|About the Book|
Australian author John Hawkins was honoured with an International Book Award as a ‘Finalist’ in the Autobiography/Memoir category at The 2010 International Book Awards in Los Angeles for his book,‘The Bush Orphanage: Recollections of a British ChildMoreAustralian author John Hawkins was honoured with an International Book Award as a ‘Finalist’ in the Autobiography/Memoir category at The 2010 International Book Awards in Los Angeles for his book,‘The Bush Orphanage: Recollections of a British Child Migrant and the truth about Australia’s human trafficking past’. The book tells both Johns story of being stolen from Britain and foster parents who desperately wanted to adopt him, and at the tender age of seven, sent to a far-away land called Australia to help populate this new country.BACKGROUND:In 1618 one hundred homeless children were taken off the streets of London and sent to Virginia, Britain’s first American colony. Over the next 350 years an estimated 150,000 children were sent to Britain’s colonies to work, to populate the land and to defend their new homes. Remarkably, even into the 1940s, Britain continued to use ‘abandoned’ children as an arm of foreign and economic policy, responding to pleas from Australia, a faithful wartime ally, to help fill a vast continent of barely seven million people – to either ‘populate or perish’. The last child migrants, supposedly orphaned or deserted by their parents – over 3000 of them – were sent to Australia after World War II.The Australian Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 resulted in institutionalisation of the British child migrants, so preventing them from being fostered or adopted and having a normal home life. These children were instead housed and educated in camps that were run by the church and state, to be set free into Australian society on reaching early adulthood.THE BOOK:The Bush Orphanage is a story in two parts.PART 1 is the personal life story of John Hawkins, who as a seven year old British orphan was sent to Australia as part of the British Child Migration Scheme, despite having a loving foster family in London who desperately wanted to adopt him.In Australia, John spent his childhood in the custody of church camp administrators, only occasionally enjoying the comfort of weekend stays with a foster family in the suburbs of Perth. His childhood was defined by his experiences in Tardun Boys Home – and the larrikins, eccentrics, saints and sinners who he encountered there.Despite the harsh experience of group foster care, John went on to marry, start a family and develop a successful business. But the memories of his mother and of his foster family in England inspired him to find out exactly why he’d been stolen from them and from his homeland.PART 2 is an overview of the British Child Migration Scheme. It examines the facts regarding the complicity of British and Australian governments who shirked their legal and moral responsibility for the lives of child migrants and, in doing so, negated the common misconception that the genuine but misguided authorities in Britain and Australia were driven by benevolence and goodwill to give children a ‘fresh start in life’. It is also a story of the churches and secular organisations that took part in child migration, and ultimately have taken the blame for the tragedy.Included in the book is controversial new research revealing how scandals and corruption set the Child Migration scheme up for failure before it even began. The true story of how child migration became the greatest childcare disaster in Australian history.John, and a whole group of friends, whose friendships began when they were very young boys in Tardun Boys Home have maintained solid friends even today. They are a very close-knit group who undertake undertake fantastic projects together to help people in need. Currently, they are having a school erected for orphans in Malaysia.