Child Migrants, documents, Forgotten Australians

Visitors

by Rupert Hewison (guest author) on 10 June, 2011

A letter from the mother of former Child Migrant Rupert Hewison outlines her ‘terrible shock’ at moving to Tasmania to be closer to her son, only to find her visits limited to once a month. The Senate Report on Forgotten Australians (2004) noted that visits from family members were ‘keenly anticipated’ but ‘highly regulated in many institutions’.

The letter from Rupert’s mother to Tresca principal Mr Richmond reads:

C/o Police Department,
Cameron Street,
Launceston,
Tasmania.

7th January, 1965.

Dear Mr. Richmond,

I have today received your letter of 5th January, contents of which are noted.

I am afraid the news of my only seeing John once a month came as a terrible shock to me.  When I spoke to Miss Hall (Secretary of Fairbridge in London) last year she thought I would be able to see John once a week.

When I told her I saw him once a fortnight she said “I shouldn’t think it would be less than that” in a very definite manner.  However, this of course, was only verbal.  In all sincerity I would say, however, that I would definitely not have come to Tasmania if I had thought I would only see John once a month.  My whole idea of coming here was to be with him more often.  Perhaps the decision could be reconsidered?

I have John’s school books with me as I was going to give them back to him next time I saw him, which I anticipated would be Saturday week (16th).

Yours sincerely,

 

Typed letter

Child Migrants, memories, photos

From the eyes of an eight year old

by Rupert Hewison (guest author) on 30 May, 2011

Rupert Hewison a former Child Migrant from Britain shares the photographs he took as an eight-year-old at Fairbridge House, Tresca, Exeter, Tasmania.

Rupert explains:

I was in Tresca from October 1964 to October 1965.

As a farewell gift when leaving England in 1964 my second cousin Alan Hewison gave me a small camera. My mother paid for the film and developing and encouraged me to take photos. I was eight in November 1964 so these are an eight year old’s idea of what would make a good photo at the time. As a child I was known by my middle name, John. These days I use my first name, Rupert. My mother died peacefully in Canberra late last year aged 82. Thank you Jean for having the courage to leave behind all your family and friends to give us a better life in the Promised Land.