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New South Wales - Archival Item

Michael Snell interviewed by Rob Willis in the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project [sound recording] (17 November 2009)

17 November 2009
17 November 2009
Alternative Names
  • National Library, Petherick Reading Room (Oral History) OH ORAL TRC 6200/2
Reference No
Legal Status
National Library of Australia Bib ID

Michael Snell, a child migrant and former resident of Dalmar Children's Homes, talks about his life in care, his later life and his feelings about the apology, as well as the work of Margaret Humphreys and Harold Haig, the Care Leavers Australia Network and child migration.


Michael Snell born 1935 speaks about meeting his relatives for the first time at the age of 60; his early memories of Homes and the National Children's Home and Orphanage (U.K.); reasons for children being in the Home, being sent to Australia after WWII; arriving in Australia in March 1950, conditions and weather on the trip; arriving in Sydney, incident involving fumigation; Dalmar Methodist Home near Carlingford, N.S.W.; chores at the Home, milking, farm work, child labour, schooling, treatment by other school children; discipline at the Home; paedophiles; the number of children and routines at Dalmar Home; going to church; leaving Dalmar; friends made on the trip to Australia; returning to England as an adult; survival; address by Malcolm Turnbull at the Apology (16th Nov. 2009); his feelings about the Apology;

Snell discusses the importance of the work done by Margaret Humphreys and Harold Haig; his reason for being a member of Care Leavers Association Network (CLAN); the British Apology (Jan. 2010); speeches made by Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull; visiting the British Consulate after the Apology; his expectations from the Apology; meeting up with other child migrants and reconnecting with former mates from Dalmar; getting his passport; Sir Robert Menzies and Child Migration; unity amongst child migrants; not telling his family about all of his experiences; his children and grandchildren; writing a diary of his trip out to Australia; being punished for being left handed; fighting; difficulty in forming relationships; meeting his wife; being isolated; playing football.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry