One man, three countries and the organisation that saved his life. A fresh, unique perspective on the current Child Migrant Scheme debate.
In 1950, eleven-year-old Ronnie Sabin and his brothers Eddie and Joey were living a dismal life in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. They had spent most of their early years in the notorious Rochester Dwellings, one of the worst post-war slums in the city. The boys were always hungry and never warm. They had to scavenge, beg and steal to survive.
When their destructive and dishonest behaviour continued to escalate, the authorities rounded them up and their mother agreed that they should be sent to Australia as child migrants under the care of the Fairbridge Organisation.
Ronnie spent six years at Fairbridge Farm School Molong, under the care of its commanding principal Mr Woods and his gentle wife, Ruth. When he left Fairbridge, the principal told Ronnie that bringing him up had been like ‘trying to tame a wild horse’. But in the end, they not only tamed him, they helped him to become a successful family man and businessman.
Often hilarious, sometimes heart-wrenching, The Long Way Home adds a positive perspective to the current Child Migrant Scheme debate. It pays tribute to Fairbridge and details Ronnie’s delight at finally being reunited with his family in England after fifty-five years.