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Victoria - Event

Post-War Child Migration to Victoria (1949 - c. 1967)

  • The Leaving of Liverpool

    The Leaving of Liverpool, 1992, courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive.
    Details

From
1949
To
c. 1967
Categories
Event

Estimates of the number of children sent to Australia after World War Two vary from 5,000 to 10,000. Most of these child migrants were sent to charitable and religious institutions. All of the child migrants destined for the state of Victoria came from Britain (other Australian states received migrants from Malta). The Director of the Children's Welfare Department was the legal guardian of child migrants, authorised by the Commonwealth legislation, Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946-1952.

Details

In 1949, the Victorian government made funds available for church institutions to carry out building work in preparation for receiving child migrants. Grants were made to organisations including the Church of England Boys' Society, the Presbyterian Church Social Services Department, Kildonan in Burwood, and the Sisters of Nazareth. The state government (and the British government) would contribute to the upkeep of child migrants living in Victorian institutions.

The total number of child migrants who ended up in the state of Victoria is not clear. In the post-war period, between 1947 and 1953, Sherington and Jeffery state that Victoria received 232 child migrants from Britain. 83 of these went to the Northcote Farm School, 67 to Catholic institutions and 82 children to institutions managed by 'Other' denominations .

Interest in the little-known history of child migration to Australia, combined with the claims of abuse and mistreatment by former child migrants, led to the Inquiry into Child Migration in the Senate which tabled its report, 'Lost Innocents: Righting the Record - inquiry into child migration' in 2001.

In November 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia apologised to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

Publications

Books

  • Bean, Philip and Joy Melville, Lost children of the empire, Unwin Hyman, London; Sydney, 1989. Details
  • Gill, Alan, Orphans of the Empire: the shocking story of child migration to Australia, Random House, 1996. Details
  • Hill, David, The forgotten children : Fairbridge Farm School and its betrayal of Australia's child migrants, Random House, North Sydney, 2007. Details
  • Humphreys, Margaret, Empty Cradles, Doubleday, Sydney, 1994. Details

Edited Books

  • Lawrence, Jon; Starkey, Pat (ed.), Child welfare and social action in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: international perspectives, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 2001. Details

Journals

  • The Old Northcotian: magazine of the Old Northcotians' Association, Northcote Farm, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, vol. 3, no. 1-4, 1949-1951. Details

Online Resources

Photos

The Leaving of Liverpool
Title
The Leaving of Liverpool
Type
Video
Date
1992
Source
National Film and Sound Archive

Details

Prime Minister says sorry
Title
Prime Minister says sorry
Type
Video
Date
15 November 2009
Source
Posted on Youtube by NewsOnABC

Details

Australia apology over abuse in state shelters - 16 Nov 09
Title
Australia apology over abuse in state shelters - 16 Nov 09
Type
Video
Date
16 November 2009
Source
Al Jazeera

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Churches care for migrant orphans, The Argus, 5 February 1949, 15 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22695737; Senate Community Affairs References Committee Secretariat, Parliament of Australia, Lost Innocents: righting the record - report on child migration, Commonwealth of Australia, 30 August 2001, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/completed_inquiries/1999-02/child_migrat/report/index.htm.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill