Molong, near Orange, was the primary destination for children arriving in New South Wales under the Fairbridge Scheme. It was based on the ideas of Kingsley Fairbridge that underprivileged children from the United Kingdom could be brought to Australia and placed in the country, where the boys could become farmers and the girls farmers' wives. Although the memories of people who went to Fairbridge Farm School are varied, the reality was Fairbridge Farm School 'trained' the boys to be farmers' labourers and the girls to be domestic servants. Children received little in the way of education.
Children's experiences at the home depended on the character and temperament of the cottage mothers and the other workers who staffed the farm. Former Fairbridge resident David Hill, who wrote The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and its betrayal of Australia's child migrants, has written of many instances of cruelty and abuse that occurred at the farm school. He states that children who were suffering cruelty and abuse felt they had no one to turn to, even when inspectors from the Child Welfare Department visited.
In the 1950s and 1960s, as the numbers of children entering Australian through the Fairbridge Scheme declined, the Society invited single parents to send their children ahead of them and join them two years later. A number of people took up this offer, including the mother of David Hill.
To keep up the numbers, Australian-born children were sent to the farm at Molong, by their parents or by welfare agencies. Despite this, the farm was unviable and it was closed in 1973 and sold to a private owner in 1974. The funds and the records of the home and the Fairbridge Farm Schools of New South Wales were handed to a new body, the Fairbridge Foundation.
Former residents of the Farm School have formed an Old Fairbridgians Association, based in Molong. It is made up mainly of children who went through Fairbridge, and has associate members, such as ex staff, spouses and children of Old Fairbridgians.
In 2021, the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have agreed to be a funder of last resort for this institution. This means that although the institution is now defunct, it is participating in the National Redress Scheme, and the government has agreed to pay the institution's share of costs of providing redress to a person (as long as the government is found to be equally responsible for the abuse a person experienced).
10 May 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE01357
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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