on wharf as SS Vedic prepares to disembark emigrants at Fremantle, Western Australia 1927.
Reproduced courtesy Salvation Army.
Young women being welcomed at Brightview Lodge, Perth 1928.
Reproduced courtesy Salvation Army.

1927

Christian Brothers establish Tardun farm school in Western Australia

1927

Christian Brothers establish Tardun farm school in Western Australia

St Mary's farm school is founded at Tardun, east of Geraldton, for older boys from the Christian Brothers' Clontarf Orphanage in Perth. During the 1920s the Christian Brothers formulate plans to sponsor Catholic child migrants from Britain and Ireland to Australia to maintain Catholic numbers against the Protestants. St Vincent's Castledare Junior Orphanage opens in 1929.
Opening of Castledare 1929.
Reproduced courtesy Christian Brothers.

1929

Wall Street crash marks the beginning of the Great Depression

1929

Wall Street crash marks the beginning of the Great Depression

1929

Barnardo's Mowbray Park farm school opens

1929

Barnardo's Mowbray Park farm school opens

Barnardo's Mowbray Park farm school opens near Picton, south of Sydney, to train boys as farm labourers. Girls are taken to the Barnardo's home in the Sydney suburb of Burwood for domestic training. Later on boys and girls are trained at the same Sydney home, 'Greenwood', at Normanhurst.
'Barnardo farm training home opened by the Governor at Mowbray Park, Picton'.
The Sydney Morning Herald 16 November 1929. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia.

1930

Great Depression ends child migration to Canada

1930

Great Depression ends child migration to Canada

The Great Depression ends child migration to Canada (except to the later Fairbridge Farm School in British Columbia) and curtails immigration to Australia.
'Dominion migration not being encouraged: result of Depression'.
The Argus 19 November 1931. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia.
Transcript of 'Dominion migration not being encouraged: result of Depression'.
The Argus 19 November 1931. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia.

1931

UK Statute of Westminster grants autonomy to British Dominions

1931

UK Statute of Westminster grants autonomy to British Dominions

1932

Australia's Sydney Harbour Bridge opens

1932

Australia's Sydney Harbour Bridge opens

1935

Fairbridge Farm School established in Canada

1935

Fairbridge Farm School established in Canada

The Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School is established in Canada on 1,000 acres at Cowichan Station near Duncan on Vancouver Island. Fairbridge children are housed in a cottage setting - unlike their earlier counterparts who were sent to isolated farm properties across Canada.
Group of girls outside the Fairbridge Farm School, Duncan 1930s.
Reproduced courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives I-68569.

1937

Two new Fairbridge schools open in Australia

1937

Two new Fairbridge schools open in Australia

The second Australian Fairbridge Farm School is established at Molong near Orange in New South Wales. The Lady Northcote Farm School is established on Fairbridge principles at Bacchus Marsh near Melbourne, Victoria. The British 1922 Empire Settlement Act is renewed for a further 15 years.
Fairbridge Village from Ilkley Moor paddock.
Reproduced courtesy Molong Historical Society.
Boys forking hay into a cart at Northcote Farm School, Glenmore 1937.
Reproduced courtesy Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria.

1938

First Catholic child migrants arrive in Western Australia

1938

First Catholic child migrants arrive in Western Australia

Christian Brother Alphonsus Conlon spends six months in the UK recruiting Catholic child migrants for Australia. Three parties totalling 114 boys arrive in Western Australia, principally at Tardun, in 1938-1939.
Tardun migrant boys 1938.
Reproduced courtesy Christian Brothers.

1939

Quarriers children sent to Burnside Homes

1939

Quarriers children sent to Burnside Homes

Seventeen children from Quarriers Homes in Scotland arrive in Australia and are divided between seven Burnside Homes before child migration is suspended during World War II.
Scottish children on the steps of Blackwood home, Burnside Presbyterian Orphan Homes 1939.
Reproduced courtesy UnitingCare Burnside.
Children from Quarriers Homes on the deck of SS Jervis Bay 1939.
Reproduced courtesy UnitingCare Burnside.

1939

World War II 1939-1945

1939

World War II 1939-1945

1940

CORB evacuates British children to safety in the Dominions

1940

CORB evacuates British children to safety in the Dominions

The Children's Overseas Reception Board is established in Britain to evacuate 2,664 unaccompanied children to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. A further 24,000 children are approved to sail when SS City of Benares is torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic en route to Canada. With 77 children amongst the 134 passengers killed the scheme is declared too risky and abandoned.
English evacuees arrive in Sydney aboard SS Nestor 1940.
Reproduced courtesy Fairfax Photos.

1945

Australian Government announces plan to accept 50,000 war orphans

1945

Australian Government announces plan to accept 50,000 war orphans

The Australian Government plans to accept 50,000 war orphans during the first three years of peace - in response to continued fears of a Japanese invasion. The Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act of 1946 places legal guardianship of child migrants with the Minister for Immigration, who can in turn delegate guardianship powers to State welfare authorities and voluntary organisations.
'Migration agreement with Britain'.
The Argus 3 August 1945. Reproduced courtesy Newspapers Collection, State Library of Victoria.
Transcript of 'Migration agreement with Britain'.
The Argus 3 August 1945. Reproduced courtesy Newspapers Collection, State Library of Victoria.

1946

Curtis Committee report heralds new direction in British childcare

1946

Curtis Committee report heralds new direction in British childcare

The report of the Care of Children Committee (Curtis Committee) heralds a new direction in British childcare, emphasising physical and psychological needs and the importance of the family unit. With fewer children available for migration, youth migration becomes more popular, although the Dreadnought Scheme does not survive the war.
Report of the Care of Children Committee.
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1946. Reproduced courtesy the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament and ProQuest.

1946

Fairbridge Memorial College established in Southern Rhodesia

1946

Fairbridge Memorial College established in Southern Rhodesia

The Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial College is established at a disused airbase near Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. Some 276 British children are sent to the College between 1946 and 1956, most with the consent of their parents.
First 20 boys leave Britain for a new and better life in Southern Rhodesia 1946.
Reproduced courtesy Topfoto.

1947

First post-war child migrants arrive in Australia

1947

First post-war child migrants arrive in Australia

The first post-war child migrants arrive in Australia; more than half are sent to Christian Brothers institutions in Western Australia, including the notorious St Joseph's Bindoon north of Perth. A number of Catholic women's orders - notably the Sisters of Mercy and Poor Sisters of Nazareth - enter the field of child migration.
First group of post-war child migrants from Asturias arrive in Fremantle 1947.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library 816B/C1253.
Construction of administration building, Bindoon 1952.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library 010817D.
Nazareth House on the Chapman River, Geraldton 1946.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library 007927D.

1947

Big Brother Movement resumes youth migration

1947

Big Brother Movement resumes youth migration

The Big Brother Movement resumes youth migration to Australia, bringing some 400 youths per year during the 1950s. The Movement purchases a 600 acre property known as Karmsley Hills at Bossley Park in Sydney and establishes a training farm dedicated to Little Brothers lost during the war.
Big Brother Movement War Memorial Training Farm 1964.
Reproduced courtesy National Archives of Australia: A12111, 1/1964/8/2.

1948

Children Act places duty of children's care on local authorities

1948

Children Act places duty of children's care on local authorities

The 1946 Curtis Report leads to the passing of the UK Children Act, both of which have their origins in a 1944 letter to The Times by child welfare advocate Lady Allen of Hurtwood. The Act places the duty of caring for homeless and needy children on local authorities, who can arrange for the emigration of children in their care.
Letter from Lady Allen to the editor of The Times 15 July 1944.
Memoirs of an Uneducated Lady: Lady Allen of Hurtwood. Marjory Allen and Mary Nicholson 1975.

1949

New Zealand introduces child migration scheme

1949

New Zealand introduces child migration scheme

New Zealand introduces a child migration scheme under the Child Welfare Act of 1948 and receives some 500 children between 1949 and 1954. Child migrants to New Zealand are fostered rather than placed in institutions.
Child migrants sailing to New Zealand on SS Rangitoto 1951.
Reproduced courtesy Tony Chambers.

1950

First Maltese child migrants arrive in Australia

1950

First Maltese child migrants arrive in Australia

The first Maltese child migrants arrive in Australia and are placed in Christian Brothers institutions in Western Australia. Some 310 Maltese children arrive in Australia between 1950 and 1965.
Maltese children at Bindoon Boys' Town 1952.
Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library 005086D.

1952

John Moss tours Australian childcare institutions for Home Office

1952

John Moss tours Australian childcare institutions for Home Office

John Moss, retired Home Office inspector and member of the Curtis Committee, tours Australian childcare institutions at the request of the British Home Office. The 1953 Moss Report is sympathetic to child migration as a welfare strategy for deprived British children.
Child Migration to Australia.
John Moss 1953. Reproduced courtesy Department of Immigration and Citizenship Library.
Child Migration to Australia.
John Moss 1953. Reproduced courtesy Department of Immigration and Citizenship Library.

1953

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

1953

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

1956

Ross Committee criticises institutional care in Australia

1956

Ross Committee criticises institutional care in Australia

The UK Home Office Fact-Finding Committee visits Australian child migrant institutions ahead of the planned renewal of the Empire Settlement Act. Its secret report to the Home Office criticises the nature of institutional care and the very idea of child migration, singling out five institutions for special condemnation. Catholic institutions terminate all plans for further child migration to Australia.
Child Migration to Australia: Report of a Fact-Finding Mission.
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1956. Reproduced courtesy the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament and ProQuest.

1957

Fairbridge Society introduces One Parent Scheme

1957

Fairbridge Society introduces One Parent Scheme

The Empire Settlement Act is renewed by the British Parliament but few child migrants arrive in Australia. The Fairbridge Society establishes Tresca House at Exeter in Tasmania and introduces the One Parent Scheme to accept child migrants and assist single parents to migrate to Australia. In 1960 this is supplemented by the Two Parent Scheme, where both parents can accompany child migrants.
Tresca near Launceston, Tasmania 1958.
Reproduced courtesy National Archives of Australia: A12111, 1/1958/8/3.
The Taylor family arrive in Sydney under the Two Parent Scheme 1960.
Reproduced courtesy National Archives of Australia: A12111, 1/1960/8/5.

1967

Last official party of child migrants arrive in Australia

1967

Last official party of child migrants arrive in Australia

The last official party of nine child migrants travels to Australia by air with Barnardo's. The Christian Brothers institutions Bindoon and Tardun are converted into agricultural colleges.
Seeing off the first Barnardo's party by air 1965.
Reproduced courtesy Barnardo's.

1973

End of White Australia policy

1973

End of White Australia policy

1974-1983

Fairbridge, Clontarf, Castledare close; Big Brother Movement ceases youth migration

1974-1983

Fairbridge, Clontarf, Castledare close; Big Brother Movement ceases youth migration

In Australia Fairbridge Molong closes in 1974 and Fairbridge Pinjarra in 1981. In 1983 the Christian Brothers institutions Clontarf and Castledare close and the Big Brother Movement ceases to sponsor youth migrants. Fairbridge Village in Pinjarra is redeveloped as a place for youth development, sporting and cultural activities, and affordable family accommodation.
'Fairbridge farm school has it all - except British children to fill it'.
The National Times 13-18 May 1974. Reproduced courtesy Fairfax Photos.

1987

Margaret Humphreys establishes Child Migrants Trust

1987

Margaret Humphreys establishes Child Migrants Trust

In the UK Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys establishes the Child Migrants Trust to help reunite former child migrants with their families. The Trust opens offices in Melbourne, Victoria and Perth in Western Australia in the early 1990s. The Trust's advocacy leads to citizenship fees being waived in 1995 for former child migrants seeking Australian citizenship.
Margaret Humphreys.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.

1989

Lost Children of the Empire published

1989

Lost Children of the Empire published

Child Migrants Trust trustee Philip Bean and journalist Joy Melville publish Lost Children of the Empire: The Untold Story of Britain's Child Migrants , which later becomes a television documentary and leads to thousands of calls on telephone help lines.
Lost Children of the Empire: The Untold Story of Britain's Child Migrants .
Philip Bean and Joy Melville 1989. Reproduced courtesy HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

1991

David Lorente establishes Home Children Canada

1991

David Lorente establishes Home Children Canada

Canadian teacher David Lorente, son of a British home child, establishes Home Children Canada to help child migrants locate their records and families.
Home Children Canada crest.
Reproduced courtesy Home Children Canada.

1992

VOICES lobbies for compensation for former Christian Brothers residents

1992

VOICES lobbies for compensation for former Christian Brothers residents

Victims of Organised Cruelty, Exploitation and Survivors (VOICES) is established in Perth to lobby for compensation for former Christian Brothers residents. In 1993 the Christian Brothers publish a nationwide public apology regarding physical and sexual abuse in their Western Australian institutions and provide counselling and travel assistance for some former child migrants to visit family in the UK.
'A statement by the Congregation of Christian Brothers of WA'.
The West Australian 3 July 1993. Reproduced courtesy The West Australian.

1993

The Leaving of Liverpool screened in the UK

1993

The Leaving of Liverpool screened in the UK

The ABC and BBC co-produce a TV mini-series The Leaving of Liverpool. It is screened in the UK, resulting in more than 10,000 calls to telephone help lines. Margaret Humphreys receives the Order of Australia Medal for services to the community. In 1994 Humphreys publishes Empty Cradles , an account of her struggle to help former child migrants.
Children disembark from the ship in The Leaving of Liverpool.
Reproduced courtesy Australian Broadcasting Corporation Library Sales.
Empty Cradles.
Margaret Humphreys 1994. Reproduced courtesy The Random House Group Ltd.
Margaret Humphreys (centre) at OAM investiture 1993.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.
Margaret Humphreys at launch of Empty Cradles 1994.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.

1996

VOICES civil action settled out of court

1996

VOICES civil action settled out of court

The civil action sponsored by VOICES is settled out of court, with $3.5 million compensation being distributed among more than 200 former Christian Brothers residents. The Western Australian Legislative Assembly appoints a Select Committee to investigate child migration. With a state election imminent the WA Parliament does not take up the Committee's preferred option of an Honorary Royal Commission.
'Order settles abuse battle with $6m deal'.
The West Australian 15 August 1996. Reproduced courtesy The West Australian.
'Order settles abuse battle with $6m deal'.
The West Australian 15 August 1996. Reproduced courtesy The West Australian.

1997

International Association of Former Child Migrants and Their Families launched

1997

International Association of Former Child Migrants and Their Families launched

The International Association of Former Child Migrants and Their Families is launched in Australia to represent the needs of child migrants and their families. The Rockhampton Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy apologise to former residents of St Joseph's Home at Neerkol in Queensland.
International Association president Norman Johnston (left) in London for the Health Select Committee inquiry 1998.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.

1998

British Health Select Committee criticises misguided child migration policy

1998

British Health Select Committee criticises misguided child migration policy

The British Health Select Committee's report The Welfare of Former British Child Migrants describes child migration as 'a bad and, in human terms, costly mistake'. The Health Department commits to setting up a central database of records in the UK and a support fund of 1 million over three years to pay for family reunions.
The Welfare of Former British Child Migrants: Report and Proceedings of the Committee.
House of Commons 1998. Reproduced courtesy the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.
The Welfare of Former British Child Migrants: Report and Proceedings of the Committee.
House of Commons 1998. Reproduced courtesy the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

1998

Western Australian Government apologises to former child migrants

1998

Western Australian Government apologises to former child migrants

The Western Australian Government apologises to former child migrants who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the state's institutions. The following year the Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and Poor Sisters of Nazareth launch a computerised personal history index to the records of former child migrants.
Former child migrants motion.
Hansard (Parliamentary Debates) Western Australia, Legislative Assembly 1998. Reproduced courtesy Parliament of Western Australia.

2001

Lost Innocents Senate Inquiry finds child migration schemes 'fundamentally flawed'

2001

Lost Innocents Senate Inquiry finds child migration schemes 'fundamentally flawed'

In Australia the Senate Community Affairs References Committee tables the report Lost Innocents: Righting the Record, which concludes that child migration schemes were 'fundamentally flawed with tragic consequences'. The Committee's report makes 33 recommendations, including that Commonwealth and State Governments issue a statement acknowledging child migration schemes were wrong and expressing regret for the psychological, social and economic harm caused to children.
The Child Migrants Trust at the Canberra hearing.
Reproduced courtesy Senate Community Affairs References Committee.
Brother Shanahan delivers the apology on behalf of the Catholic Church at the Sydney hearing.
Reproduced courtesy Senate Community Affairs References Committee.
Former child migrants hold a candlelight vigil in Perth 2001.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.

2004

Forgotten Australians Senate Inquiry report tabled

2004

Forgotten Australians Senate Inquiry report tabled

The Forgotten Australians Senate Inquiry finds that abuse and substandard care was widespread among the 500,000 children who were placed in more than 500 orphanages during the 20th century. The inquiry found a 'litany of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and often criminal physical and sexual assault', with widespread deprivation of food, education and healthcare.
Forgotten Australians: A Report on Australians Who Experienced Institutional or Out-of-home Care as Children.
Senate Community Affairs References Committee 2004. Reproduced courtesy Senate Community Affairs References Committee.

2007

Western Australian Government launches Redress WA

2007

Western Australian Government launches Redress WA

The Western Australian Government launches the Redress WA scheme, designed to offer ex-gratia payments to those who as children experienced abuse and neglect in state care. Approximately 10,000 registrations are received by the closing date of April 2009. The WA Government commences payments in 2010.
Redress WA newsletter 2009.
Reproduced courtesy Redress WA.

2008

Australian Prime Minister apologises to Aboriginal Stolen Generations

2008

Australian Prime Minister apologises to Aboriginal Stolen Generations

2009

Australian Government apologises to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants

2009

Australian Government apologises to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants

On 16 November Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers an emotional apology to half a million Forgotten Australians for 'the absolute tragedy of childhoods lost'. Mr Rudd acknowledges the pain of child migrants who were 'robbed of your families, robbed of your homeland, regarded not as innocent children, but regarded instead as a source of child labour'.
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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers his apology to Forgotten Australians at Parliament House, Canberra 2009.
Reproduced courtesy Fairfax Photos.
Transcript of National apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd 16 November 2009.
Reproduced courtesy Parliament of Australia.
Former child migrants at Parliament House 2009.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.

2010

British Government apologises to former child migrants

2010

British Government apologises to former child migrants

On 24 February British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologises on behalf of the nation to innocent and vulnerable former child migrants who suffered hardship under 'misguided' schemes. Mr Brown acknowledges 'the human cost associated with this shameful episode of history' and announces a 6 million family restoration fund to support travel and other reunion costs.
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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses former child migrants at Westminster, London 2010.
Reproduced courtesy AP via AAP Peter Macdiarmid.
Transcript of Statement by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on child migrants to the House of Commons 24 February 2010.
Reproduced courtesy UK Parliament.
Former child migrants at Westminster 2010.
Reproduced courtesy Child Migrants Trust.

2010

Canadian Government designates 2010 Year of the British Home Child

2010

Canadian Government designates 2010 Year of the British Home Child

The Canadian Government designates 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child to recognise the 'strength and determination of this group of child immigrants, and reflect on the tremendous contributions made by former Home Children and their descendants to the building of Canada'. In October Canada Post issues a commemorative stamp to honour the legacy of former Home Children.
Boys by ship bound for Canada.
Reproduced courtesy Action for Children.