Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence


DOCUMENT 3

Historical Background to Child Migration

CHILD MIGRATION TO CANADAAlthough child migrants had been sent to the colonies by various city Councils in England since 1619, child migration only became a recognised movement in 1870 and was motivated by four main factors:

  (i)  The "Rescue" element from perceived moral dangers;

  (ii)  The social imperial motivation of populating the Empire with British stock;

  (iii)  The socio-economic conditions prevalent in Britain;

  (iv)  The cost effectiveness of the schemes.

Emigration as "Rescue"From the beginning of Victorian philanthropists' work with the poor, emigration was seen as a major feature of rescuing the poor and destitute from the moral dangers inherent in a life on the street, leading to such styles of life as theft, prostitution and begging.

Social ImperialismImperialists wished to "invest" in the Empire through the settlement of the untenanted land of the Dominions with immigrants from the UK. Young colonists in particular were to consolidate the Empire and form a living link between the Dominions and mother country.

Socio-economic conditions prevalent in BritainSince the 1840s the housing stock had been diminishing due to demolition for road improvements and the growth of railways. Conditions in towns and cities were worsened by an influx of immigrants from Ireland escaping from the conditions arising from the potato famine, leading to chronic overcrowding. This was a feature of many of the cities in the UK. Overcrowding was also a feature of the workhouses and the Poor Law Guardians under the Poor Law Act of 1834 were permitted to send paupers abroad, including children who become wards of the Poor Law Guardians, and emigration was seen as a way to reduce overcrowding.

Cost EffectivenessThe cost effectiveness of child migration schemes was revealed in a paper entitled Emigration of Public Orphans by Dr Hayward. He showed that 2,000 Liverpool orphans cost the town £13.00 a head per annum and with interest on the cost of buildings and land that come to £18 per annum. Thus it cost Liverpool £36,000 per annum on the rates to maintain these children. He calculated that the emigration of 50 orphans to Canada reduced the bill by £5,000 per annum.The UK in the 1870s was in an economic depression. The rapidly rising birth rate and the declining death rate lead to concern over a Malthusian crisis. Sending some of the population to the colonies (both adults and children) was seen as a solution.Canada was the first and main recipient of migrant children from Britain in the years up to Second World War. Their demand for migrants was almost limitless with up to 30,000 applications being received annually prior to the First World War. Almost invariably the boys were placed in farms or farm schools and the girls were valued for their skills as domestic cleaners.

RegulationJuvenile emigration in the 19th century was begun in an uncoordinated and haphazard way by a number of individuals and organisations.There was no national Canadian policy on immigration but this was left to the provincial governments. Acts regulating the immigration of children to Canada were passed by most of the provincial parliaments notably Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick, mainly along the same lines. However the Dominion Government did exercise a measure of control in three main ways:

1. Medical ExaminationThis examination was carried out both at the relevant port of embarkation and at the receiving port. However, it was later suggested that only one examination, at the port of embarkation should suffice, in order that the emigration societies should not need to bear the cost of having children returned as unfit.

2. Financial InducementA bonus of two dollars was given to each Canadian receiving home for each child other than those emigrated at the cost of a Board of Guardians. This sum was considered quite inadequate and the Catholic authorities in England suggested that the bonus should be increased and granted to all children.

3. InspectionA government inspector was appointed together with visiting staff to visit and report annually on all the children emigrated by Boards of Guardians. The Boards contributed towards the cost.As early as 1874, a Parliamentary Commission, led by Andrew Doyle, investigated child migration. Doyle objected to the practice but recommended that if children were to be sent they should be as young as possible, about seven or eight, so that they would have as little recollection of their past as possible and he also recommended that before emigration, the children should have an extensive period of training.By the 1920s Canadian social workers were beginning to question many of the old methods of child welfare, including the practice of placing children in receiving homes which had not been personally inspected.

Bondfield Report 1924The report of the delegation sent to Canada in 1924 to obtain information regarding the system of child migration and settlement included in its recommendations:

  • the migration of children over the school leaving age should be encouraged;
  • that some of the receiving homes should be amalgamated;
  • that receiving homes should be inspected prior to placing the child;The delegation concluded that the younger the child the more open to abuse and lack of suitable education he would be. It also concluded that boarding out children in Canadian families brought them little advantage, as such children tended to be exploited by the adopting families.

Decline of Child Migration to CanadaThe decision by the Canadian Government in 1924 to make it virtually illegal for unaccompanied under fourteen year old to enter the country signalled the end of Juvenile Migration to Canada. 4,000 children crossed the Atlantic in 1925 but after 1929 there was a rapid decrease in numbers. By 1931, only six girls and under 500 boys went to Canada. The Great Depression was also responsible for this resulting in a return to the UK of some of the migrants.

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHILD MIGRATION TO CANADAFrom 1870 until 1903, Catholic child migration to Canada was carried out by a number of voluntary child care agencies, including Barnardos, the Children's Society and Catholic children's agencies in different dioceses in England were similarly involved. It is believed that approximately 1,760 children were sent to Canada during this time by Catholic agencies.The first party of Catholic children went to Canada on 18 August 1870, escorted by Fr Nugent of the Liverpool Diocese. Fr Nugent subsequently spent nine months in Canada and America establishing contacts to assist in both child and family migration.Fr. Nugent's own words are interesting:

  "It is estimated that there are at the present time in England and Wales 350,000 children under the age of 16 who are more or less a burden on the parochial rates. I am sure that you will agree with me that poverty is not a crime but a misfortune. These are poor children and in most large towns there are parish industrial schools for this class. We have one in Liverpool in which there are 1,200 to 1,500 children. I brought out 24 of these children with me a few weeks ago, all orphans, 12 boys and 12 girls; they were all well instructed in their religion and their book learning. The girls were all in excellent situations within two days in Montreal, four of the youngest being adopted into the most respectable families where they will be treated as their own children. The youngest boy was 11, the oldest 15. They had all been accustomed to labour, nine of them had a trade; they all know how to read and write well and they have all made their communion."In the early years of child migration to Canada Fr. Nugent relied upon prominent Catholics in the local community to visit the children and to report back to him on their welfare. Fr. Seddon who undertook child migration from the Westminster Diocese relied upon local clergy to undertake this duty.In 1880, Bishop O'Reilly of Liverpool established the Liverpool Catholic Child Protection Society, which subsequently opened a hostel in Liverpool as a gathering point for Catholic children migrating to Canada. A similar hostel was opened in Montreal with an agent to look after the children. Another hostel was opened in Ottawa in the 1890s by Fr St John from the Southwark Diocese: this was known as New Orpington Lodge.A significant amount of our understanding of Catholic child migration to Canada can be drawn from a report by Fr Bans, Administrator of the Crusade of Rescue (Westminster Diocese), and Mr Chilton Thomas, a barrister and honorary manager of Fr Berry's Homes in Liverpool.

THE BANS REPORT 1902This report, entitled Child Migration to Canada, was produced by Fr Emmanuel Bans and Mr Arthur Chilton Thomas. Their report, dated 17 November 1902, was written after three months of travel and enquiries in Canada—75 authorities on child migration were interviewed and in addition 300 migrants who had been sent out in the last 20 years (aged between four and 36 years) and employers of migrants were also interviewed.The report made a number of recommendations to improve the welfare and care of children but without stating clearly what the existing arrangements were.Amongst the recommendations of the report were:

  • that all the Provinces should adopt Ontario's legislation, which provided the best protection for children.
  • that all the different Catholic Agencies in England and Wales should form one emigration society.The report highlighted some of the difficulties in the provision of Catholic child care in Britain including:
  • lack of finances to provide enough homes for destitute children. (This problem was to continue: for example by 1919 there were 21,000 Catholic children in Catholic orphanages and homes in England);
  • overcrowding of the labour market made it difficult for young people leaving the homes to find employment and thereby be integrated into the community.These difficulties, it was argued, resulted in the practice of emigration to Canada which had been adopted by "Catholic Emigration Societies".The report stated that there were strong views on both sides as to whether this was a good policy or not but the report viewed it favourably, seeing Canada as morally better than England because it was to a large extent Catholic and the Canadians were seen as more temperate. Employment prospects were considered better, even for children, and there was no shortage of homes to take them. The difficulty lay in selecting the best homes.The children sent out to Canada had usually been in children's homes for at least three years and many had been in the care of institutions since their birth. Predominantly only those in good health and of good character were sent.The children migrated to Canada fell into four groups:

"Helpers", aged between 10 and 13 yearsThe boys helped on farms and the girls acted as domestics and helped on farms.

"Workers", over 14 years.Farm work to be done by boys. It was in this group that most failures occurred due to problems adjusting to the quiet farm life compared to their previous city life. In most Provinces the law required them to be under an agent of the Society until the age of 16 or 18.

Placed as though adopted, from any age up to nine yearsEducated and treated as one of the family and maintenance was paid. A visitor called regularly as a "friend of the family". When aged 12-14, suitable arrangements were to be made to provide them with a start in life. It was argued that the younger children were the most successfully placed as they soon forgot England and grew up as Canadians.

Boarded out, from any age to nine yearsPlaced with the farmers at a cost of £1-1-0 per month or at an institution from £12-10-0 to £15 a year. They were educated and trained. Children boarded out were usually placed out at age 11 as helpers.

Legal matters discussed in Fr Bans reportSome Canadian towns had children's courts where children's cases were heard. Children abandoned to public charity could not, for example, be claimed back as a right. It was necessary first to prove that it was in the child's interest for him or her to be returned to their parents. Each Province, however, had different legislation.An agent existed to act as legal guardian to infants and had to arrange a permanent home and shelter for children.Province varied as to whether they required under statute anyone to give particulars of the child's health, conduct, progress, and welfare when asked to do so by the agent or Society—Ontario had such legislation.In Ontario any person who had received a migrant child and was unable or unwilling to continue the agreement with the Society or agent had to return the child to the Home at their own expense. Failure to do so could result in a fine of £100 or three months in prison.If a child was taken or "escaped" from a person in whose care they had been placed then that person had to immediately notify the Society or agent. Failure to do so could result in a fine of between $5-$20.Ill treatment and overwork of a child and failure to provide proper maintenance and education for a child resulted in a fine of up to $50 or six months in prison. Migrant children, like Canadian children, had to be sent to school.The report also looked at the issue of agents. Difficulties often arose in finding agents to act on behalf of Societies and it was difficult to maintain links with the agents as they were so far away from the receiving homes. The report advised that the agent should be a married man and be seen by the children as a friend.

Finding places for childrenThe receiving homes and the homes in which the children were placed were usually in the country. This was seen as preferable to the city.Fr Bans report stated that the children were placed mainly around the shores of the St Lawrence River, on the prosperous farms of Ontario and on the lands of the West.It was recommended that "masters" and "mistresses" were to be strong practising Catholics for the "one great reason for Catholic agencies to be going to the great expense of emigrating children at all is to save their faith".After receiving an application for a child, the report recommended that the agent obtained the views of the parish priest about the person(s) making the application. The agent, with this information, was to have in mind the child's "temporal welfare" before placing. Factors to be considered before placing a child were recommended as:

  • cleanliness of the house
  • the way of living
  • the state of cultivation of the farm
  • the amount of ambition of the farmer
  • the disposition of the farmer, his wife and children
  • the number and ages of the children in the proposed employer's family.It was felt that elder sons and daughters sometimes ill-treated a migrant child and a lot of younger ones meant hard work, particularly for a girl.The agent was expected to visit the home before a child was sent there.

The Method of PlacingChildren were placed out on an agreement. The report noted that "these children are mostly taken for the work they do or will be able to do later". Thus "there is the consequent saving of adult labour which is very scarce".The agreement was to include regular attendance at mass and the sacraments. The agent could withdraw a child from a home with or without notice at his absolute discretion.It was recommended that the agreement should include board, lodging, medical expenses for all, school attendance for those of school age and, for those over 10 years, a reasonable wage. The report stated that "in determining the wage it must be remembered that these children came over untrained and although they may be able to do many little things about the farm, they have to be taught. But their services are of a certain value and they should be paid something."It was argued that the child should "always be made to understand fully the terms of the agreement on which it is placed out".All wages were to be paid by the employer to the receiving home where they would be banked until the child was 18.

Visiting and ReportingThe report stated that visits to see children should be unannounced.The object of the visit was to ascertain:

  • whether the children are attending their religious duties
  • whether they are happy
  • whether they are properly treated
  • whether the children are giving "satisfaction"It was recommended that the agent should see both the employer and the child alone. The agent was expected to draw the child into having confidence in him but "should not be too soft with the children". The woman of the house and the parish priest should also be seen. The agent's report on the child should be sent to the receiving home.Fr Bans' report acknowledged that more confidence in the scheme was required—hence some of his proposals. He also acknowledged the feeling of isolation that the children experienced. He pointed out that those who had care of the children in England should answer children's letters when they receive them from Canada "for in many instances the children have expressed to us their great disappointment at receiving no reply to letters they have written to their old schools".Fr Bans' report also addressed the condition of those children already emigrated.

Children under 18 years oldOf the 1,000 or more Catholic children under 18 the authors of the report could find, none were in the hands of the police.Priests spoke well, with a few exceptions, of the children. A few priests were criticised for their lack of sympathy to migrant children.

Those over 18 year oldThere was some difficulty in tracing these former migrants since they had left the Society's books. Of those traced:

  • five had entirely given up the Faith
  • some are careless in religious duties
  • some were wandering around from place to place
  • three were considered "mentally deficient"
  • five were unemployed
  • 10 had joined other religious bodies
  • 10 girls had gone "morally wrong"
  • three were in homes for fallen women
  • one boy was in prison
  • seven had been or were in reformatories;Of the 300 migrants seen, the majority were doing well.Amongst the recommendations in Fr Bans Report were:
  • the unification of all the Catholic Emigrating agencies
  • as the Dominion Government would make a grant of 160 acres upon payment of a registration fee of £2 to every boy of 18 that wanted it, boys should be encouraged in taking up such grants
    • girls should be encouraged to marry
    • birth and baptismal certificates should be sent with the children to Canada
    • different people should do the visiting to protect the childrenThe Report concluded "Canada wants population: the charitable societies are supplying that want to a great extent".

Catholic Emigration Association (CFA)Establishing on 24 April 1903, this Association was formed following the recommendation of the report of Fr Bans and Mr Chilton Thomas in November 1902. Fr Hudson from Birmingham Diocese was appointed its first Secretary. The work of the CEA was under the control of the Catholic children's rescue societies in the Dioceses of Westminster, Southwark, Birmingham and Liverpool. Its property in Canada was vested in the names of six English Bishops. The Sisters of St Paul from Selly Park in Birmingham were placed in charge of St George's receiving home in Ottawa.Amongst the recommendations of the 1902 report adopted were:

  • attempts to make medical arrangements for the children in Canada
  • the placing of children in French speaking families was to be the exception, not the rule. No Society forms were to be typed in French thereby discouraging French applicants. Placing children under seven years of age in French homes was however, considered acceptable
  • Canadian clothing to be obtained for children
  • agreements to be drawn up with familiesMore insight into conditions of the time can be gained from a report to the Association, dated 1903-04, by Mr Arden, the Canadian agent, in which he pointed out that the Canadians are not "likely to be slave drivers of the children". There were exceptions but once discovered these persons were not to have children placed with them. The best ages for children to be placed out were considered 11-15 years of age as 7-11 year old were hard to place. The older the child the more set in its ways it became and this was seen as a disadvantage. It was also stated that 14 year old earned virtually the same as 12-13 year old.Following Fr Bans report a formal system of visiting agents was soon established. By 1905 there were 1,147 children on the register in Canada. Of these 301 had not been visited. In the same year a number of boys who had presented problems and "given considerable trouble" were sent by the Canadian agent, under instruction from the Catholic Emigration Association to lumber camps.By 1906 the clothing and wages of children were to come under certain regulations laid down by the Catholic Emigration Association. In 1909 a clause was added to the agreements for employers to pay children wages and this became enforceable by law.In 1917 representatives of the Association met with a representative of the Canadian Immigration Office from Winnipeg. The Canadian Government, it appeared, wanted to do all it could to encourage the emigration of children aged between seven and 10 years.United Kingdom government policy was responsible for the short-lived boom in emigration after 1922. The Overseas Settlement Committee, which had been set up under Milner, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, had, as one of its duties, to keep in touch with overseas governments and representatives of the Dominions. The meeting of the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 1921 considered the following proposal put forward by the Committee.

