Fairbridge children's farm park to feature a walking tour with information boards

PLANNING: Scheme supporter Wade Mahlo, Historical Society president Liz Edwards, community consultant Peter Morton and landscape architect Leonard Lynch at the meeting. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0311dffair1

PLANNING: Scheme supporter Wade Mahlo, Historical Society president Liz Edwards, community consultant Peter Morton and landscape architect Leonard Lynch at the meeting. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0311dffair1

Visitors to the proposed Fairbridge Children’s Farm Park would be taken on a walk along the Molong Creek to read a series of information boards about the former farm school.

A concept plan of the park to be sited on land measuring 300 metres by 50 metres near the site of the former school at Molong was unveiled at a public meeting at the Orange City library on Sunday.

The meeting was convened by the Orange and District Historical Society.

Spokesman Phil Stevenson said the series of signboards would cover all aspects of the Fairbridge Children’s Farm School.

About 1000 children were sent from Britain to the school from 1938-1973 under a major child migration scheme.

It was intended the boys would be farmers and the girls domestic workers but court cases and testimonies later revealed the hardship, abuse, betrayal and limited opportunities the children faced in Australia.

Mr Stevenson said the information boards would provide “an unfolding story” of the children’s experiences.

It would start with information about their lives in Britain, the journey to Australia and details of life on the farm.

He said there would be a picnic shelter area, areas for quiet contemplation and a display of artefacts from the farm school.

The meeting was attended by 16 people including members of the Old Fairbrigians’ Association who held a reunion on the weekend.

Mr Stevenson said about $700,000 was required to complete the project.

He said their cause was being viewed favourably.

“They’ve got a good response from local government and the state has got onto it,” he said.

The management committee chairman David Hill has said that the scheme had received support from Orange and Cabonne councillors, deputy premier John Barilaro and Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless.

He said landscape architect Leonard Lynch had waived his fees.

Mr Hill said former children at the farm had also offered financial support to the project.

Funding is being sought for the park which would commemorate the school’s 80th anniversary this year.

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