British child migrant collection




A collection of approximately 70 items relating to child migrants who were sent from Britain to Australia through government-sponsored schemes in the 20th century. The collection includes clothing, accessories, luggage, shipping memorabilia, photographs, cameras, letters, documents, books, magazines, crockery and farm tools, from the UK and from the Australian farm training schools and institutions to which children were taken.

From the 1860s, more than 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes. They were sent by charitable and religious organisations, in the belief that their lives would improve, and that they would provide much-needed labour and increase the population. While some children created new futures, other suffered lonely, brutal childhoods. Child migration schemes received criticism from the outset yet continued until the 1960s. The British child migrant collection relates to a significant period in Australia's migration history, when more than 7,000 children were brought out through various church and philanthropic schemes to develop rural areas with young labour. These schemes reflected Australia's broader immigration policies in the early 20th century, namely the government's desire to bolster the population with 'good British stock' and the building of a White Australia.

Some material included in this collection may be subject to copyright

By appointment only, please contact ANMM

Parts of this collection are digitised and available on the ANMM web site


1923-1961; Children; Children's villages; Immigrants; Immigration; Migration; Wars; Welfare services

Clothing; Documents; Letters; Photographs

Immigration; Orphanages

Coverage Spatial

Canada, United Kingdon, New Zealand, New South Wales, Australia; Western Australia

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:40