Book Jacket

 

rank 5919
word count 11143
date submitted 24.02.2010
date updated 24.02.2010
genres: Non-fiction, History, Biography, Tr...
classification: universal
incomplete

The Long Way Home

Jo Bailey with Ronnie Sabin

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.

 
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tags

biography, child migrant scheme, heartwarming, history, inspiring, memoir, non-fiction

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38 comments

 

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Seringapatam wrote 442 days ago

Jo, Ronnie, Very moving and so well told. You have a lovely story telling voice here and I feel that you are the only person that could tell this story. I loved reading it and felt so close to it and at time really deep in it. It has a really nice flow to it that suits the characters in it and a pace to match. This will do well if you push it on this site. You just need to tempt people into it. well done and scores high for me.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Carborundum wrote 609 days ago

Howay the lads!

mala iyer wrote 1244 days ago

i found this so moving and powerful. thank you for sharing it !

name falied moderation wrote 1354 days ago

Dear Jo and Ronnie
well i just loved this book. my favorite genre. you have written in a very animated way,and it gives me the perfect window to share your journey as a spectator. I feel as if you are all an extended family of mine. it has a place in my heart now this book and i thank you for that. VERY well crafted for sure....THE VERY BEST OF LUCK with your book
and i really hope you find he time in all this to COMMENT (positive I hope) and BACK my book, but if you dont that is OK also.
Denise
The Letter

Famlavan wrote 1481 days ago


The Long Way Home

There is always something special about being let into other’s lives. I think the very powerful imagery and extremely good observational story it very well told. Thank you for giving me a special moment. – Good luck

SusieGulick wrote 1485 days ago

Dear Jo & Ronnie, Non-fiction & biography is where it's at! :) I love that you have told your story. Thanks for your "author's notes" & "prologue" to brief be on it. Wonderful read because you create interest by having short paragraphs, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm BACKING/COMMENTING on your book to help advance it. :) PLEASE take a moment to BACK/COMMENT on my TWO Books, ... "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" ... and the UNEDITED version? ... "Tell Me True Love Stories"
Thanks, Susie :)

lookinup wrote 1491 days ago

What a story behind a story. The desire not to refute, but to clarify, what happened over the years gives it more merit I think. The writing isn't just factual; it's being there.

Catherine (The Golden Thread)

Sheila Belshaw wrote 1495 days ago

THE LONG WAY HOME:

Jo Bailey and Ronnie Sabin,

This is a very moving memoir and I congratulate you both on its publication. I hope the launch went well.

Apart from the introduction, it reads like a novel - and what do they say? - The truth is stranger than fiction.

You convey the emotional impact of the entire experience without making it sentimental. It is an immensely sad story, but at the same time it is uplifting.

I have no hesitation in placing it on my bookshelf.

Backed.

Sheila (Pinpoint)

lizjrnm wrote 1497 days ago

I don't read a lot of non-fiction but thi sis so wellwritten that it reads like fiction - had to keep reminding myself that it is true! It is evident within the first few chapters that you have spent time, energy, passion an d a piece of yourself in writing this! BACKED with pleasure!

Liz
The Cheech Room

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 1500 days ago

Constructive remarks are of great value to all authors. The "Author's Note," detracts somewhat by being introduced too early, explaining the background for writing the book. Moving the "Note" to the end of the work might be very effective. Why? Well, a reader might try to connect the author directly with the first person account being presented in a very well written work, a work that converys information generally unknown to American readers. American readers need this knowledge because children have no one to fend for them unless parents or other caregivers provide a haven during which age can to accumulate. Thanks for sharing this material. Backed. Chuck (Paperboy Adventures)

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 1500 days ago

Constructive remarks are of great value to all authors. The "Author's Note," detracts somewhat by being introduced too early, explaining the background for writing the book. Moving the "Note" to the end of the work might be very effective. Why? Well, a reader might try to connect the author directly with the first person account being presented in a very well written work, a work that converys information generally unknown to American readers. American readers need this knowledge because children have no one to fend for them unless parents or other caregivers provide a haven during which age can to accumulate. Thanks for sharing this material. Backed. Chuck (Paperboy Adventures)