  "[That] His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom co-operate with the Overseas Governments in a comprehensive policy of empire land settlement and empire directed migration extending over a period of years, and to this end to contribute up to a maximum of £2 million a year in any year in respect of schemes of land settlement, assisted passages and such other kindred schemes as may commend themselves to Governments concerned."This proposal was accepted in 1922 and became part of the Empire Settlement Act. The UK and Canadian governments each would pay the equivalent of $40 per capita towards the cost of transporting children to Canada, nominated for emigration by the voluntary agencies and accepted as medically fit by the Canadian emigration authorities. It was hoped that under these arrangements some 5,000 children might be emigrated to Canada annually, a greater number than ever before.In 1926 Fr Hudson reported that migrant children were "handicapped" by their lack of education and clearly children older than 14 benefited the most from emigration. The Association therefore welcomed in child care terms the Order in Council from the Canadian Government that no unaccompanied children should enter Canada if under the age of 14.In 1927-28 Cardinal Bourne started the Catholic Emigration Society to deal with emigration of Catholic families and adults. The Catholic Emigration Association remained independent and dealt with children under the age of 17.By 1932 the Canadian Government had become increasingly selective but vague about the type and age of child they accepted. Members of the CEA began to question the benefit of sending children to Canada.The total number of children migrated to Canada by Roman Catholic agencies is believed to be over 10,000.

CHILD MIGRATION TO AUSTRALIAPrior to the Second World War child migration to Australia was founded on similar principles to those used to advocate migration to other colonies.As a result of Australia's experiences during the Second World War there was concern about the threat of future attack or invasion by the far-eastern neighbours of Australia. This led, in part, to the launch of Arthur Calwell's Immigration policy. In August 1945 Calwell, Australia's Immigration Minister, proposed bringing 50,000 orphans to Australia in the first three years after the war. Thwarted in his hopes Calwell himself visited London in June 1947 to overcome some of the problems causing delays.Child care itself was, at the same time, beginning a process of transition. In 1945 the Curtis Committee had been established which went on to recommend wider use of fostering and smaller family group homes rather than large residential institutions for children. On the whole, the Curtis report wanted to see a more limited use of child migration. Following on from Curtis was the Children Act 1948 which enshrined much of the work of Curtis.The Moss Report of 1953 written by John Moss CBE, a former member of the Curtis Committee and Home Office Civil Servant, was generally supportive of the scheme of child migration to Australia. Despite this the migration of children by the CCWC and its member agencies and religious orders had come to an end by the time the more negative Ross Report of 1956 was published. John Ross was Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, the Government Department then charged with inspecting the Children's Department created by the Children Act 1948. Following the changes proposed in the Curtis Report and the subsequent Children Act in 1948, the Catholic agencies in the UK reduced the total number of children sent. This was despite their being encouraged to continue sending children to Australia by the Catholic Church Authorities in that country, who were themselves under the encouragement of the Australian Government to recruit more children from the UK for migration. This decline in the number of children sent is reflected in the fact that in 1947, with the exception of 1953 (the year of the Ross Report) twice as many children were sent than in any other year.The critical Ross Report published in 1956, had an immediate impact on child migration by the CCWC. Only 24 children were sent to Australia in the year of the Report's publication. The following year, 1957, children migration to Australia by Catholic agencies and religious orders ceased.The practice of child migration to Australia by CCWC, like child migration to Canada before it, reflected the beliefs of the time held by governments and voluntary child care agencies alike.

