Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Migrant Child

We've met some amazing people on our travels. One of the nicest gentle giants ever was Michael Blair BiLs friend and Rotary colleague who came with him to cricket.

When we got talking about how he met BiL it emerged that he was one of the 'Migrant Children' that were sent out from England in the 50's. For over 40 years he believed he was an orphan, he was told his parents had been killed in the war. He was also told he was going on holiday and then he found himself on a boat to Australia where he was placed in an orphanage near Newcastle, NSW.

He only found out the truth by accident. He was saw a TV dramatisation in 1992 called The Leaving of Liverpool which portrayed a similar situation to his own. Another programme Children of the Lost Empire told the same story. He got in touch with Margaret Humphries of the Child Migrant Trust, the driving force behind the exposé, and outlined his personal circumstances. Within three months she had come back with details of his family in England and his mothers address. His mother had been a single parent and had left him in the care of Nuns, she contributed to his upkeep and intended to live as a family again when circumstances permitted. At that point his mother was still alive, although very ill. He was able to make contact with her but sadly she died before he was able to visit England. When he did make the trip he met his Aunt, his mothers sister, and other members of the family who lived in and around Bristol.

He has given evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee which collected evidence from every State in Australia, and various other British Colonies. He gave his evidence in Melbourne and was rattled while being 'cross questioned' when he was told not to think that it was the Governments fault. He knows it was - they could have, and should have, stopped the traffic in children and they certainly should not have covered it up for so long.

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