The Fairbridge Farm School scheme was one of a number of child migrant schemes involved in the migration of children without their parents from poor families in Britain to various British colonies around the world where they were promised a better education and a better future than they otherwise would of received.
The Ian Bayliff papers relate to the Fairbridge Farm Schools, with particular focus on the Fairbridge Farm School at Molong, in New South Wales, Australia, which received almost 1000 unaccompanied child migrants from Britain between 1938 and 1974.
The Ian Bayliff papers include over six thousand photographs and many thousands of pages of documents, files and reports covering the entire period that Fairbridge operated its child migrant scheme.
Ian Bayliff was 8 years old when he arrived at Fairbridge Farm School in Molong in 1955 with his three brothers; Syd, Graham, and Stewart. He began creating the Ian Bayliff papers in the 1990’s after accessing his own Fairbridge files which had then only recently become available – and he realised how little information about Fairbridge was then publicly available.
For the next 25 years Ian ‘Smiley’ Bayliff has assembled a vast amount of material from a variety of sources, including the Fairbridge offices in Sydney and in the UK, the Australian and UK Government archives and a number of libraries in Australia and Britain.
The Ian Bayliff papers are the most comprehensive collection of material available about the Fairbridge Farm Schools. Most of the documents have never till now been publicly available and have since been used in recent official inquiries in Australia and the UK, including the Independent Inquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children. The papers were also extensively used by David Hill in his book The Forgotten Children and as evidence in the New South Wales Supreme Court case that in 2015 resulted in nearly 200 former Fairbridge children being awarded $24 million in damages for the abuse they suffered at Fairbridge.