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Lost Children of the Empire [Paperback]

Joy Melville , Philip Bean
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New edition edition (May 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0044406436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0044406433
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,074,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This is the story of an inhuman chapter in Britain's history. Between 1860 and 1930 some 130,000 children were shipped off to parts of the British Empire and forgotten. It was a cheap way of emptying homes and populating the colonies. Many were subjected to cruelty, with names changed, records withheld and brought up to believe that they were orphans. But the shocking part of the story is that it did not end in the 1930s. After World War II, some 10,000 children were transported to Australia with the last batch going as late as 1967. The book looks at the remarkable story of the Child Migrants Trust set up in 1987 to trace relations and help both sides of the family come to terms with what happened.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Children of the Empire 7 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Recent admissions and apologies by the British and Australian governments brought to public notice the sometimes shameful export of young British Children to the Colonies. I used some of the facts from this book when writing my first two novels, 'The Long Echo' and 'Anna's Tale' (the latter to be published in the next few weeks)
Very well researched and presented stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Exposure of the Child Migrants' Scheme 30 July 2014
By Nick
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A detailed history of the long involvement British Governments had in migrating children to Canada, Australia and Rhodesia - very sobering indictment of the misguided idea that sending 'unwanted orphans' (most of whom were not actually orphans) - thousands of miles would be a good thing. Warning - some of the details of the abuse meted upon boys at Bindoon in the early 1950s are truly shocking. An essential accompanying read is "Oranges & Sunshine" by Margaret Humphreys who accidentally stumbled upon the injustice of the Child Migrants' Scheme; it was reading this which prompted me to buy this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Family Connections 22 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was recommended to me by the wife of my cousin who was one of the lost children so have only delved into the part which he was part of.
Presents a dated account ie the arguements for such a course seem to be trying to excuse the official actions as being reasonable solutions.
Need to read more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good film 9 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very enjoyable film , it had a beginning a middle and an end and was a straightforward
story, well acted
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Description inside Dust-jacket. 16 Dec 2004
By patrick - Published on
From Inside Dustjacket:

The extraordinary and untold story of Britains child migrants is one of 350 years of shaming exploitation. Around 130,000 children some just 3 or 4 years old, were shipped off to distant parts of the Empire, the last as recently as 1967.

for Britain, it was a cheap way of emptying childrens homes and populating the colonies with 'good British stock', for the colonies it was a source of cheap labour. The so-called philanthropists and child 'care' agencies which set up migration schemes in the last century built up the dream of a new life for the 90 000 children exported to Canada from 1860s to the 1920s was often one of unremitting hardship, working a 16-hour day on isolated farmsteads, they were often beaten and mistreated and never saw their families or the shores of Britain again.

But the real shock is that child migration did not end in 1920s. Even after the Second World War, until it ended some 20 years ago, around 10,000 children were transported to Australia, where many were subjected to at best uncaring abandonment, and at worst a regime of appalling cruelty.

Abuse and deception characterised the Australian schemes .Parents were told that their children had been adopted in Britain, chidren were told that their children were brought up in Australian institutions to beleive they were orphans.Now adults , they still break down when they relate their experiences and for many the search for family has become a life-long crusade. Because of the withholding or absence of information, only some are reunited with mothers and relatives they did not know existed---a reunion of happiness and confusion on one side, and guilt and disbelief on the other.

Lost children of the Empire tells the remarkable story of the Childs Migrants Trust , set-up, in 1987, to trace families and to help those involved to come to terms with what has happened.But nothing can explain away the connivance and irresponsibility of the governments and orgs involved in this inhuman chapter of British history

Lost Children of the Empire was the subject of a major ITV documentary screened in May 1989.
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