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and life along the winding road

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oranges and Sunshine

Boys leaving Britain for Australia as part of the child migrant scheme
A movie I watched recently - Oranges and Sunshine is about a social worker (played by Emily Blount), The story is set in the 1980s in London and covers the deportation of over 130,000 children from England to Australia. Even though I lived in England during the1950s I hadn't heard of the child migrant scheme that took place from the 1940s to 1970s. Many of these children were orphans, but not all, and in the process of moving to Australia, documentation was lost and ties to families severed without the knowledge of the mothers and families. Brothers and sisters were also separated on arrival and the children were told their parents were dead. They were sent to children's homes in Australia where many children were abused. They have been called The Lost Children of the Empire. The Australian and British governments have finally taken responsibility for their actions and "children" are being reunited with their families. Sadly many of them are finding that their parents have since died without knowing where their children had been all these years. Read more about The Lost Children in a Daily Mail article here

According to the article: "The child migrant scheme was responsible for sending about 150,000 children to British colonies, starting with Canada in the late 19th Century, and later to South Africa.
The aim was to provide cheap labour, relieve the strain on the public purse in Britain and increase the colonies' white breeding stock."

More articles were published in the Independent about the migration and about Bindoon, the Boys town here. Bindoon was run by the Christian Brothers. The boys thought they were going somewhere fun to live, that was until they found out they would be building it!

1 comment:

Joanne said...

wow - that is interesting. I shall check out that movie and I like Emily Blunt. How did I miss this?
Quite a story. Australia sorta became the dumping ground for all sorts of people through time.