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Western Australia - Organisation

Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra (1913 - 1981)

  • Fairbridge Farm School, 1952

    Fairbridge Farm School, 1952, March 1952, courtesy of State Library of Western Australia.
    Details

From
1913
To
1981
Categories
Children's Home, Farm School, Home, Non-denominational and Receiving Agency

Fairbridge Farm School opened in Pinjarra, Western Australia in 1913. More than 1,000 child migrants were sent from England to the Farm School after World War I, and another 1,520 children after World War II. From the 1960s the Farm School also accommodated some wards of state. Fairbridge Farm School Pinjarra closed in 1981.

Details

Fairbridge Farm School Pinjarra was the first site of the Fairbridge Society's scheme to bring poor children from the cities of England to farm schools in countries of the British Empire.

Fairbridge Farm School Pinjarra was run under the auspices of the Fairbridge Society in England. In 1983, a new organisation, Fairbridge Inc, was formed and took ownership of what is now Fairbridge Village, Pinjarra.

Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra was established in Western Australia by Kingsley Fairbridge. Fairbridge and his wife, Ruby, arrived in Albany on 15 April 1912 and chose the site for a farm school near Pinjarra in July of that year.

On 1 January 1913, through the auspices of the Child Emigration (later, Fairbridge) Society in England, the first 13 child migrants (all boys) arrived from Britain and were admitted to the farm school at Pinjarra.

In 1920 another site in Pinjarra was purchased. With 3,200 acres of land at the new site, Fairbridge Farm School was able to expand. More than 1,000 child migrants were sent to Fairbridge from Britain after World War I.

The 'fairbridgekids' website has historic photographs of the various buildings at Fairbridge Farm School, many of which were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s. They include: Belfast Cottage (built 1921), Clive Cottage (built 1930), Cook Cottage (1927), Darwin Cottage (1923), Evelyn Cottage (1935), Exeter Cottage (1921), Fairbridge House (1922), Forrest Cottage (1928), Glascow Cottage (1923), Heath House (1928), Hudson Cottage (1923), Jenner Cottage (1923), Kitchener Cottage (1927), Lawley Cottage (1927), Lister Cottage (1923), Livingstone Cottage (1927), Middlemoore Cottage (1932), Nelson Cottage (1923), Newton Cottage (1923), Nightingale Cottage (1930) and Wolfe Cottage (1921).

On 19 July 1924, Kingsley Fairbridge died in Perth but the farm school that was named in his honour continued. From its earliest days, Fairbridge Farm had used media, public speaking events and other mechanisms to bring the farm school to public notice and attract donations and support in Australia and in the United Kingdom. In 1927, the Duke and Duchess of York visited the farm school at Pinjarra, the first of a number of visits by members of the British Royal Family.

In 1938, the objectives of the Fairbridge Farm School at Pinjarra were described by the Royal Commission on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System as 'cultural education' for primary and post-primary school girls and boys, and 'vocational instruction in farming methods for the boys and domestic science training for the girls'. The Commissioner (p.lxix) reported that Kingsley Fairbridge's 'principle was that in order to make successful migrants, who would settle down to rural pursuits, it was advisable to bring children away from the home country at an early age and so settle them in a new country at a time when their minds had not yet become impressed with the environment of their native land'.

The Royal Commissioner recommended (p.lxx) that the Government pay a maintenance allowance of 10 shillings per week for each 'destitute orphan boy' at Fairbridge provided the school undertook vocational and general education and training to the satisfaction of the Education Department. It was not clear from the recommendation that this should be extended to girls at Fairbridge but as it was aimed at agricultural training it was probably not intended to subsidise girls. In any case, by 1940, this recommendation had still not been implemented.

After the end of hostilities in World War II, Dutch children who had been evacuated from internment camps in Java were sent to Fairbridge. This was organised by the Netherlands Indies Welfare Organisation for Evacuees. It is unclear how long the children stayed there, but newspaper reports from 1945-1946 suggest that the children were under the control of 'Dutch authorities' while they were at Fairbridge and may have left by June or July 1946. The 1946 documentary film 'Welcome Neighbor' included scenes of the children at Fairbridge.

Emigration of British child migrants ceased during World War II but by 1947 the program had started up again, with 1,520 children sent to Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra.

In 1956, the 'One Parent Scheme' started. Children were sent out to Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra ahead of their parent and stayed at Fairbridge until they could be reunited with family. In 1960, this was extended to a 'Family Scheme' that included children with two parents emigrating to Western Australia.

