On 2 February 1939, the Catholic Council for British Overseas Settlement (CCBOS) had been established to take over from the Catholic Emigration Society and the Catholic Emigration Association (which had been founded in 1903 to administer Catholic child migration to Canada). Essentially, these organisations grew out of a 'rescue' type of mission which sought to take children from poverty in Britain to give them a brighter future in the colonies and populate the empire with 'good British stock'. In the 1930s, Catholic authorities became aware that some Catholic children had been sent to Australia via the Salvation Army and Fairbridge schemes and this motivated them to move on earlier ideas to establish a scheme of their own. A children's sub-committee of CCBOS was formed to liaise with the religious congregations and Catholic Child Rescue Societies who ran Children's Homes and oversee emigration to Australia, with an emphasis on Western Australia.
CCBOS seems to have been short-lived because the responsibility for organizing post-war Catholic emigration was taken up by the Catholic Child Welfare Council (CCWC). The degree of 'control' exercised by the CCWC over the migration practices is unclear. A document given in evidence to the Inquiry into the Welfare of Former British Child Migrants cites the following example:
' Throughout the migration of children to Australia it appears that representatives of the Catholic Hierarchy in Australia were by-passing CCWC and going directly to the children's homes run by religious orders in the UK to recruit children for migration to Australia. Such was the case in November 1953 when Canon Flint discovered from Australia House that 114 children from England and Wales had gone to Australia without the knowledge of CCWC. The complaints from CCWC were finally addressed in 1954. Mgr Crennan, Secretary to the Australian Federal Catholic Immigration Committee, agreed with Bishop Craven, auxiliary Bishop in Westminster Diocese, that all correspondence of whatever nature was to be directed to his Federal Office to avoid confusion.'
Apart from two children sent in 1963 to Perth 'at the request of their parents' all Catholic child migration to Western Australia had ended by December 1956.
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27 April 2018
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00712
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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