Kingsley Fairbridge Schools and Child Emigration

Kingsley Ogilvie Fairbridge (5 May 1885 – 19 July 1924) was the founder of a child emigration scheme to the British colonies and the Fairbridge Schools. His life work was the founding of the "Society for the Furtherance of Child Emigration to the Colonies", which was afterwards incorporated as the "Child Emigration Society" and ultimately the "Fairbridge Society".  Fairbridge was born in GrahamstownSouth Africa, and educated at St Andrew's College, Grahamstown, until the age of 11, when the family moved to Rhodesia.  early in 1903 visited his grandmother in England for about 12 months. The visit deeply affected him, as he observed the contrast of malnourished and impoverished children living in the Londonslums with the under-populated open spaces of Rhodesia.On his return to Africa, Fairbridge worked for two and a half years for a Mr Freeman who was recruiting locals to work in gold mines near Johannesburg. During this time Fairbridge started developing the idea of a scheme to bring poor children from London to South Africa where they could be trained as farmers.[2]
I saw great Colleges of Agriculture (not workhouses) springing up in every man-hungry corner of the Empire. I saw children shedding the bondage of bitter circumstances and stretching their legs and minds amid the thousand interests of the farm. I saw waste turned to providence, the waste of un-needed humanity converted to the husbandry of unpeopled acres.

In March 1912 the Fairbridges sailed for Western Australia aboard the Afric, arriving at Albany on 15 April 1912 with capital of £2000. After several months of searching for suitable properties around Albany, Denmark and the Warren River nearManjimup, a property of 160 acres (0.65 km2) was located and purchased near Pinjarra about 60 miles (97 km) south of Perth, with the Western Australian government agreeing to pay £6 for each child towards the cost of the passage money.[3]

After several months of frantic clearing of the run-down property as well as building basic accommodation (mainly tents) for the expected arrivals, the first party of 13 boys, aged between 7 and 13, arrived on board the Australind at Fremantle in January 1913. In July they were followed by a second party of 22 boys.

They endured hardship over the first few years but fell into severe financial difficulties during World War I until the government provided a grant that tided the school over the war period. In August 1919 Fairbridge went to England on the Ormonde and managed to raise a sum of £27,000 for the development of the school. The British Government's Overseas Settlement Committee provided £20,000, on condition that the Western Australian Government continued its grant of 6 shillings per week per child.[3]

A larger property of 3,200 acres (13 km²) of uncleared land was purchased north of Pinjarra and new buildings, including cottages to house the children, a dining hall, a house for his own family and farm buildings, were erected. Assistance from the Australian Government was also provided.

A History of Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra, Western Australia:

A Report on conditions at the Farm School:

Fairbridge Farm Schools - The Failed Eden?:

Oral Histories of Child Migrants:

Child Emigration:

Fairbridge Farm School, Fintry, British Columbia, Canada:

Accessing Child Migrant Records:

South Australia's British Farm Apprentices 1913 - 1914:
British Home Children Emigration Scheme to Canada:
Pauper Emigration under the New Poor Law: