Child Migration

Produced to coincide with the Museum's exhibition On their own - Britain's child migrants this is a guide to resources in the Vaughan Evans Library and on the web for researching child migration to Australia.


Fairbridge : Empire and child migration
Sherington, Geoffrey & Jeffery, Chris. Nedlands University of Western Australia Press, 1998.
304.894 SHE (216822)

Orphans of the empire : the shocking story of child migration to Australia
Gill, Alan.  Milsons Point Vintage, 1998.
304.894 GIL <156424>
A good overall reference for the topic.

C'mon over : the phenomenon of child migration from Tilbury to Sydney from 1921-1965
Howard, Ann.  Dangar Island Tarka Publishing, 2002.
304.894 HOW (217721)

Good British stock : child and youth migration to Australia
Coldrey, Barry M & National Archives of Australia. [Canberra]: National Archives of Australia, 1999.
304.894041 COL
A detailed guide to the records held at the National Archives of Australia.

Empty cradles
Humphreys, Margaret. New edition. London Corgi Books, 1995. 
304.894 HUM <145500>
An important and influential work on this topic.

History of the Fairbridge Settlement
Bayliff, Ian & Hill, David, 1946- NSW Migration Heritage Centre, Powerhouse Museum & Fairbridge Heritage Association & New South Wales. Dept. of Planning et al. Molong  Fairbridge Heritage Association Inc, 2006.
CD 304.894 HIS (229692)

Lost children of the Empire
Bean, Philip & Melville, Joy & Bean, Philip & Melville, Joy. London ;Sydney Unwin Hyman, 1989.
304.894 BEA (55063)

Children of the Empire
Wagner, Gillian & Wagner, Gillian. London Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982.
304.894 WAG (229940)
An early work in this field.  

The Children's Friend Society : juvenile emigrants to Western Australia, South Africa and Canada, 1834-1843
Blackburn, Geoff.  Access, Northbridge, W.A, 1993.
304.894 BLA (229932)

For the sake of the children : inside Dr Barnardo's, 120 years of caring for children
Rose, June.  London Hodder & Stoughton, 1987.
362.732 ROS (230278)  

The story of Kingsley Fairbridge
Fairbridge, Kingsley Ogilvie & Fairbridge, Kingsley, 1885-1924 London Oxford University Press, 1936.
304.894 FAI (224305)
Autobiography of the man behind the Fairbridge homes.

The Scheme: the Christian Brothers and childcare in Western Australia
Coldrey, Barry M.  O'Connor, WA Argyle-Pacific Publishing, 1993
271.780941 COL

Buying books? Shop online at the museum store.

Personal accounts

The forgotten children : Fairbridge Farm School and its betrayal of Australia's child migrants
Hill, David.  North Sydney Random House Australia, 2007.
304.894 HIL (225922)
Transcripts of oral history interviews are available at the NSW Migration Heritage Centre, Powerhouse Museum website

The bush orphanage : recollections of a British child migrant and the truth about Australia's human trafficking past
Hawkins, John (John Patrick).  Docklands, Vic  JoJo Publishing, Docklands, 2009
304.894041 HAW (237877)
A child migrant's account of his experiences.

[Interview with Peter Bennett regarding life as a child migrant at the Fairbridge Farm School in New South Wales]
Bennett, Peter & Lawton, Lindl, 1968- & Australian National Maritime Museum, 2006. 
CD ORAL HISTORY 141 A & B (221277,85)

[Interview with Bob Stephens regarding life as a child migrant at the Fairbridge Farm School in New South Wales]
Stephens, Bob & Lawton, Lindl, 1968- & Australian National Maritime Museum, 2006.
CD ORAL HISTORY 151 (232720,38)

By then I was thirteen
Rees, Derrick. Wahroonga Lexington Avenue, 1999.
304.8940429 REE (218935)

A chip off what block? A child migrant's tale
Humphreys, Laurie.  Samson, WA Laurie Humphreys, 2007.
304.894 HUM (233686)

Fairbridge kid
Lane, John.  Pinjarra WA, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1990.
362.730924 LAN

The dirty bloody jizzy
Bicknell, John R. [Gordon, N.S.W.] : John R. Bicknell, 2003.
920.71 BIC

Belongings: post-WW2 migration memories & journeys
Fernandes, Andrea. NSW Migration Heritage Centre, Powerhouse Museum, 2007.
Transcripts of Fairbridge Farm School oral history interviews, photos and migration mementos are available at the NSW Migration Heritage Centre, Powerhouse Museum website

Government reports

Lost innocents : righting the record : report on child migration
Australia. Parliament. Senate. Community Affairs References Committee & Crowley, Rosemary & Australia. Parliament. Senate. Community Affairs References Committee.  Canberra Senate Community Affairs References Committee Secretariat, 2001.
Available online

The welfare of former British Child migrants
Great Britain. House of Commons. Select Committee on Health. Third report. 1998 London The Stationery Office, 1998.
Available online

Child migrants from the United Kingdom
Janet Phillips & Coral Dow.  Canberra Information and Research Services, Parliamentary Library, 2009.
Available online
Prepared by the Parliamentary Library this is a good overview of the history of child migration to Australia and the government policy aspects.

Forgotten Australians: a report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children
Australia. Parliament. Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee. Canberra Senate Community Affairs References Committee, 2004
Available online

Offical records

National Archives of Australia hold records relating to child migration to Australia and have a factsheet available for researchers about what information is available in these records where they're held and how to access them.

Passenger lists from the UK to Australia (1890-1960) are online at Find my past. You can search by name or browse by ship. The original records come from the UK National archives (series BT 27).

The Pathways website which deals with records for children in out of home care in Victoria has a guide to postwar child migration to Victoria 1949-1967

Other sources

The Child Migrants Trust This UK based organization was founded to address issues of child migration and provides services to child migrants and their families. It administers the Government Family restoration Fund and has a very informative website containing information on family reunion contributions from former child migrants and links.

The UK department of Health has a factsheet for former child migrants

Merseyside Museum's information sheet on Child emigration is also very useful.

The Barnardos website has a large section devoted to the charity's association with child migration and services for former child migrants.

The Personal History Index for former child migrants to catholic homes in Australia 1938 - 1965   is a confidential index for former child migrants and their representatives.

South Australia's British Farm apprentices has stories and very useful research resources for researching "Little Brothers" "Barwell Boys" and youth migration to South Australia.

The Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website contains  a FAQ with questions and answers relating to the apology for the forgotten Australians and child migrants.

Forgotten Australians is an Australian government funded portal for information on Australian children in institutional care including child migrants

State Library of Victoria Research Guides - Child Migrants. is an excellent guide.


On their own - Britain's child migrants. Touring exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum 10 Nov 2010 - 3 April 2011.  
Visit the Exhibition website

Monthly Highlights

highlightAmazing Whales
now showing
highlightBeautiful Whale
life-size photographs
highlightComing to Australia
Post WWII photographs
highlightMini Mariners
Fun for under 5s
highlightSchool Holidays
Whale Season

Connect with us

ANMM BlogFlickrYoutube