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24.02.10. Kin and scholarship meet in tale of child migration

LSE academic’s work on Empire Settlement Act draws on a family connection, reports Matthew Reisz

Gordon Brown was today due to apologise to the thousands of British children sent across the globe as a result of the Empire Settlement Act of 1922.

For Kristen Rundle, an Australian academic now based in the UK, the aftershocks of those events continue to echo through both her family life and professional research.

Her grandfather, Joseph Rundle, was just one of the many casualties of the resettlement.

He was born in 1921, but his mother died when he was two and his father was unable to raise him on his own.

He was put into the Middlemore Emigration Home in Birmingham at the age of eight and then, in 1934, was sent to a farming school in Australia.

Such schools were the brainchild of Kingsley Fairbridge, a Rhodes scholar who believed they could rescue British children from poverty while also strengthening imperial capacity by turning them into “efficient, God-fearing men and women, keen to build up a fortune for themselves”. Read more