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The Fairbridge Family Chronicle, Volume II, No. 2, Christmas 1946

Date: 1946
Overall (closed): 4 x 138 x 210 mm, 43 g
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Peter Bennett
Object Name: Chronicle
Object No: 00048089

User Terms

    This magazine relates to the Fairbridge Farm School at Molong, near Orange, NSW, and the experiences of six-year-old child migrant Peter Bennett, who travelled to Australia with the Fairbridge scheme in 1940. Peter kept this Fairbridge Family Chronicle magazine, which contains information about the council, officers and staff at Fairbridge Farm School Molong, as well as notes from the school principal, scout leader and guide leader, photographs, crosswords, contributions from the children and a list of children by their cottages.
    SignificanceThe magazine relates to a significant period in Australia's migration history, when thousands of children and youths 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.

    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, Fairbridge 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.

    Six-year-old Peter Bennett was one of the earliest recruits to the Fairbridge Farm School in Molong. He was sent to Australia from Middlemore Children's Homes in Birmingham in 1940, sailing on SS AORANGI.

    As the Suez Canal was closed during World War II AORANGI was diverted to Canada, where Peter and the other 28 children in his party spent one month at the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School in British Colombia awaiting another ship. They eventually arrived in Australia, the voyage from the UK via Canada taking a total of almost 12 weeks. Peter remained at Fairbridge until he turned 17 in 1951, attending the local public school in Molong and serving his apprenticeship on the farm. After leaving he gained a trade certificate as a motor mechanic and eventually joined Qantas where he trained as an aircraft engineer.

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