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.

Oranges and sunshine

Margaret Humphreys. London : Corgi, 2011
304.894 HUM (250482)
Previously published as Empty Cradles 1996

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  archived website or the Belongings archived 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 (archived 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

‘Forgotten Australians’ and ‘Lost Innocents’: child migrants and children in institutional care in Australia

Coral Dow and Janet Phillips. Canberra: Social Policy Section Parliamentary Library 2009.
Available online

Official 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 Find and connect Victoria 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.

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.

The Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website contains an apology to 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 at