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Junior Farmers Club NSW blazer

Medium: Fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robert Stephens
Object Name: Jacket
Object No: 00054509

User Terms

    This dark green Junior Farmers Club blazer belonged to British child migrant Robert Stephens. Robert was a founding member of the Junior Farmers Club at Fairbridge Farm School in Molong NSW, which created elaborate displays of produce to compete against other districts in local agricultural shows. Robert was very attached to this blazer, earning him the nickname 'Green Jacket' at Fairbridge.
    SignificanceThis blazer reflects the ideals of the Fairbridge scheme, which aimed to train children in farming and develop rural areas with young labour. This scheme 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.

    HistoryBetween 1913 and 1967, more than 7,000 British children were sent to Australia by charities such as Fairbridge, Barnardo's, and the Salvation Army. The Fairbridge Farm School in Molong NSW (opened 1937) was one of three farm training schools established under Fairbridge principles in Australia. South African philanthropist Kingsley Fairbridge aimed to alleviate the plight of British slum children by sending them to farm schools in the colonies. The idea was to remove children from impoverishment, while simultaneously developing remote rural areas of the British empire with young white labour.

    Supported by the Western Australian government, Kingsley and his wife Ruby established the first Fairbridge Farm School at Pinjarra, south east of Perth in 1913. Fairbridge died in 1924, but the scheme continued. Children lived in cottages under a cottage mother, attended local state schools until they were 14, and then spent 12-18 months training in farm work on the property.

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