A cloud hung over a gentle land,
when a mother called softly, “a boy”.
And a father’s face was a shining light,
the smile of a waiting joy.
How it all started!
Who were they?
Where are they now?
On 23 December 1950, a group of 22 Child Migrants left two orphanage's in Rednal and Coleshill, Birmingham, England, on what they believed would be a holiday at the seaside.
They were in fact, taken to Southampton, put aboard the STEAM SHIP 'ESPERANCE BAY', and sailed to Australia.
Many of these children, aged 5 to 14 years, left without a word or permission from a parent or relative.
After 6 weeks at sea, followed by an exhausting four day train journey, they were driven the last 12 miles, arriving at their destination, NEERKOL CATHOLIC ORPHANAGE, on 13th February 1951.
The orphanage, 12 miles west of Rockhampton, was owned and run by the catholic church.
Hands-on was ably handled by priest John Anderson, with part time assistant priest Reginald Durham, the nuns from the catholic order, Sister's of Mercy, performed the day to day duties of 'caring', teaching, feeding and the dealing out of a wide range of punishments, both in their variation and severity.
(See Ships Passenger list for the names of most of the others)
This picture, copied from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, was taken on our arrival.
The caption should read 'February 1951' not March.