On their own: Britain's child migrants

17 October 2014 to 4 October 2015

This exhibition has closed

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 told their emotional stories, and included detailed case studies about the different experiences of a number of child migrants. 

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

British Home Children Day

28 September is British Home Children Day. Find out how this is being marked all across the world on the British Home Children 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.

The exhibition tours to the Museum of Childhood in London 24 October 2015 to 12 June 2016.