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Research Guides

Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia

Child migration

In the 19th and 20th centuries, children were brought to Australia under various migration schemes, with the intention of offering them better opportunities. Key government motivations for child migration were also to maintain racial unity by providing 'good white stock' to populate Australia, and to supply the demand for cheap labour, especially in rural areas. There were many instances of exploitation and cruelty, with children and parents suffering from dislocation and disruption, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Child migration schemes were supported by the Commonwealth Government but administered by various churches and charitable bodies. Records held by the Archives are limited to cases and situations where the Commonwealth Government was involved. In South Australia, records relating to child migrants include files of the Department of Immigration and Collector of Customs, Adelaide.

Selected items relating to child migration in South Australia
Immigration encouragement – correspondence with states – South Australia – settlement of 6000 boys, 1920–25 A461, Q349/1/5
Immigration encouragement – government schemes – South Australia – settlement of 6000 boys, 1922–24 A461, P349/1/5
Boy Farm Apprenticeship Scheme, South Australia, 1927–28 A458, V154/11
Children to be evacuated from Great Britain, 1940–46 D156, 1945/2013
Child migration – child and youth organisations – Saint Vincent de Paul's Orphanage, 1946–48 D400, SA1955/8736
Mary Johnstone – application for child migration – arrived Adelaide per Ormonde 19 January 1949, 1947–49 D1989, 19/1/1949 ORMONDE JOHNSTONE M
Child migration – visit by United Kingdom fact finding mission 1956, 1955–57 D400, SA1955/8761


Chapter 10
Immigration and naturalisation