Did you know... that several child migrant institutions were secretly blacklisted?

Collage of images from the Salvation Army training farm for youths, Riverview about 1935. Reproduced courtesy State Library of Queensland.

In 1956 the UK Home Office’s John Ross led a fact-finding committee to investigate Australian child migrant institutions, and found unfavourable conditions and poorly-trained staff in the 26 institutions it visited.

The Committee’s confidential report blacklisted five institutions:

  • Salvation Army Riverview Training Farm, Queensland
  • Dhurringile Rural Training Farm, Victoria
  • St John Bosco Boys’ Town, Tasmania
  • Methodist Children’s Home at Magill, South Australia
  • St Joseph’s Farm School at Bindoon, Western Australia

The Home Office also sought to blacklist Fairbridge Pinjarra and Molong, but conceded this was politically impossible due to the royal patronage of the Fairbridge Society.

The Australian Government responded by conducting its own inquiry, which concluded standards of care were satisfactory. It effectively chose to ignore the Ross Committee’s findings and continued to send vulnerable children to blacklisted institutions.

Letter from Dhurringile Farm to Quarriers Home. Reproduced courtesy Quarriers.