On their own - Britain's child migrants

Did you know... that 310 Maltese child migrants were sent to Australia?

group portrait
Maltese children at Bindoon Boys’ Town 1952. Reproduced courtesy State Library of Western Australia, The Battye Library 005086D.

In 1928 Perth-based Maltese priest Father Raphael Pace urged the Christian Brothers to include Maltese children in its emerging migration scheme. Negotiations between the Maltese and Western Australian Governments continued through the 1930s but the first Maltese child migrants did not arrive in Australia until after World War II.

Between 1950 and 1965, 259 boys and 51 girls were sent to Catholic institutions in Western Australia and South Australia.

Most parents believed their children would receive a better education in Australia. Instead many were put to work on the Christian Brothers’ building projects and left to endure the same punishments and abuses as their British counterparts. Some were forced to stop using their Maltese language and never learned to read or write English.

 

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