In the 1960s, Fairbridge began to admit children referred from the departments responsible for child welfare and in 1961 the Big Brother Movement began to send young men aged 17-18 years to Fairbridge.

The Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra closed in 1981. Many former residents of Fairbridge have shared their experiences and memories (bad and good) at government inquiries, in books and in oral histories.

Events

1913 - 1981
Location - Fairbridge Farm School was established off the South Western Highway, Pinjarra. Location: Pinjarra

Related Events

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations

Publications

Books

  • Chate, A.H.; Graham, Bruce; Oakley, Glenda, Date it!: a Western Australian chronology to 1929, Friends of the Battye Library (Inc.), Northbridge, Western Australia, 1991. Details
  • Fairbridge, Ruby, Pinjarra: the building of a farm school, Oxford University Press, London, 1937. Details
  • Fairbridge, Ruby and Murdoch, Walter, Fairbridge Farm: the building of a farm school, Paterson Press, Perth, 1948. Details
  • Halls, Joan, Miracle of Fairbridge, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, Western Australia, 1999. Details
  • Hill, David, The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and Its Betrayal of Britain's Child Migrants to Australia, William Heinemann,, North Sydney, New South Western Australiales, 2008. The Forgotten Children has some information about the history of Fairbridge Farm School Pinjarra. Details
  • Humphreys, Margaret, Empty Cradles, Doubleday, London; Sydney, 1994. Details
  • Humphreys, Margaret, Oranges and Sunshine, Corgi, London, 2010. Details
  • Sherington, Geoffrey and Jeffery, Chris, Fairbridge : Empire and child migration, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, Western Australia, 1998. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • Catanzaro, Joseph, 'Child migrant scandal', The West Australian, May 26-27 2012, p. 1. Details
  • Catanzaro, Joseph, 'Farmed out to fear', The West Australian, 26-27 May 2012, pp. 63-65. Details

Online Resources

Photos

BA1271/113: One of the houses on Fairbridge Farm School, 1921
Title
BA1271/113: One of the houses on Fairbridge Farm School, 1921
Type
Image
Date
1921
Creator
Mitchell, E. L. (Ernest Lund)
Source
TVW Enterprises Limited collection of E. L. Mitchell photographs, State Library of Western Australia

Details

Open-air sleeping-room constructed later, [Fairbridge, after 1913?]
Title
Open-air sleeping-room constructed later, [Fairbridge, after 1913?]
Type
Image
Date
1937
Source
Excerpt from State Library of Western Australia

Details

Sleeping-quarters for the first arrivals, 1913
Title
Sleeping-quarters for the first arrivals, 1913
Type
Image
Date
1937
Source
Excerpt from State Library of Western Australia

Details

Entrance to the new farm [Fairbridge 1913?]
Title
Entrance to the new farm [Fairbridge 1913?]
Type
Image
Date
1937
Source
Excerpt from State Library of Western Australia

Details

First line of cottages, 1921
Title
First line of cottages, 1921
Type
Image
Date
1937
Source
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Farm Schools
Title
Farm Schools
Type
Document
Date
28 February 1938
Source
Parliament of Western Australia

Details

Sunday morning and afternoon, 1940s
Title
Sunday morning and afternoon, 1940s
Type
Image
Date
1948
Source
Excerpt from State Library of Western Australia

Details

Swimming pool at Fairbridge Farm School, 1950
Title
Swimming pool at Fairbridge Farm School, 1950
Type
Image
Date
1950
Source
Government Photographer collection, State Library of Western Australia

Details

Man talking to a group of children, 1950
Title
Man talking to a group of children, 1950
Type
Image
Date
November 1950
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

John Moss C.B.E. U.K. Child Welfare Expert. Visit to Australia. Part II
Title
John Moss C.B.E. U.K. Child Welfare Expert. Visit to Australia. Part II
Type
Document
Date
1951 - 1952
Source
National Archives of Australia
Note
There is information about Fairbridge in the John Moss Visit to Australia file Part II, please see pp.18-19, 113, 118, 122, 129, 132, 139, 140, 141, 151

