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Tasmania - Organisation

Fairbridge Society (1909 - 2011)

  • 'Tresca'

    'Tresca', 1958, courtesy of National Archives of Australia.

Care Provider and Sending Agency
Alternative Names
  • Child Emigration Society (Also known as)

The Fairbridge Society developed from the Child Emigration Society, established in 1909 by Kingsley Fairbridge. Its purpose was to send British child migrants to different parts of the Empire where they would learn farming at special farm schools. In 2011, the Society merged with the Prince's Trust.


The first children sent to Australia by the Fairbridge Society landed in Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1913. They went to farm schools opened for them at Pinjarra. Later, the Society established schools at Molong, New South Wales in 1938, and Glenmore, Victoria in 1937.

The Society did not send children to Tasmania until 1952. Yet there had been plans to receive them before that. According to the Burnie Advocate, Kingsley Fairbridge saw Tasmania as the 'most desirable State in which to establish his second farm school'. An attempt by the Society to set up a school in 1923 failed because of Fairbridge's death in 1924. Another attempt in 1937 also failed. In 1940, a cottage was built at Hagley Farm School in northern Tasmania to receive children permanently evacuated from Britain and to educate and train them according to Fairbridge methods. They never arrived because by then World War Two had made the journey from Britain too dangerous. However, between 1952 and 1955, the Fairbridge Society placed nine boys at Hagley Farm School.

In 1957, the Society established a Home for child migrants in Exeter, known as Tresca. Most of the children at Tresca migrated under the parent following scheme by which the children came first and their parents followed afterwards. The intention was to make it easier for people to migrate who did not easily fit the criteria for it. Many of them were single mothers.

In 1960, the Society considered buying a house on the north-west coast to board children and parents who had travelled to Australia together temporarily. This was help parents who could not afford to stay in a guest house while they looked for work and more permanent accommodation.

By 1958, the Society had brought over 500 children from Britain to its farm schools in Australia. It placed its last child migrants at Tresca in 1970.



  • Hill, David, The forgotten children : Fairbridge Farm School and its betrayal of Australia's child migrants, Random House Australia, North Sydney, N.S.W, 2007, xxiii, 338 pp. Details

Online Resources


National Archives of Australia


Sources used to compile this entry: 'More U.K. Children for Farm School', Examiner (Launceston), 22 July 1953, p. 16,; 'Scottish Boys for Farm School', The Mercury (Hobart), 15 June 1954, p. 2,; Coldrey, Barry, Good British stock: child and youth migration to Australia, National Archives of Australia, 1999,

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill and Caroline Evans