Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sunshine and Oranges

I've just finished reading a very disturbing book written by Margaret Humphries.  She is an English social worker in Nottingham, and she was contacted by a woman in Australia asking her if she could locate her mother as she had been deported from England as a child in the late 40's.  A resulting search uncovered a system where many disadvantaged children were sent away to Rhodesia and Canada, but mostly Australia.  These children had no idea why they were sent away and many of them suffered dreadfully at their final destinations.  The system began in the late 1930's.  Naturally there was no enthusiasm by the charities and the government authorities who were responsible for this scheme to explain what happened.  In the end Humphries began a trust to pay for finding many of the relatives of people, who up to then had believed themselves to be totally alone in the world.  She was eventually decorated by the Australian government and acquired a CBE from the Queen.  She found that a total of 10,000 children had been sent away; a practise that ended finally in 1967.  A very moving story, which was made into a TV film and a documentary.  The book was called Sunshine and Oranges, which is what many of the children were promised they would receive before they set sail to the other side of the world.

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