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Research Guides

Good British Stock: Child and Youth Migration to Australia

Appendix 6: Suggestions for further research

There has been an exponential growth over the last 15 years in the professional academic study of child and youth migration. The evidence for this is contained in the bibliography at Appendix 7. However, many areas await further research and a few of these are suggested below.

While seventeenth and eighteenth century child migration to the American West Indian colonies has barely been studied, research in this area would be expensive since travel to the United States and Britain would be essential. However, the primitive criminal justice system, the 'kidnapping' of children for resale in the Americas for private profit and Christian philanthropy during the seventeenth century would make an interesting study.

To the author's knowledge, the involvement of the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, and the Young Australia League in youth migration has never been studied. The major academic effort has been directed to the work of Dr Barnardo's Homes and the Fairbridge Society. The work of the Dreadnought Trust and the Big Brother Movement have never been the subject of definitive research, and archival material is readily available in both Australia and Britain for the researcher on both these organisations. Many former 'Dreadnought boys' would be still alive; and even more 'Little Brothers' to give personal dimensions to the material available in archives.

The material can be explored from different angles. For example, there are published studies of child migration to Tasmania and New South Wales, but not to Queensland, South Australia, Victoria or Western Australia. Changing community attitudes to youth and child migration await study, as does the legal framework both in Australia and in Britain which underpinned the movement.

Catholic child and youth migration has been the subject of much popular and some academic writing. However, much work remains, for example, the work of the three major religious congregations in child migration: the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Nazareth and the Christian Brothers. The Young Catholic Workers Movement launched a brief foray into youth migration after World War II. It awaits study to assess its genesis, short flourish and abortive end after a few years.

As far as the author knows, the Lady Northcote Farm School at Bacchus Marsh (Victoria) has not been the subject of research, nor has the work of the Anglican, Presbyterian or Methodist Churches. The numbers each brought were small, but the Salvation Army was a major migration organisation of the 1920s and was involved in youth migration after the Second World War. Its efforts await systematic elucidation. It is doubtful if the above exhaust the areas for further research and writing.