Details

Enquiry by Mr. John Moss. Points on which information is needed as to provision for the welfare of children emigrating from the United Kingdom to Australia
Title
Enquiry by Mr. John Moss. Points on which information is needed as to provision for the welfare of children emigrating from the United Kingdom to Australia
Type
Document
Date
10 May 1951
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Fairbridge Response to Moss Questionnaire
Title
Fairbridge Response to Moss Questionnaire
Type
Document
Date
29 May 1951
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Fairbridge Farm School, 1952
Title
Fairbridge Farm School, 1952
Type
Image
Date
March 1952
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Boys at the Fairbridge forge, 1953
Title
Boys at the Fairbridge forge, 1953
Type
Image
Date
1953
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Cottage for migrant children, Fairbridge, 1953
Title
Cottage for migrant children, Fairbridge, 1953
Type
Image
Date
1953
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Girls at a cookery lesson, Fairbridge, 1953
Title
Girls at a cookery lesson, Fairbridge, 1953
Type
Image
Date
1953
Source
Government Photographer collection, State Library of Western Australia

Details

Woodwork class, Fairbridge, 1953
Title
Woodwork class, Fairbridge, 1953
Type
Image
Date
June 1953
Source
Government Photographer collection, State Library of Western Australia

Details

Messing about on the river, Fairbridge Farm, 1954
Title
Messing about on the river, Fairbridge Farm, 1954
Type
Image
Date
1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Sawing a log, Fairbridge Farm, 1954
Title
Sawing a log, Fairbridge Farm, 1954
Type
Image
Date
1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Milking, FairbridgeFarm, 1954
Title
Milking, FairbridgeFarm, 1954
Type
Image
Date
1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Moss Report Implementation [Exerpt] - Fairbridge
Title
Moss Report Implementation [Exerpt] - Fairbridge
Type
Document
Date
22 January 1954 - 12 July 1954
Source
National Archives of Australia,

Details

Fairbridge Farm School, 1954
Title
Fairbridge Farm School, 1954
Type
Image
Date
August 1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Girls playing hockey, Fairbridge Farm, 1954
Title
Girls playing hockey, Fairbridge Farm, 1954
Type
Image
Date
August 1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Fairbridge boys choir, 1954
Title
Fairbridge boys choir, 1954
Type
Image
Date
August 1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Plumbing class, 1954
Title
Plumbing class, 1954
Type
Image
Date
September 1954
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the Royal Commission on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System, Royal Commissions Held in Western Australia, Parliament of Western Australia, 28 February 1938, http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/intranet/libpages.nsf/WebFiles/Royal+Commission+1938/$FILE/RC1.pdf. p.lxix.; 'Motion - Child Welfare Department. Maintenance of Children', in Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995, Parliament of Western Australia, 4 December 1940, https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Hansard/hansard1870to1995.nsf/83cc4ce93b5d4e0b48257b33001cfef6/BF96AA998FE9A93748257A4E0010E9F2/$File/19401204_Assembly.pdf; 'Dutch day nursery', The West Australian, 18 December 1945, p. 9, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44835411; 'Back to health [Dutch children at Fairbridge]', Western Mail, Charles Harper, J.W. Hackett, James Gibey, for the Western mail office, Perth, 14 February 1946, p. 22, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38570376; 'Dutch evacuees meet Lord Mayor', The West Australian, 3 May 1946, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50339232; 'Lochiel Cameron writes of Dutch Evacuees [Fairbridge]', Western Mail, Charles Harper, J.W. Hackett, James Gibey, for the Western mail office, Perth, 27 June 1946, p. 28, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article53244429; 'No title [Dutch children at Fairbridge]', Western Mail, Charles Harper, J.W. Hackett, James Gibey, for the Western mail office, Perth, 14 February 1946, p. 23, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38570368; 'They film W.A. for worldwide display [Dutch children at Fairbridge]', Sunday Times, 27 January 1946, p. 14, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59348646; Chate, A.H; Graham, Bruce; Oakley, Glenda, Date it!: a Western Australian chronology to 1929, Friends of the Battye Library (Inc.), Northbridge, Western Australia, 1991; Fairbridge Village, Fairbridge Western Australia Inc, http://www.fairbridge.asn.au/home/; fairbridgekids: A History of Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra, Old Fairbridgians Association, http://www.fairbridgekids.com/; Hill, David, The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and Its Betrayal of Britain's Child Migrants to Australia, William Heinemann,, North Sydney, New South Western Australiales, 2008. The Forgotten Children has some information about the history of Fairbridge Farm School Pinjarra.; Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, http://signposts.cpfs.wa.gov.au/pdf/pdf.aspx; Senate Community Affairs Committee, 'Inquiry into child migration', in Parliament of Australia website, Commonwealth of Australia, 2001, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/completed_inquiries/1999-02/child_migrat/submissions/sublist.htm.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser