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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

2.2 The Fairbridge Society

1. The Fairbridge Society was set up in 1909 by Kingsley Fairbridge with its sole function being to emigrate children from Britain to “the Empire”. It did not run children’s homes in England and Wales other than those such as Knockholt, Kent, where children who had been selected for migration were looked after for a short period before they sailed. The Fairbridge Society became the most prominent migration-only operator in the child migration programmes. The Fairbridge Society ceased to exist in the early 1980s when its migration programmes ended. It continued working in the UK simply as Fairbridge. The Inquiry heard evidence in person from Nigel Haynes, former Director of Fairbridge, and evidence was read into the record from Gilbert Woods, its former Company Secretary.

2.2.1 What was the Fairbridge Society’s role?

2. Having migrated children to schools in Australia since 1912, from 1947 to 1965 the Fairbridge Society sent 997 children to Australia, around a third of the total number migrated there over that period. It sent 329 children to Canada from 1935 to 1948 and 276 to Rhodesia from 1946 to 1956 (by the Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial Association, a related but separate organisation).[1] The Fairbridge Society’s sole purpose was child migration. Its rationale throughout was that children from British slums would be better off and healthier in the rural areas of the Empire, that migration would enhance the Empire’s white stock, and in the case of Southern Rhodesia, the ruling white elite in the country.[2] Unlike some other institutions, the Fairbridge Society remained wedded to its migration ethos, even in the wake of outside criticism, and post-War changes in childcare.[3] 

3. The Fairbridge Society no longer exists. The Prince’s Trust, which now has responsibility for the Fairbridge Society archive, has provided a substantial amount of material to the Inquiry. However, as Dame Martina Milburn, the Trust’s Chief Executive, explained, none of the files from the Fairbridge Child Welfare Sub-Committee from 1958-1982 are any longer in the archive, and she believes that they were missing from the archive at the time the Prince’s Trust acquired it.[4] This is obviously regrettable and means that we may well not have had access to material that would have been relevant to the issues we have to consider.

4. The Fairbridge Society received children from parents directly, or from other organisations such as the Children’s Society, on the specific understanding that they were being proposed for migration overseas.[5] 

5. In Australia and Canada, the Fairbridge Society operated its child migration programme by arranging migration through its London committee (Fairbridge UK), and then establishing local committees in receiving states.

6. The Fairbridge Society migrated exclusively to Fairbridge-run institutions, or its related school, Northcote, in Australia, and it was thus reasonable to assume a common purpose and shared aspirations between both “sides” of the migration relationship. However, this did not guarantee common practices and we have seen that on several occasions there were concerns in the UK about the responsibilities and standards of care overseas and that tensions in the relationships arose.[6]

7. Fairbridge UK was responsible for setting out policy and for the appointment and dismissal of Principals, but for practical reasons, the supervision and inspection of operations, the hiring and firing of staff, and the provision of after-care could not be managed from London. This distinction, between policy and operational practice, was described by Professors Constantine and Lynch as “problematic”.[7]

8. While generally the evidence available about the Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial College (RFMC) is much more limited, we understand that it had been set up by a separate body, the London Council for the Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial Association, which selected the children. This Council operated separately from the Fairbridge Society itself and the experts described their relationship as “ambivalent”. We note, however, that once it was announced in September 1956, that no further parties of children would be sent, Fairbridge UK indicated that it would continue to look after the interests of present children until they passed out of the scheme.[8]

9. The Fairbridge Society became a highly regarded operator in the migration programmes and enjoyed the patronage of high-profile individuals including members of the Royal Family. It clearly had a close working relationship with HMG (both the Dominions Office and its successor the Commonwealth Relations Office (CRO) and the Home Office).[9] This plainly worked to the Society’s advantage on occasion: we heard that it appeared to have received advance notice of the contents of the Ross report; that Lord Dodds-Parker (Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and a strong advocate for Fairbridge on the Overseas Migration Board) lobbied the Home Secretary for an increase in funding;[10] and, most pertinently, that the ‘blacklist’ of schools that had been drawn up in 1956 was effectively suspended so that Fairbridge children could be migrated as planned, even to schools on that list.[11] 

10. It was observed at that time that “The reputation in which the Fairbridge organisation has been held in this country – and no doubt in Australia as well – may, we recognise, remove from the sphere of practical politics the possibility of putting the farm schools at Pinjarra and Molong on your blacklist” and the agreement to lift the “stand-still” policy appears to have been driven by a fear of “immediate Parliamentary repercussions since Fairbridge has the means of making itself heard in both Houses of Parliament and to the Public at large” and the possible intervention of HRH the Duke of Gloucester (then Fairbridge Society President).[12]

11. The Fairbridge Society‘s receiving institution in Canada was the Prince of Wales Farm School in British Columbia, Canada (Fairbridge BC) and prior to 1948, children were also sent to another institution at Fintry, BC. In Australia children were sent to Pinjarra, Western Australia; Molong, New South Wales; Tresca, Tasmania; and Drapers Hall, Adelaide; and in Southern Rhodesia, to the RFMC.

12. A total of 11 witnesses gave evidence describing sexual abuse in relation to migration by the Fairbridge Society. David Hill told us that in litigation which was brought in Australia by former Fairbridge child migrants, 160 former child migrants alleged sexual abuse;[13] and that from his research, he estimates that 60% of child migrants sent to Molong had been sexually abused.[14]

2.2.2 What did Fairbridge UK know about alleged sexual abuse of its child migrants and how did it respond?

13. We heard evidence that Fairbridge UK knew of the alleged sexual abuse of child migrants in both Canada and Australia from as early as the late 1930s.

Canada

14. A series of issues concerning alleged sexual abuse had arisen at Fairbridge BC in its period of operation up to 1951.

(i) Duties Masters CM-F219 and Rogers (1938-1943)

15. In March 1938, Duties Master CM-F219 left the school after he had admitted “serious and gross misconduct with...boys” there. After the incident, Harry Logan (Fairbridge BC Principal) was clearly concerned to “avoid talk of scandal as much as possible” and to protect the “good name of Fairbridge from being besmirched by the failure of one of her servants”. The Bishop of Victoria wrote to Gordon Green (Fairbridge UK’s Secretary) suggesting that CM-F219 should have been sent to prison, and that Mr Logan should be replaced, but neither of these events occurred.[15]

16. In July 1943, Duties Master Rogers was convicted of “immoral relations” with Fairbridge boys and imprisoned. He was also suspected of “alarming behaviour towards older girls”. During a previous period of employment, he had been dismissed because of concerns of other staff members about sexual misconduct,[16] and Mr Logan’s decision to re-appoint him had been controversial among the staff and the Canadian Welfare Council. Mr Logan again hoped to avoid a scandal and that the affair would “be viewed in its true light as something which may occur in work of the kind which we are doing at Fairbridge”. The evidence shows that:

a. Mr Logan later explained his decision to re-appoint Mr Rogers by referring to the difficulties in obtaining trained staff (which we see to be a recurring theme in the child migration programmes); and

b. he had obtained several references for Mr Rogers on his re-appointment.

This demonstrates there was some awareness from as far back as the 1940’s of the importance of assessing the quality of staff when recruiting.

17. Fairbridge UK said in February 1943[17] that Mr Rogers’ reappointment was unwise, but that it could not be involved because Duties Master appointments were a matter for the Principal and local Committee. This is another example of the inherent difficulties in an organisation in one country obtaining reassurance that the children in another country were being properly cared for, when the sending institution did not have authority to change the practice of the receiving institution.

18. In January 1944, Sir Charles Hambro (Fairbridge UK’s Chairman) wrote to Mr Logan, stressing that “We cannot sacrifice the children to some adult who creates suspicion of injurious behaviour”, and asking for the implementation of “staff conferences”, which he described as a general custom and something which could be useful for the “dispelling of unfounded suspicion and dissatisfaction”. Mr Green was sent to Canada following the “crisis” to conduct a thorough investigation and to make changes in personnel as necessary.[18] HMG was aware of the Rogers issue, as we explained in Part C.1.

(ii) Isobel Harvey’s report and Fairbridge UK’s response to it (1944-1949)

19. In 1944, Isobel Harvey, Superintendent of Child Welfare for BC, reported concerns that:

a. children who had been harmed by Mr Rogers may harm new arrivals at the school;

b. another Duties Master, CM-F217, was known for “fooling with girls”; and

c. there was a high pregnancy rate among ex-Fairbridge girls.[19] 

20. The evidence suggests that there was a body of professional childcare opinion in BC, of which Ms Harvey was part, that disapproved of institutional care in general. The immediate trigger for her report had been that in January 1944, a disgruntled cottage mother wrote to the CWD to complain about discipline problems at the school. She had appended a list of 28 Fairbridge children who she said were unfit to be at the school, one of whom was described as a “sex pervert” and one as a “sodomite”. Ms Harvey’s report had been based in part on interviews with some of the girls. She noted that CM-F217 had been warned once about his behaviour by the Principal in the hearing of staff members, and there was a suggestion of police involvement.[20] She raised various other concerns about the school.[21] 

21. Fairbridge UK had initially responded defensively and sought to engage diplomatic support by sending the critique of the report to the British High Commissioner in Ottawa and the Dominions Office.[22] 

22. A Joint Committee (made up of representatives from the Provincial Government and from the Fairbridge BC Board) was then established to investigate. The Committee concluded that there had been a failure by Mr Logan to “take immediate and thorough action when reports had been made of suspected major moral delinquency”, and generally that “much greater care should be exercised in the future by those in control of the School to prevent sexual delinquency, which has occurred too much in the past, and has given Fairbridge School such an unfavourable reputation”. It recommended that in order to continue to receive child migrants:

a. suitable staff should be employed, including trained social workers;

b. there should be closer co-operation with the CWD;

c. the Superintendent of Child Welfare should be the guardian of the children; and

d. the Fairbridge BC board should have complete authority.[23]

23. In February 1945, Mr Logan was removed from the school, certain other staff were dismissed, and the constitution was changed to give greater power to the local Board and involve the CWD more in the operation. The new Principal was required to consider all complaints from members of staff and to keep any records relevant to the welfare of children at Fairbridge BC.[24]

24. There were ongoing concerns about sexual relationships between the current and past children at the school and about the high illegitimate pregnancy rate among ex-Fairbridge girls. There was an ongoing debate about whether the school should remain co-educational partly because of a concern about the “boy/girl alliances” that were occurring, and the suggestion that “sexual misdemeanours tend to be perpetrated particularly when older children return to the Farm School and are in frequent correspondence with those at the Farm School”. This debate appears to have led to a relocation of boys to the Fintry school upon reaching adolescence.[25] The concern about the high pregnancy rate among ex-Fairbridge girls had been raised by Ms Harvey and continued post-War.[26]

(iii) Ms Carberry’s report (1949)

25. In December 1949, Ms Carberry, Fairbridge UK’s psychiatric social worker, provided a damning report in which she stated that the high pregnancy rate was “The actual result of life at Fairbridge with its failure to satisfy emotional needs and the repressive attitude of bad Cottage Mothers, together with an inadequate knowledge of sex or in some cases of knowledge gained in the wrong way at Fairbridge or earlier still in life”. She observed that the previous sex problems had not entirely disappeared, that previous experience had affected at least some of the children, and that generally the school “does not fit into child welfare pattern of BC”. She again suggested that “unsatisfactory staff are largely to blame for the present state of affairs”.[27]

26. By that time, the school had, in Mr Green’s words, become “in ill repute” with the Canadian national government, and there was “little doubt” that the British government was “aware of the aggregate success and unsuccess of Canadian Fairbridge children – and in all detail, through ‘child welfare’ network”.[28] Eventually the girls were boarded out, the Fairbridge BC board resigned and receipt of child migrants ceased.[29] In 1951 and 1952, the remaining boys at Fairbridge BC were boarded out and it was closed.

27. The CWD’s criticisms of the school meant that financial support from the Canadian authorities would no longer be forthcoming such that the school was no longer viable.[30] We also note that Mr Green observed in August 1951 that “I know – I admit – B.C. Child Welfare won against Fairbridge but it was Logan’s Fairbridge that they decided to cancel out of British Columbia. And how right they were! Our Society should not have wasted a moment in letting ‘Child Welfare’ know how right they were”. (emphasis in original)[31] 

This body of evidence as to Fairbridge’s experiences in Canada demonstrates that Fairbridge UK understood the need to respond appropriately to reports of child sexual abuse.

By 1945, Fairbridge UK knew that several migrants at Fairbridge BC had been – and potentially were still being – sexually abused.

However, Fairbridge UK failed to examine the wider context of these complaints of sexual abuse and general ill-treatment of children, which it knew about.

Although in some ways Fairbridge UK sought to respond to the issues raised, it did not, for example, implement the recommendation to have trained social workers on the staff. Eventually, it stopped migration and closed the school. 

Australia (pre-1945)

28. Various issues around alleged sexual abuse also arose in the Australian Fairbridge schools, often at the same time as such issues were being considered in Canada.

(i) Mr Beauchamp’s resignation from the Molong school (1940)

29. In 1940, Mr Beauchamp, Molong Principal, resigned amid allegations that he had failed to prevent or intervene in “immoral and perverted practices....on a serious scale”. One of the concerns was that there had been visits by boys at night to a female member of the Principal’s house staff. There were also concerns about inappropriate sexual relations between pupils and “certain homo-sexual offences”. Mr Beauchamp was told to resign, or that the NSW Council would all do so. Fairbridge UK initially refused to accept his resignation and wrote supportively to Mr Beauchamp. In September 1940, the UK High Commissioner intervened and urged Fairbridge UK to reconsider its position, for want of “a very serious scandal” which could lead to the end of migration in NSW.[32] 

30. Ultimately Mr Beauchamp’s resignation stood, and in December 1940, Sir Charles Hambro acknowledged his defects including his lack of judgment in choosing staff. Sir Charles also wrote “We must insist that even if we personally are divided in opinion as to the standard to which we must raise these children, it is certain that we are now compelled to touch a certain level by general demand both public and private. Emigration of children is now only supported upon proof that in the Dominions their prospects are considerably better than they would be in this country. These considerations all hang, in our view, on the quality and equipment of the Principal. If we fall short of what is expected of us on this side we shall, without doubt, lose our place as the rescuers and educators of children”.[33]

(ii) Northcote (1943 to 1944)

31. In 1943, Mr Green had told Lord Grey (Chair of the Northcote Trustees in London) that they would want stronger safeguards in place, including improved communication from the Principal, before sending any more children to Northcote.[34] As we have explained in detail in section C.1, in 1943 and 1944 certain issues arose around alleged sexual abuse of girls at the school, in which the UK High Commissioner became closely involved. The Dominions Office communicated Mr Garnett’s views to Fairbridge UK, in response to which Mr Green said that the Northcote trustees should “realise that schools of this kind cannot be left to run themselves but require constant supervision by all parties responsible for their welfare”.[35] In May 1944, Mr Garnett accompanied Mr Wheeler (the Australian Commonwealth government’s Chief Migration Officer) on an inspection of Northcote, and eventually concluded that “each school ought to be inspected at least once a year on behalf of each Government”,[36] but this did not occur.

32. From this evidence it seems reasonable to suggest that senior staff within the Fairbridge Society were aware of the importance of regular reporting about the welfare of child migrants from the receiving to the sending organisation, and that the absence of such reporting could be indicative of broader failures in institutional management which could put children at greater risk of sexual abuse. The delegation of responsibility to the local committees was only reasonable in the presence of regular reports about welfare and regular inspections.[37] 

33. These sexual abuse issues related to the Northcote school with which Fairbridge Society’s relationship was more distant. Fairbridge UK stopped migrating children there in 1947.[38]

(iii) The Pinjarra dossier, the Kelly report and the Garnett report (1944)

34. In February 1944, a “dossier” of complaints and concerns about the care at and management of Pinjarra was prepared by Gordon Green (Fairbridge UK). This was based on correspondence received from past and present members of staff.[39] In March 1944, Fairbridge UK resolved, following receipt of the dossier, that an immediate investigation into Pinjarra was needed in the interests of the Society, its good name, and the children. However, this was not acted upon, partly because of concern about libel proceedings if the dossier were sent to Fairbridge WA.[40] We have also made reference previously to the report undertaken for the Australian Commonwealth Government by Caroline Kelly, which was highly critical, concluding that a “grave state of affairs existed” such that no further children should be sent to Pinjarra until there was an overhaul of the administration. 

35. Then, in October 1944, Mr Garnett prepared a detailed report on several of the schools, which concluded that:

a. the only aftercare provision was by correspondence;

b. Fairbridge UK was unable to exercise any effective control over the Australian Societies, but was obliged to “account to the parents or former guardians of the [child migrants] for the subsequent welfare of all children sent to Australia under the Society’s auspices”;

c. selection of the right Principal was of the “utmost importance” (but Fairbridge UK should abandon its attempts to  do so by insisting on its power to appoint/dismiss);

d. more attractive conditions should be offered to cottage mothers; and

e. staff should be strengthened by appointment of those with qualifications in the care and training of children, or at least one who could supervise the cottage mothers[41].

36. In August 1945, Mr Green provided a commentary on Mr Garnett’s report. He noted that:

a. Fairbridge UK had long been aware of defective staffing at Pinjarra;

b. Fairbridge WA had been resistant to “London’s attempts to install and maintain competent directing staff”; 

c. Fairbridge UK had been defeated in attempting to retain sufficient control over Pinjarra and Molong so as to implement its own views or those of Mr Garnett in respect of the care and training of children, if these were contrary to those of local committees.[42] 

37. This followed detailed discussion within Fairbridge UK about its ability to manage the local Australian Committees. In the course of these, Mr Green had observed that: the absence of effective control by London meant that “the condition upon which the contributions of the UK Government are made are....unfulfilled”; and Fairbridge UK “fails the children it sends to Australia unless it retain[s] power over their proper care until they are of an age to look after themselves”. He again referred to the appointment of specialists to the staff.[43]

(iv) Allegations against Mr Woods, the new Molong Principal (1945 and 1946)

38. In late 1945/early 1946 the Fairbridge NSW Council informed Fairbridge UK that “one of the Fairbridge girls had made very serious allegations against Woods, of sexual misbehaviour towards her, which were brought to the notice of the [CWD] by a local parson who had heard of the alleged incidents”. It appears that the police were involved, but that the CWD report later exonerated Mr Woods, expressed high regard for Fairbridge and thought that the allegations “can only be put down to the sexual stirrings of a hysterical adolescent mind”.[44] 

Given the conclusions of the police and Child Welfare Department, and their distance from the detail of the matter, the Inquiry can understand why Fairbridge UK responded as it did to this particular issue.

However the pre-War issues that had arisen in Australia should have increased awareness within Fairbridge UK of the risks of child sexual abuse; and yet they apparently failed to see a parallel with the similar issues in Canada.

Australia (post-1945)

(i) Further allegations against Mr Woods (1948 and 1949)

39. In early 1948, several allegations were made against Mr Woods, relating to allegations of physical abuse, some books with a sexual content and some “other matters too dreadful to mention”. Fairbridge NSW asked the CWD to investigate and informed Fairbridge UK. Sir Charles Hambro replied on 8 March 1948, that: “Having seen the school in operation I cannot believe that there is any real basis for these allegations against Woods, and I shall not accept them until proven beyond doubt, but where there is smoke there may be fire, and it is our duty to make quite sure that the fire is completely extinguished. You could not have taken a wiser step than to do what you did”.[45] The information provided to Fairbridge UK raised a suspicion of sexually inappropriate behaviour by and overseen by Mr Woods, albeit not directly of sexual abuse by him.

40. The CWD’s Mr Heffernen spent three days at the school investigating the allegations and in a report dated 5 March 1948, concluded that none of the charges were substantiated. Mr Heffernen, on medical advice, accepted Mr Wood’s explanation in respect of the books and concluded that there was nothing to suggest an improper interest. He also felt convinced that “there was no substance in any suggestion that Mr Woods viewed any sex misdemeanours lightly”. The “other matters” included a concern about improper use of a vessel of urine. Mr Heffernen found the replies of a child who had been questioned not convincing and noted that “The same lad was questioned regarding alleged sex misbehaviour in the bake house. In regard this he says ‘we just suspected it’. When asked why he did not report the matter to Mr Woods he said ‘I couldn’t very well because I couldn’t prove anything’”.[46]

41. Other allegations against Mr Woods included that he had made a boy’s eyes bleed by assaulting him and had beaten boys with a hockey stick. As to the first allegation Mr Woods had admitted hitting a boy over the head with his open hand and kicking him on the buttock with his knee. Mr Heffernen concluded that Mr Woods was “unwise” to use this punishment, but that it did not amount to excessive punishment or serious assault. As to the hockey stick allegation, Mr Woods said he had not used it since he had been instructed by the Chairman to desist from doing so. As there remained gossip about the hockey stick and it could cause injury to someone, Mr Heffernen concluded that the instruction that Mr Woods should stop using it was well advised.[47]Although these incidents amounted to physical and not sexual abuse, we consider they are relevant to the overall conditions at Molong, especially because they were carried out by the person in charge.

42. On 11 March 1948, the Fairbridge NSW Council resolved that it was satisfied that “the Principal is entirely cleared of any charges which would affect the welfare of the children under his charge”.[48] On 16 March 1948, a letter was sent to Fairbridge UK attaching Mr Heffernen’s report.[49] The Chairman of the NSW Council noted that Mr Woods’ use of a hockey stick seemed “repellent” and that the bursar had agreed to give his resignation. Fairbridge UK’s reply, dated 8 April 1948, noted that it was gratifying that the charges were unfounded and that it was a good thing that the “weakness” of the Bursar was discovered so soon, and it enclosed a letter of support for Mr Woods.[50]

If looked at in isolation, it was reasonable for Fairbridge UK to rely upon the Child Welfare Department’s investigation in this specific matter. However, the description of Mr Woods having been “entirely cleared” seems erroneous in the circumstances. Moreover the failure to consider this report in the context of previous allegations prevented Fairbridge from gaining a proper understanding of the risk of child sexual abuse. 

(ii) “Interference” with a female child migrant during her journey to Australia on the ‘Largs Bay’ ship (1950)

43. In May 1950, Fairbridge NSW wrote to Fairbridge UK with a note from Mr Woods indicating that CM-A54 had been “interfered with” on the ship by a member of the crew, but that this did not “appear to have left any mark on her mind”.[51] Mr Vaughan’s reply focussed on whether she had been properly selected for migration, noting that CM-A54 was “somewhat mentally retarded”. No specific mention was made of the sexual abuse allegation, albeit that some effort did appear to have been made to ascertain whether she had been affected by events on the ship.[52]

This correspondence provides some evidence of a recognition that for an adult to “interfere” with a vulnerable young girl was unacceptable and was something which an institution with a caring responsibility for that child should be concerned about.

44. There is also evidence that at around this time, Fairbridge UK became aware of the sexual abuse issues at the Barnardo’s school at Picton. We have seen a letter from Nigel Fisher MP to Mr Vaughan dated 21 July 1958, indicating that he did not think it sensible to push for a proposed adjournment debate on child migration because he had been told of a “really rather bad case of sodomy between a teacher and boys at one of the Barnardo’s Schools in Australia”.[53]

(iii) Departure of Mr Phillips, Aftercare Officer at Molong, allegedly “amid rumours of sexual abuse of children” (1962)

45. David Hill has given evidence that Mr Phillips left his role as Molong Aftercare Office in 1962, “amid rumours of sexual abuse of children”.[54] Allegations of sexual abuse have been made against Mr Phillips by CM-A82 and by Edward Scott, but the Inquiry has not received any documents about his departure from Molong.[55] This may well be because the hiring and firing of Aftercare Officers, at this stage, was done entirely by Fairbridge NSW without the involvement of Fairbridge UK. However, we have no evidence that Fairbridge UK had knowledge of any sexual abuse allegations against Mr Phillips.

(iv) Dismissal of Mr Woods from Molong (1965)

46. Mr Woods was ultimately dismissed in 1965. The correspondence around the time of his dismissal was to the effect that for some 15 years the NSW Council had had an anxiety about how he had been running the school: for example, the CWD had expressed concerns about a child’s head being put down the toilet to correct her habit of bedwetting; there had been complaints about caning and whipping and denying children food other than dry bread for a week as a punishment; and that he had caused a scandal by seeking to re-marry too soon after the death of his wife. The Inquiry did not hear any evidence that in those 15 years any further allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour had been made against Mr Woods.

The fact that the New South Wales Council had wider concerns about Mr Woods for a long time, which were not fully shared with London, is a further example of the systemic difficulty in trying to manage an institution, and an individual, from such distance.It is also a further example of the problems in examining each incident individually, without taking an overview of the incidents concerned. 

(v) Departure of Jack Newberry, Molong, allegedly following “a series of allegations of sexual abuse” (1969)

47. In January 1967, Jack Newberry (previously a garden supervisor and then Aftercare Officer) was confirmed as Acting Principal and Welfare Officer at Molong.[56] In April 1969, he was informed by Fairbridge NSW that although certain “charges” made against him had been found not substantiated, he was felt to be too old to be Principal.[57] The only evidence about the nature of the charges comes from David Hill, who notes that Mr Newberry was “investigated following a series of allegations of sexual abuse and forced to retire” and that “Stories circulating about Newberry’s sexual perversities would be confirmed by a number of Fairbridge girls years later”.[58] It may well have been, as Professors Constantine and Lynch suggested, that Fairbridge NSW was trying to “get rid of somebody without causing adverse publicity to Fairbridge”.[59] However, such evidence as we have suggests that Fairbridge UK acquiesced in the decision to dismiss that had been made by the Fairbridge NSW, but did not know of any sexual allegations against Mr Newberry.[60] 

Rhodesia

48. The Inquiry has seen evidence that a deputation of children who had been sexually abused by Padre Dean at the RFMC reported the issue to the headmaster, which enraged him and led to their being beaten and warned against spreading malicious lies.[61] However, we have no evidence as to whether these allegations of sexual abuse or any others were known about by Fairbridge UK and if so how they were responded to, and so we cannot make findings on these issues.

Conclusions

The pre-War problems arising in Canada should have indicated to Fairbridge UK that the child migrant scheme exposed children to the risk of sexual abuse. 

This should have led to a more robust response when Fairbridge UK came to know of a series of allegations of sexual abuse of its post-War child migrants in Australia. However, Fairbridge UK failed to respond appropriately to the pattern of the information it was receiving about sexual abuse.

2.2.3 Did Fairbridge UK take sufficient care to protect its child migrants from sexual abuse?

Canada and Australia

49. There is no doubt that Fairbridge UK was aware of the 1947 Home Office memorandum which set out the Home Office’s expectations in relation to the care of child migrants (see further at section B.3 above), as it had arisen in the context of discussions specifically between the Home Office and Fairbridge. Moreover in March 1948, Sir Charles Hambro of Fairbridge UK accepted that the memorandum “like the Curtis Report, was an ideal to which all those who had charge of children should aspire”.[62] 

50. As to the selection aspects of the memorandum, there is evidence that large numbers of applicants for migration to Canada with Fairbridge UK were turned down.[63] The 1951 WGPW report noted that Fairbridge UK had little by way of a selection process for the children it migrated, but later employed a psychiatric social worker as part of its selection process, which may have been part of Fairbridge UK’s desire to bring its practices into line with Home Office expectations.[64] Parents would generally sign a consent form authorising the Fairbridge Society to emigrate the child and exercise all the functions of a guardian, although there is some doubt as to whether consent was always obtained.[65]

51. Fairbridge UK did try to set general policy for implementation in its schools.[66] However, it did not always manage this in practice: by way of example Fairbridge UK considered in 1950 that it must insist on a maximum of ten children per cottage, increasing to 12 in an emergency, because “a cottage mother could not give individual attention to any child while she had 14 in her charge”,[67] but Fairbridge NSW opposed this and did not implement it at Molong. Cottage numbers also remained unduly high at Pinjarra.[68]

52. Fairbridge UK had long had responsibility for the appointment of the Principals,[69] in relation to which some checks apparently were carried out.[70]The Fairbridge Society did also have local Committees which advised the Principals and carried out some local oversight. However, there is evidence that they were not “competent to advise...in the care and education and training of the children”: one of the conclusions Mr Garnett reached in his 1944 report was that at both Molong and Northcote, the local bodies had little experience.[71] If Dallas Paterson’s allegations of sexually abusive behaviour by a member of the NSW Committee and a relative of another member (as described in section C.1 above) were justified, it would obviously be a concern that those who were meant to be ensuring the welfare of the children were themselves involved in sexual abuse.

53. As to the quality of the staff, the balance of the evidence we have seen is that during the migration period Fairbridge UK did not ensure that its schools employed “staff of good calibre[72] or that there was proper supervision of the staff.

54. As to post-migration supervision, Fairbridge UK’s process of ensuring that it received reports on its children seemed to improve over time, and it appeared to be trying to meet the Home Office’s expectations in this regard.[73] As a result of an agreement in May 1948, a Fairbridge Principal was obliged to send six-monthly reports to the Fairbridge Society in London on all children in residence, and aftercare reports on ‘Old Fairbridgians’ under the age of 21.[74] Professor Constantine’s view is that such reports were generally sent back to Fairbridge in London on a six-monthly basis.[75] We have seen some reports on individual children both while at school and once they had left and were working[76] and we agree with Professors Constantine and Lynch that these do seem to evidence some knowledge of the particular child.[77] However, it does not appear that they were consistently provided. The Inquiry notes, for example, that it was recorded in 1958 that there was “great difficulty” in obtaining such reports from Mr Woods at Molong.[78]

55. Other than these individual reports, there were some school inspections conducted by the local Fairbridge Committee members,[79] but on David Hill’s evidence these were carefully “staged” affairs.[80] In light of the evidence about the culture in place at the schools, the Inquiry accepts this characterisation of the inspection visits.

56. There was also some involvement of the local CWDs which acted as guardians for the Fairbridge children. However, there is no evidence that any CWD reports were regularly provided to Fairbridge UK about conditions at the schools. There is also a suggestion on the evidence that the role of the CWD in the Fairbridge schools was likely to be “light touch”, because of the high esteem in which the Fairbridge Society was held.[81] Moreover, such routine visits as there were by the CWD appear to have been very limited: of all the former migrants David Hill has spoken to, only one could recall a CWD visit and spoke about it in disparaging terms.[82] 

Overall the Inquiry accepts the analysis of Professors Constantine and Lynch that in summary:

a. there is no evidence that Fairbridge UK engaged in careful selection of staff or ensured close supervision of staff;

b. Fairbridge UK did not always ensure systematic, rigorous and frequent inspections; and

c. it failed overall to ensure a culture in which children would feel able to approach staff to discuss any experiences of sexual abuse.[83]

57. There is also a large and what we consider to be persuasive tranche of evidence showing that although there are some positive reports about the Fairbridge schools,[84] there were many contemporaneous expressions of concern about the standards of care being provided and the systems in place at the schools, as follows:

a. On at least two occasions former Fairbridge staff members (Lucy ColeHamilton in 1947[85] and Dallas Paterson in 1948[86]) saw fit to write to the Home Office and express concerns about the treatment of the children in the schools;

b. In June 1950, Miss Randall (Deputy Secretary of Middlemore Homes) noted “recent unsatisfactory opinions and reports made by English visitors” to the Fairbridge schools in Australia and suggested that such visits should be discouraged;[87]

c. In August 1950, the Secretary of State, Patrick Walker, was reported to be “far from impressed” with conditions at Pinjarra after he had visited, and felt that because these were British children, the British authorities should have more of a role in issues such as choice of Principal, and inspection of the schools;[88]

d. In January 1951, Mr Garnett observed that post-War there should have been the appointment at Pinjarra of a “good Principal” and “an improved class of cottage mothers”, agreed that the High Commission should be consulted about the appointment of the Principal, and noted that they did have the right to inspect the schools;[89]

e. In June 1951, Mr Moss was apparently concerned about the number of children per cottage at Molong, which Fairbridge UK said it would address with the Home Office.[90] However, there is also evidence that he had given the impression that while he was “not impressed with...Molong”, his report would be “watered down”;[91]

f. In August 1951, Mr Hicks (NSW CWD) stated that in his view, the arrangements at Molong were “below the standards of modern childcare” and that the inspections had in the main been “conducted tours”;[92]

g. In early 1952, Mr Moss noted that there was no satisfactory scheme for the children to have outside contact from Pinjarra and again expressed concern about the difficulty in obtaining and retaining suitable house mothers[93], such that adequate supervision including by the appointment of a female supervisor of the mothers was essential;[94]

h. In March 1956, Mr Ross’s confidential notes recorded that: (i) Molong was isolated, with uncomfortable cottages, and children ill-prepared for future work;[95] and (ii) Pinjarra was also isolated, with children doing a considerable amount of domestic work, and a Principal who showed “a lack of appreciation of current thought on child care” and did not recognise the value of outside contacts;[96] and

i. in the discussion around the post-Ross “blacklist” in mid-1956, Molong and Pinjarra were both in ‘Category A’, i.e. “not fit to receive more migrants, for the present at least”. It was noted that some establishments in category A were “so wrong in the principles on which they are run that they would need a complete metamorphosis to bring them into Category C” (i.e. those which “pass muster”) and that “well-informed opinion would condemn [the schools] from the point of view of the accepted principles of child care”.[97]

58. Fairbridge UK did not accept Ross’s findings in the public report. It saw no reason to depart from its system and process, and received some support in this position from Australian government officials.[98] In July 1957, it came to a three-year agreement with the CRO[99] which reflected the terms we have seen in other Outfits and Maintenance agreements. This included a provision by which, if the Secretary of State were not satisfied with the Fairbridge Society scheme, he was able to give three months’ notice to terminate obligations. 

59. David Hill gave evidence that despite the above agreement, for many years (including the period in which he was at Molong between 1959 and 1961), none of the agreed changes were introduced and Molong continued to operate below the expectations set out in the agreement. He said that staff were overwhelmingly unqualified, inexperienced and totally unsuited to caring for children, that staff included sadistic cottage mothers, and there was no fostering out. His evidence is borne out by the following:

a. In 1957/1958 the CWD’s Mr Hicks remained concerned about the Fairbridge schools. Two children had absconded and complained that a cottage mother (CM-F113) used the cane freely. In February 1958, Mr Hicks informed the Australian Department of Immigration that he was not satisfied with Fairbridge’s explanations regarding her conduct. He also said that the cottage mothers had insufficient supervision, the staff were generally very average, and ““Fairbridge does not welcome any suggestion for improvement and apparently resents any inference that there may be matters which require attention”.[100] Fairbridge UK was aware of “troubles in New South Wales” that “must be known to the Child Welfare Department” and around this time expressed a concern that its farm schools were in conformity with modern child welfare standards;[101]

b. While Mr Hill was at Molong (between 1959 and the early 1960s) Matron Guyler, who had worked at Knockholt, came to Molong and was horrified by what she saw, as was his own mother when she visited, and other parents including one who said the children had been treated worse than he had been as a prisoner of war;[102]

c. In November 1963, the mother of two children at Molong withdrew her children and made a written complaint to the CWD. A cottage mother (CM‑F108) had admitted flushing a child’s head down the toilet to correct the child’s bedwetting, and a riding crop had been found which the children said she whipped them with. The CWD expressed concern that Mr Woods had said he did not feel bound to account to the child’s mother, and it felt the need to reiterate its advice that the school “should give earnest consideration to the need to regularize the forms of methods used in punishment and deprivation[103] (and according to CM-A26, a former child migrant, CM-F108 remained employed three years later);[104] 

d. In October/November 1964, Fairbridge UK itself concluded that Molong was very unsatisfactory, not well run and too far from Sydney, and that it should close as soon as possible. They noted that “the Child Welfare Authorities in NSW should be brought into the picture especially as they were aware of the complaints which had been made…” and that Fairbridge UK should tell Fairbridge NSW that they were “concerned about the treatment of children there and knew that the Child Welfare Authorities in NSW were too”;[105] 

e. By 1969, it was noted that Molong was “run down and shabby[106] and in 1970, the CWD Director’s view was that “there was still a considerable amount which would have to be done if the establishment was to reach the standard required by the [CWD]”;[107]

f. In 1971, Fairbridge NSW wrote to Fairbridge UK expressing the view that the “whole operation has to be investigated from top to bottom” at Molong, and it needed to be closed down and replaced with a small farm school closer to Sydney, not least because of difficulties with the Principal, Mr Coutts;[108] and

g. In early 1981, a former Pinjarra cottage mother reported that she was “particularly concerned with the treatment of the children by unqualified members of Staff and also of the appalling conditions they are living under, which are well below Australian and English standards”. She was also concerned about whether an Aftercare Officer was appropriately qualified, was justified in insisting that children should only raise concerns with him, and had the medical qualifications to carry out physical examinations of teenage girls.[109] 

60. It therefore seems clear to the Inquiry that the conditions in the Fairbridge schools remained far below what the Home Office agreements expected.

61. It is also clear to us that expressions of concern about the care given to child migrants continued after Fairbridge UK ceased to send children to Australia. Nevertheless, the children who had previously been migrated remained in situ and thus would have continued to have been affected by adverse conditions.

In light of all this evidence, the Inquiry concludes that Fairbridge UK did not take sufficient care to protect its child migrants to Canada and Australia from the risk of sexual abuse.

62. The Inquiry accepts the evidence of Professors Constantine and Lynch that four factors inhibited Fairbridge UK’s ability to implement appropriate protection for children (which would have included protection from sexual abuse) namely:

a. personal loyalties of Fairbridge UK towards its Principals appointed overseas;

b. the inherent difficulty in closely monitoring geographically isolated institutions (although we note that this applies to child migration as a whole);

c. unattractive working conditions for staff making it more difficult to operate a rigorous selection process; and

d. Fairbridge UK’s unquestioned support for the principle of child migration, making it difficult for officers to question whether the sending of vulnerable children overseas might in itself pose significant risks for exposure to abuse.[110]

Rhodesia

63. We know that the WGPW approved of the selection procedures operated for the Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial College (RFMC).[111] John Moss proposed in 1954, that greater checks be made in respect of the private households taking RFMC pupils for weekends/holiday breaks. However, the communication on this topic appears to have been solely between UK and Rhodesian government officials and the RFMC Warden, rather than any Fairbridge representative in England and Wales.[112] Overall, the Inquiry does not have enough evidence to determine whether or not sufficient care was taken to protect children migrated to the RFMC from the risk of sexual abuse.

2.2.4 What has Fairbridge done in the post-migration period?

64. The Fairbridge Society ceased involvement in child migration in the early 1980s and its objects were changed to reflect that in 1983. In 1987, the Fairbridge Society was replaced by the Fairbridge Drake Society and then became simply Fairbridge in 1992. It merged with the Prince’s Trust in 2013.[113]

65. Dr Humphreys referred in her evidence to the parts of her book where she describes Fairbridge’s responses to her efforts to bring the alleged mistreatment of child migrants (including allegations of sexual abuse) into the public consciousness. For example:

a. In response to the article, Lost Children of the Empire,[114] which appeared in the Observer newspaper in July 1987 (and which included allegations of sexual abuse), Stephen Carden, Fairbridge Society Chairman, wrote that the kind of advertisement she had placed in the Sydney newspaper would be likely to generate responses mainly from “malcontents” and that the article “completely ignored” the fact that “the vast majority of the 2,500 children sent to Australia by this society will be eternally grateful for the opportunity they were given”;[115]

b. When she attended the 50th anniversary of the Old Fairbridgians Association, Judy Hutchinson from Fairbridge said to her that she “..must realise that everything that was in those Observer articles was untrue and you must acknowledge now, before you go any further, that it was all untrue”;[116] and 

c. She also reports that after the Australian screening of the Lost Children of the Empire documentary Fairbridge’s Caroline McGregor sought to defend the schemes by saying “....attitudes to children were very different, so to a large extent we are talking about children who would have been institutionalized for most of their young lives anyway”.[117]

66. In July 2007, at the time of the publication of David Hill’s book, The Forgotten Children, Fairbridge issued a “Q&A” sheet to all Managers. This stressed the fact that Mr Hill had only interviewed 40 of the 1,053 Molong pupils, and made the point that only some had made allegations of child sexual abuse. In response to the specific question “Does the Fairbridge UK archive contain any cases of abuse”, the prepared answer was that the Liverpool archive “does not contain any cases of child abuse at Molong or any other service in Australia”.[118]That is plainly incorrect in light of the evidence we have referred to above. When pressed on this issue, Mr Haynes, Director of Fairbridge from 1993 to 2008, was unable to explain why a misleading statement was going to be put out to the press.[119] Moreover he did not appear to see the difficulty with Fairbridge apparently continuing to maintain that position despite the fact that an internal report by John Anderson, prepared in August 2007, had referred to some cases of physical abuse in the archive.[120]

67. The Q&A document also asserted that Molong was not under the control of Fairbridge UK but was from 1948 “independently managed by an Australian body and not accountable to the UK”.[121] This is a position which has been repeated elsewhere, including in written and oral evidence before us from Nigel Haynes.[122] In light of the evidence that Fairbridge UK set policy for the schools, including Molong, was involved in matters such as appointment of the Principal, and that its members visited the schools and were clearly aware of the conditions in the schools, we characterise the statement that Molong was “not accountable” to London as plainly wrong, and at worst knowingly so. It is clear to us that what Mr Haynes had been told in this respect was wrong.

68. Moreover we heard from Mr Hill that during the litigation against Fairbridge in Australia, the reverse position – that London was responsible for the Fairbridge operations in Australia – was adopted.[123] It seems to us that both sides of the Fairbridge organisation were trying to distance themselves from responsibility. 

The responses of Fairbridge UK to allegations of sexual abuse of child migrants made in the post-migration period have been inadequate. Fairbridge UK denied responsibility, and was at best wilfully blind to the evidence of sexual abuse contained within its own archives. This stance has caused significant distress to child migrants.

69. Fairbridge did put former child migrants in direct contact with its archive held by Liverpool University.[124] However, there is evidence that until the Prince’s Trust took over the archive, there were limits placed on access to the material within it,[125] although, Mr Haynes had no recollection of this.[126]

70. Beyond this Fairbridge has provided no support or reparations to former child migrants alleging sexual abuse. Fairbridge has offered no counselling, financial support or reparation to former child migrants[127] because, according to Mr Haynes, its charitable funds had to be used for its current core work.[128] However this is not a proper justification for failing to finance some support and reparations to former child migrants alleging sexual abuse, as other institutions have done.

71. Fairbridge as an organisation has made no apology, and there is evidence that it made a conscious decision not to apologise “as it did not consider that it had anything to apologise for”.[129] Mr Haynes had no recollection of such a discussion taking place within Fairbridge, and made a personal apology in evidence before us.[130] Dame Martina Milburn of the Prince’s Trust told the Inquiry that at the time of the merger, they had not been given the “full truth” by Fairbridge of the number of former child migrants complaining about their treatment, but had simply established that there were no legal claims.","url":"","text":""}] At the conclusion of her evidence, Dame Martina stated that Fairbridge’s approach (in never having apologised) was “absolutely shocking”. On behalf of the Prince’s Trust, she apologised “for the hurt and suffering experienced by victims and survivors” and indicated that the Trust would now be considering whether it should still use the Fairbridge name.[131]

72. We heard that a class action was brought in Australia. Fairbridge NSW issued an apology[132] and paid AUD $24 million, which David Hill understands led to payments of AUD $30,000 to $90,000 to former child migrants. He was very critical of the “disgraceful” manner in which Fairbridge NSW conducted the litigation, and said what was needed was a full redress scheme that included an apology, support and counselling, and monetary payments.[133]

Over many years Fairbridge repeatedly failed to offer any support or reparations to its former child migrants who had suffered sexual abuse. 

 

References

Footnotes

  1. 112 children were also sent by the Fairbridge Society’s associated organisation, the Northcote Trust, to Fairbridge or Northcote schools in Australia between 1947 and 1965; and an apparently limited number of children were also sent by the Fairbridge Society to Australia after 1965. See generally Constantine 12 July 2017 51-5.
  2. Constantine 10 March 2017 8-9; 12 July 2017 50-1.
  3. Constantine 12 July 2017 64-5.
  4. Milburn 12 July 2017 13-14.
  5. Constantine 12 July 2017 54-55.
  6. Constantine 12 July 2017 55-6.
  7. EWM000438_007-8 (paragraph 2.9) and Constantine 12 July 2017 81-87.
  8. Constantine 10 March 10-11; PRT000488.
  9. Constantine 12 July 2017 84.
  10. Constantine 10 March 2017 110-112 and 12 July 2017 58-64; Hill 20 July 2017 97-99.
  11. Constantine 12 July 2017 165-169.
  12. CMT000366_001, _002, _003, _004; CMT000404 – We note that there is no evidence to suggest that the Duke of Gloucester did ever intervene.
  13. Hill 20 July 2017 92.
  14. Hill 8 March 2017 106-107.
  15. Constantine 12 July 2017 88-92; PRT000162_001-002.
  16. PRT000150_003 – later note about Rogers’ conviction states “Suspicions had been cast upon Rogers in this regard during the period of his previous employment at the Farm School…”.
  17. After his reappointment but before his arrest.
  18. Constantine 12 July 2017 101-108; PRT000150; PRT000512_002-014; PRT000157_001-002, 003-004; PRT000158; PRT000159; PRT000160_001, _002, _003; PRT000175; PRT000185.
  19. INQ000170_001-010.
  20. Skidmore 9 March 2017 166-177; Constantine 10 March 2017 12-13; 12 July 2017 124-128; INQ000170_008; PRT000515; INQ000170_007; EWM000122_017.
  21. She referred to poor food provision, clothing and dirtiness, over discipline (whipping, strapping and continual shouting at children), quick turnover of cottage mothers and a lack of records. She noted a “feeling of helplessness”: INQ000170_009-010.
  22. PRT000510; EWM000122_017; EWM000122_020-021.
  23. PRT000514_001-004; PRT000513; PRT000175; PRT000512_019-020.
  24. Constantine 12 July 2017 131; PRT000146; PRT000174 and EWM000122_020-021.
  25. Constantine 12 July 2017 129; PRT000179; PRT000180_001-003; PRT000154; PRT000505; PRT000174; PRT000184; PRT000512_012-013; PRT000173.
  26. Constantine 12 July 2017 140-143; PRT000058; PRT000057_001-004; PRT000184_001-005.
  27. Constantine 12 July 2017 160-161; PRT000184_013-014.
  28. PRT000391.
  29. PRT000184_006-13.
  30. PRT000501_017; PRT000501_019.
  31. PRT000480.
  32. Constantine 12 July 2017 93-101 and 133; INQ000044; INQ000046; INQ000048; INQ000049; INQ000050; INQ000051; INQ000107; INQ000109; INQ000111; INQ000112; INQ000113; INQ000114; PRT000162_001-002; PRT000273; PRT000274_001-008; PRT000276_001. There had been some earlier concerns about him, including that he had sent a “troubled” boy from Molong to the Salvation Army Home at Riverside with a “comparatively unknown” man escorting him but he remained in post at that time: INQ000052; INQ000053; INQ000115 and INQ000116.
  33. PRT000273_001-006; INQ000118_026.
  34. EWM000438_020, footnote 76.
  35. EWM000438_020, footnote 74.
  36. Constantine 12 July 2017 115-117; EWM000395; EWM000400_001-002, _003-005; EWM000372.
  37. As set out below, Fairbridge UK acknowledged at the time that it could only fulfil its responsibilities if it retained control over the care of child migrants after arriving in Australia, as they could not transfer their responsibilities for the care and placement of the children: PRT000216_046-052; PRT000217_027.
  38. 5 In July-August 1947, it was agreed that Fairbridge UK would cease to migrate children to Northcote on the basis that the children had to have continuity of personal care and Fairbridge had to be responsible for that: PRT000359_003-004.
  39. EWM000438_016.
  40. PRT000216_048.
  41. Constantine 12 July 2017 121-123; PRT000217_020-030; EWM000438_005 (paragraph 2.5).
  42. PRT000217_007.
  43. PRT000217_025; PRT000217_031; PRT000216_046-055.
  44. Constantine 12 July 2017 135-7; PRT000299_003-004; PRT000299_005 – the Fairbridge NSW Committee had apparently not believed the allegations from the beginning, but had been ordered to allow an enquiry, presumably by the local CWD.
  45. PRT000295
  46. Constantine 12 July 2017 148-154; PRT000294_002-005
  47. Constantine 12 July 2017 148-154; PRT000294_002-005
  48. PRT000294_007
  49. PRT000294_009-010
  50. PRT000294_011-013
  51. PRT000517_001-002, _003.
  52. Constantine 12 July 2017 161-163; 173-175; PRT000302; EWM000438_021 paragraph 5.21.
  53. Constantine 21 July 2017 125-127; PRT000597_003.
  54. EWM000290.
  55. Constantine 12 July 2017 169.
  56. INQ000062
  57. INQ000057
  58. EWM000290_002; Hill 20 July 2017 91. He also described the evidence of one female former child migrant that she had been abused by Mr Newberry from the age of 6: Hill 20 July 2017 93-94
  59. 387 Constantine 12 July 2017 168-169
  60. PRT000081_023-025
  61. INQ000176; see also INQ000177
  62. PRT000501_005.
  63. Constantine 10 March 2015.
  64. EWM000014; PRT000501_015; Constantine 12 July 2017 66-67.
  65. EWM000005_119; Constantine 12 July 2017 67-69.
  66. In December 1947, for example, Fairbridge UK agreed that it would have “unbroken responsibility and authority over the management and welfare of the children” in NSW and direct policy, and it was also agreed that Pinjarra would be managed by Board of Governors who were responsible to Fairbridge UK and bound by an agreement to follow the “new Fairbridge principles” (PRT000137_001-005).
  67. INQ000120.
  68. By July 1958 Fairbridge UK noted that there were still 14 children per cottage at Molong and 12 at Pinjarra (PRT000033_003), and there were still issues in this regard at Molong in 1960 (PRT000283_001-003).
  69. This role dated back at least as far as 1947: Hill 20 July 2017 101-102.
  70. We have seen a copy of the agreement made with the Principal of Pinjarra in 1948 (PRT000373_011); correspondence between Fairbridge UK and Fairbridge NSW about Mr Woods’ appointment at Molong in 1950 (PRT000373_008); and correspondence showing Fairbridge UK indicating to Fairbridge NSW that they did not consider a prospective Pinjarra Principal suitable, due to the results of certain checks and the fact that the and his wife had not worked with children before (PRT000131).
  71. CMT000374.
  72. Albeit that this may have improved in the later years, given that by 1980 we have seen reference to a preference for cottage mothers with a childcare certificate and experience: PRT000337_026.
  73. Generally it appears that Fairbridge sought to work with the Home Office to meet its expectations more than other institutions, albeit that it did not always agree with what was being expected: Constantine 12 July 2017 69-81; 84.
  74. PRT000373_011
  75. Constantine 12 July 2017 70
  76. For example CMT000461_001-004
  77. Constantine 12 July 2017 78-79.
  78. PRT000072_120.
  79. EWM000438_005 (paragraph 2.1).
  80. Hill 20 July 2017 111-112.
  81. See correspondence from 1946 in which T H E Heyes (Australian Secretary of Department of Immigration) observed to H Best (Ministry of Tourist Activities and Immigration) that: “With such a highly regarded and reputable organisation as the Fairbridge Farm Schools, New South Wales, the supervision which the State Authority will need to exercise as to the manner in which it carries out its custodianship will be nominal” [emphasis added]: CMT000389.
  82. Hill 20 July 2017 110-111.
  83. Constantine 12 July 2017 175-177.
  84. See, for example, the reports from members of the London Committee in April 1954 (PRT000486-487); May 1957; (PRT000027_006-009, 012, 014); June 1960 (PRT000284_001-014); January 1961 PRT000521); and 1965 (PRT000067).
  85. Constantine 12 July 2017 144-147; CMT000380.
  86. Constantine 19 July 2017 101/13 – 102/6; EWM000438_018.
  87. BMC000046_
  88. CMT000390.
  89. CMT000388.
  90. PRT000213_001-004.
  91. Hill 20 July 2017 104-105; INQ000155.
  92. Hill 20 July 2017 106-110; INQ000155.
  93. He noted that this was a general problem in Australia, particularly in a rural location. Mr Moss reiterated the need for trained staff when in November 1953, he met the CVOCE, of which the Fairbridge Society was a member: PRT000351_002- 005.
  94. CMT000391. Mr Ball (then Pinjarra Principal), concluded that this was unwarranted and that cottage mothers would be unwilling to be supervised (PRT000207).
  95. INQ000078.
  96. INQ000076.
  97. CMT000366.
  98. INQ000073; INQ000098; INQ000075.
  99. Hill 20 July 2017 113-116; PRT000028_009-011.
  100. INQ000125. It was also noted that the children thought that there was no point in complaining to Mr Woods, as such complaints would be brushed aside: INQ000122.
  101. PRT000031; PRT000033_007.
  102. Hill 20 July 2017 119-121; 123-124.
  103. PRT000065_008-11; PRT000110; PRT000123.
  104. CM-A26 7 March 2017 146/13-23.
  105. PRT000520; PRT000072_231.
  106. INQ000055.
  107. INQ000054.
  108. PRT000243_001-006.
  109. Constantine 12 July 2017 171-175; PRT000374; PRT000376; PRT000531-535.
  110. Constantine 12 July 2017 177-179.
  111. Constantine 10 March 2017 11.
  112. EWM000438_022-023, footnote 82-86.
  113. Milburn 12 July 2017 3-5; Woods 12 July 2017 36-37.
  114. Humphreys 9 March 2017 7-9 and 21 July 2017 72-73; CMT000365_001; INQ000322_002.
  115. INQ000322_002.
  116. INQ000322_006-007.
  117. INQ000322_018-019. Similarly (i) before the Health Select Committee Nigel Haynes asserted that the documentary had “sensationalised” the migration issue and was “not based on fact” (EWM000159_067); and (ii) internal emails refer to a “small minority of old-Fairbridgians” who had “real or imagined hurts” from their days at Fairbridge, and describe the claim that was being brought in Australia as a ‘try on’ claim (PRT000600) although Mr Haynes said that he did not share the latter view (Haynes 19 July 2017 19-22).
  118. INQ000162. Further internal documents indicate Fairbridge asserting that there had been no cases of abuse at Fairbridge schools: (i) in September 1996 it was noted that “Fairbridge did not appear to have any such (abuse) cases against it and was regarded in the main as a model project” (PRT000465); and (ii) it was observed that a likely key concern of the WA Select Committee was “Abuse, not Fairbridge, but certainly the others. This issue remains very hot in WA with convictions of Christian Brothers a regular feature” [emphasis added] (PRT000457_001, _007, _009, _011).
  119. Haynes 19 July 2017 10-15.
  120. Haynes 19 July 2017 43-54.
  121. INQ000162. Their final statement for the press (INQ000161) made similar points about Molong being separately run; as did some internal emails which described Fairbridge NSW as “a distinct entity, sharing a name (for historic reasons) only” (Haynes 19 July 2017 19-20; PRT000600_003).
  122. Haynes 12 July 2017 27; Haynes 19 July 2017 5-7.
  123. Hill 20 July 2017 100-103.
  124. Haynes 19 July 2017 23; Woods (Fairbridge Company Secretary, 1999-2006) 12 July 2017 42-43.
  125. Milburn 12 July 2017 1-7; Hill 20 July 2017 92; 124-125.
  126. Haynes 19 July 2017 30-32.
  127. Woods 12 July 2017 42/10-12.
  128. Haynes 19 July 2017 28-29; 37-38
  129. Woods 12 July 2017 42
  130. Haynes 19 July 2017 22-29; 56
  131. Milburn 12 July 2017 16-19
  132. Scott 2 March 2017 84-89
  133. Hill 20 July 2017 127-131
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