On their own: Britain's child migrants

17 October 2014 to 4 October 2015

Free entry

old photo of four small children carrying large suitcases

Four children bound for Fairbridge Farm School, Molong, Australia in 1938. Reproduced courtesy of the Molong Historical Society.

From the 1860s until the late 1960s more than 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes. Some were orphans and many came from families who were unable to care for them. At the time charitable and religious organisations sent them overseas, with the belief that their lives would improve as a result. They were supported by governments for which these schemes supplied much needed population and labour.

Liverpool and Glasgow were the main departure ports for children sailing to Canada. Liverpool's Allan Line carried almost half of Canada's child migrants on its ships.

Siblings and friends were split up on arrival and left isolated, facing long hard days of labour in extremes of climate. This isolation often led to a lonely, brutal childhood.

This exhibition tells their emotional stories, and through detailed case studies, visitors will meet a number of child migrants and find out more about their different experiences. 

Find out more on the On their own - Britain's child migrants exhibition website. 

There are also details of the records held in the Maritime Archives and Library on their child migration information sheet.

A collaboration between the Australian National Maritime Museum and National Museums Liverpool.

Australian National Maritime Museum logo       Australian Government National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program

Australian National Maritime Museum Travelling Exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national Collections for all Australians.