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHILD MIGRATION TO AUSTRALIAAlong with several other child care agencies, Catholic ones sent out children to Australia, starting in 1939 and with the last going in 1963. In all a total of 1,147 Catholic boys and girls went in that period.In 1934 it emerged that a number of Catholic parents had approached the non-Catholic Child Emigration Society asking for their children to go to Australia. Catholic children were going to Australia via the Salvation Army and the Fairbridge Scheme. As the Catholic Church had no similar scheme the Catholic Emigration Society (CES) felt it ought to arrange Catholic child migration to Australia. The number of children going to non-Catholic homes was unknown.It was decided to consider sending Catholic child migrants to Australia. The Catholic Church was to complete with Fairbridge either by "co-operating with the Clontarf Farm School Scheme" or some other method. Clontarf was a farm school in Western Australia run by the Christian Brothers. It was said that "so long as we leave all the child migration work to Protestants, it is difficult for us to complain when they do the work". As the Fairbridge scheme had the backing of the Prince of Wales, a similar scheme was thought appropriate for Catholic children.The Clontarf Farm was discussed as early as 1926 by the Australian Catholic Immigration Reception Committee (CIRC). In 1927 the CIRC approached the emigration Committee of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) about the Clontarf orphanage run by the Christian Brothers. The CIRC wanted the Emigration Committee of the SVP to approach the Overseas Settlement Committee to obtain their consent and also the consent of the Commonwealth authorities at Australia House to contribute to the passage of 50 orphans to Western Australia aged 10-12 years with some 13 years old boys. The financing of the boys once they were established would be the same as for the Fairbridge Scheme, ie the UK Government contributing £6-6-0, the Commonwealth £4-3-0 per week per boy and the State Government a grant of £4- 3-0 per week. The Christian Brothers would do the teaching, subject to state inspection. They would also train the boys in outdoor work.Minor negotiation in 1928 had failed through the inability of the CIRC in Australia to secure the training and supervision for boys aged 14-17 years. By 1934 the CEA became interested in Clontarf. Enquiries had also been made by the CEA in Australia to ascertain what was happening to Catholic children emigrating to Australia via non-Catholic agencies.In January 1934 the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Bishop of Brentwood instructed that the Archbishop of Perth be informed of their objections to Catholic children going to Fairbridge run homes.As the London Country Council (LCC) was reported to be "very keen" on West Australia as a suitable place to which to emigrate children, Archbishop Clune of Perth was contacted and details of Clontarf were sent to England. In a letter dated January 1934 from Fr Bagshawe, Assistant Secretary, Secretariat for the educational and charitable organisation Westminster Diocesan Education Fund to Mgr Hudson, Birmingham, he stated that:

  "I do not think that the religious welfare of the children could be seriously jeopardized if they were sent to Clontarf, seeing that they would be in the care of Christian Brothers until manhood and that the school itself is under the personal supervision of the Archbishop [of Perth]".As the work of the CEA lessened, the CES (responsible for families and adults) also took up the cause of Catholic children going to non-Catholic homes in Australia. Confusion arose over the role of each organisation and Cardinal Hinsley, Archbishop of Westminster, had to clarify the situation. It was agreed that the CEA was to carry on with child emigration. On 9 November 1938 the Cardinal dissolved the CES.On 22 April 1938 Brother Conlan (Christian Brothers, Clontarf) and Cardinal Hinsley were present at the Annual meeting of the CEA. Br Conlan outlined the facilities at Clontarf and requested 100 English boys for placement. In his subsequent letter requesting the consent of Cardinal Hinsley to the emigration of boys to Clontarf, Br Conlan refers to an article in The Times 18 April 1938 giving a "complimentary reference" to the Clontarf Scheme.Approval for migration to Clontarf and funding were also obtained from UK secular authorities.On 9 June 1938 at a meeting of the Catholic Emigration Association, agreement to migration of children to Clontarf was reached.In 1938 Br Conlan was approached about setting up a scheme for girls as the LCC was interested to know what Catholic provision was made for them. It was hoped that the Sisters of Nazareth could run a farm school for girls as well as providing teaching on domestic economy. In 1939 Br Conlan sent a copy of a proposed scheme to Canon Craven who, in a letter to Fr Griffin in Birmingham, commented that he was happy with the scheme which was as near the ideal as possible, including as it does domestic economy, gardening and the lighter side of farm work. He concluded:

