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A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAIRBRIDGE FARM SCHOOL, PINJARRA

On 15 April 1912, Kingsley Fairbridge and his wife Ruby Fairbridge arrived in Albany, Western Australia, from England and made their way to Pinjarra, arriving on 16 July that same year to establish the world’s first Fairbridge Farm School. The school opened on 19 October 1912. Kingsley wanted to see “little children shedding the bondage of bitter circumstances and stretching their legs and minds amid the thousand interests of the farm.” From 1913 until 1982, Fairbridge Farm School assisted 3,580 children who came to Fairbridge under various child migration schemes. The school provided education in task-learning, husbandry, metal work and wood work. During World War II, Dutch refugee children evacuated from Indonesia were based at Fairbridge while waiting to be reunited with their families. During the same period, the site was also used as a training ground for the Women’s Land Army, and Guildford Grammar School partially relocated there while their school was used as a hospital base. An airfield was constructed and operated from the school during the Second World War until the 1950s.   The Australian Heritage Commission commented, when announcing the listing of Fairbridge on the Interim List of the Register of the National Estate in December 1997 that “Fairbridge is a striking example of Australia’s early philanthropic movement to resettle and educate migrant children.” The Chair of the Heritage Commission at the time, Wendy McCarthy stated that “by entering Fairbridge in the Interim List of the Register of the National Estate, we are not only recognising the efforts of this philanthropist, Kingsley Fairbridge, but also its role in a significant phase in Australia’s migration history. From 1912 until 1980 Fairbridge Pinjarra played a significant role in the development of the British Empire and Australian migration history on child, single parent and family migration schemes.”

More to come, currently page under re construction.