  "This scheme of Br Conlan's now completes and rounds off very satisfactorily, I think, our migration plans. I should myself have been very much opposed to girls going out simply to be trained for domestic service and I ought to tell you that the LCC were absolutely opposed to such a scheme. They are afraid, like myself, that it would mean using poor girls as drudges on farms on in the towns. This we must certainly prevent!"On 2 February 1939 Cardinal Hinsley established the Catholic Council for British Overseas Settlement (CCBOS) from the CEA and the remnants of CES. A new constitution was drawn up. CCBOS was to deal with adult, child and juvenile emigration. The Catholic Hierarchy of England and Wales were the new governors. The President was the Duke of Norfolk. The Catholic Child Rescue Societies of England and Wales were to have "exclusive control and management of the emigration and settlement of all children and juveniles" up to the age of seventeen. They were to form the children's sub-committee of CCBOS. They were to exercise their powers after, and subject to consultation with, the religious communities emigrating children. Funds were to be raised by annual subscriptions and donations, from grants made under the Empire Settlement Acts of 1922 and 1937 and from other sources that may arise.Further negotiations with all those involved with Emigration were done on behalf of the Catholic Church by CCBOS.On 4 October 1939 the Dominions Office informed CCBOS that the grant of assistance to migration from UK funds was to cease due to the outbreak of the war 5/- (shillings) per week was to continue to be paid to the Christian Brothers in respect of maintaining each child already in their establishments. The recommendation was also made that with the outbreak of war children should no longer be recruited for Australia. CCBOS therefore planned to cease functioning during the war.On 17 July 1945, Cardinal Griffin received a letter from the Archbishop of Perth seeking his agreement to recommence child emigration.On 29 May 1946 a letter to Canon Craven from Cardinal Griffin refers to a visit he had received from the Archbishop of Melbourne during which the question of emigration to Australia was raised.The Catholic Child Welfare Council (CCWC) met 13 June 1946 to consider the fact that the Australian Immigration Authorities wanted to accept 70,000 migrants annually—17,000 of these to be children. The Australian Government would assume legal guardianship until the children reached 21 years.By April 1947 Br Conlan had selected 400 Catholic children across England and Wales to go to homes in Western Australia. Australia Houses had allotted 340 children's passages for 1947. In May 1947, Bishop McGuire (Goulburn, NSW) took over responsibility for arranging the Catholic immigration scheme in Australia. A Catholic Federal Secretary was also appointed General Secretary for all the Catholic Migration Reception Committees in Australia.On 29 August 1947 the British Government was prepared to agree the grant of Assistance under the Government Assisted Passage scheme for boys going to the Christian Brothers homes in Bindoon, Castledare, Clontarf and Tardun in Western Australia and to St Joseph's Girls Orphanage in Perth. This followed a report from the British High Commissioner in Australia on the conditions in the above establishments.By November 1947 the Dioceses of Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland were ready to start taking migrant children from the UK.In May 1948 Fr William Nicol became Director of the Australian Federal Catholic Migration Committee. The Director was responsible for all British and non-British Migration to Australia of Catholics.Throughout the migration of children to Australia it appears that representatives of the Catholic Hierarchy in Australia were by-passing CCWC and going directly to the children's homes run by religious orders in the UK to recruit children for migration to Australia. Such was the case in November 1953 when Canon Flint discovered from Australia House that 114 children from England and Wales had gone to Australia without the knowledge of CCWC. The complaints from CCWC were finally addressed in 1954. Mgr Crennan, Secretary to the Australian Federal Catholic Immigration Committee, agreed with Bishop Craven, auxiliary Bishop in Westminster Diocese, that all correspondence of whatever nature was to be directed to his Federal Office to avoid confusion. Mgr Crennan also agreed that all negotiations about the migration of children were to go through CCWC.Catholic child migration ended in December 1956. Four children sent after this were sent at the request of their parents—two in 1962 to Fairbridge in Tasmania and two in 1963 to Perth. Crennan also agreed that all negotiations about the migration of children were to go through CCWC.

The following table shows the number of Catholic children migrated to Australia each year between 1938 and 1963.
1938 70
1939 46
1947 332
1948 28
1949 18
1950 79
1951 24
1952 129
1953 188
1954 85
1955 40
1956 24
1962 2
1963 2
Unknown 80
Total 1,147

Catholic Children's Society (Westminster)April 1998


 
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