AlanMarling wrote 1503 days ago

Dear Jo Bailey,

Thank you for sharing Ronnie’s story with us. I enjoyed your beginning, talking about a middle-aged gentleman returning to England to *meet* his parents. You present a powerful image of him watching the coastline fading from sight and vowing to return, and here he is, a mere half-century later. I have an immense amount of sympathy for him on his tortuous journey through the airport security. Minor complications build tension, such as the lightning storm and the bathrooms. His daydreaming over whether or not he could buy long-out-of-date comic books deepened the emotions of the adventure even more.

Very poignant. Bravo! Backed, and best wishes.

Telegraph wrote 1513 days ago

What a unique story. There a realism that mesmerizes the reader to keep turning pages. C W Shelved.

lynn clayton wrote 1513 days ago

There was a report about this on the news the other night, so you can be sure people will be interested in your story. Unlike a journalist, though, you give us your personal history in a mesmerising and moving way. Sure this will be a success. Backed. Lynn

missyfleming_22 wrote 1514 days ago

What an outstanding story. I am not familiar with this history but I feel like I learned alot just in the little that I did read. You have done a wonderful job and I don't have anything to say that isn't positive! Thank you for giving me something inspiring to read.

Missy
Mark of Eternity

Linda Lou wrote 1515 days ago

Hullo Jo. very interesting topic and storyline. We do not have many places like the 'Farm school' in the USA. Please consider my book

Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=11421

Barry Wenlock wrote 1515 days ago

What an incredible story! Backed with pleasure. I too felt so sorry for your mother. glad it all worked out. Many laughs and tears. HC eat your heart out! Best wishes, Barry (Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys)

Michael Croucher wrote 1516 days ago

A wonderful story, revealing and engaging, written with authority and that all important emotion that connects the dots for the reader and compells them to read on. Shelved
Michael Croucher (Bravo's Veil)

wordreiver wrote 1517 days ago

I would love to read the rest of this book. The first 6 chapters are so well written I was totally captivated. I am from Newcastle and I grew up is Australia and New Zealand - Lived in Christchurch for a while too. I have a very interesting life story, but just can't write about myself. I admire anyone with the skill to write biography. It's an art in itself. Good luck with this. Backed. GJ

Beval wrote 1517 days ago

It was very good to hear the other side of the story.
I enjoyed this very much, it was well told. I have to say my heart went out to their poor mother, to have her children removed like that must have been a terrible thing. Her boys might not have suffered much as a result, but I suspect she did, every day.
Backed.

Beval wrote 1517 days ago

It was very good to hear the other side of the story.
I enjoyed this very much, it was well told. I have to say my heart went out to their poor mother, to have her children removed like that must have been a terrible thing. Her boys might not have suffered much as a result, but I suspect she did, every day.
Backed.

Bocri wrote 1517 days ago

Although I was not part of the Child Migrant Scheme I can empathise with Ron Sabin due to many similiarities in our lives, too numerous to mention here. Ron's story had meaning for me because I could hear his voice , direct, immediate, with no evident self pity or bitterness. That said, it takes a competent skill or inate talent to convey all this on the written page. The pace was not affected by the switch to flashbacks and the whole piece held my interest from start to finish. I wish the author every success with The Long Way Home. Backed. Bocri

gillyflower wrote 1517 days ago

This is an extremely interesting story. It's good to get the truth about Ronnie's experience and that of the vast majority of the Child Migrants, after so much has been said on the other side. The childhood Ronnie and his brothers had in Newcastle sounds terrible, but that's how it's likely to be with children allowed to run wild. I'm sure he's right in saying that Mr Wood's strict but fair discipline was the making of him. You write well, in a crisp, easy-to-read style which moves quickly and holds our interest. Backed.
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.

Cait wrote 1517 days ago

The Long Way Home:

Jo, a very interesting read, and your writing is very good, but I wondered if you could tighten it a bit by getting rid of as many ‘thats’ and ‘wases’ as you can? Some sentences have five or so wases. Below is just a tiny example on how you can get rid of the pests if you choose to do so. Read the sentences aloud to see how they sound, but I’m no pro so you may disagree with them. Some are from the Prologue and A Story to Tell.

I was going into the unknown and didn’t know what to expect.- This sentence kinda says the same thing twice, with the ‘unknown’ and ‘didn’t know? How about something like, - I ventured forth, not knowing what to expect? Or, I ventured into the unknown, excited, but a little apprehensive about what to expect/about what would happen?

The boarding call came and I was soon on an Air New Zealand plane… The boarding call came and I made my way onto the Air New Zealand plane?

Should peoples’ reaction - be people’s reaction?

I was working/ - I worked – as you have another ‘was’ in the same sentence? - I was incensed – It incensed me? Not sure...

– was illustrated by a photograph of children from - …had/displayed/showed a photograph of children from…?

The name of the school was written in large letters on a sigh in the photograph, which clearly linked it with the horrors being described.

The name of the school, written in large letters on a sigh in the photograph, clearly linked it with the horrors being described? This way gets rid of another ‘was’.

The child migrant system was far from perfect. It broke families down and separated parents and children.

The child migrant system, far from perfect, broke families down and separated parents and children?

…any abuse of the kind that was reported in the Express… - any abuse of the kind reported in the Express…?

All the best with this.

Already shelved.

Cáit ~ Muckers ~

Mairi Graham wrote 1517 days ago

This is a wonderful tale and the voice so strong I felt I knew the narrator well. I had some qualms about the paragraphs related to the flight, the ‘hell’ of Los angeles airport and the trauma of the toilet queue, but afterwards I thought it added something to story by making it plain that the narrator was not ordinarily a world traveller and by offering a kind of corroboration of his view that his experiences at the Fairbridge School hadn’t been bad. No-one who had been through experiences of the sort alluded to in the newspaper article would find worrying about a customs and immigration paper ‘hell.’ Ronny’s Newcastle childhood is straightforwardly told, as is his journey. I took a long ocean voyage as a child – not as long as Ronnie’s – and the whole impression of ocean travel has stayed with me my entire life. I saw a police detective show on television last week – Inspector George Gently – in which they were investigating the murder of a man who turned out to have been in charge of a school for orphans in the fifties. There was a scene involving punishment by ducking in a cold bath, in this case for failing to be ‘loving’ enough to the paedophile master and trustees. The distrust of such schools runs deep in the culture and I hope your book manages to make a public case for the good, effective work done by many of them.
I only have two minor criticisms. Ronny says, I” gently wiped a tear from my cheek,” and the gently seems out of place, as if he treats himself as if he’s fragile, which he plainly doesn’t. A couple of people commenting on my book advised me to be careful with adverbs, and always ask whether they’re really helping the sentence.
Getting on is embarked, getting off is disembarked.
Good luck with this. Ronnie sounds like a delight to know.

Piers Peterson wrote 1517 days ago

This is a great beginning! I found a few grammatical errors, please let me know if you are interested in what they are. I am guessing that you have an editor to take care of such minor issues, but if not I have a short list and would be happy to share it.
I loved the way that the boys were problematic no matter where they were, regardless of the conditions. It really reveals them as the little devils they were, and makes the discipline rewarded their antics appropriate. Is there more on the way?
On my WL... I will back it as soon as I finish reading some others on my shelf.

Piers
Karmic Relief

annaskitchenfr wrote 1517 days ago

This is great, would love to read the whole book. My aunt and uncle moved to Newcastle about the same time you were there, and my aunt used to tell me stories about how poor they were and how hard it was to make ends meet with three children. God luck with your book. This is a story that should be told. I have read many negative stories but don't remember if Fairbridge was mentioned as one of them, but from what you say it doesn't seem the same type of place at all.

Anna
Born on Friday 13th

David Fearnhead wrote 1518 days ago

This is a fantastic story. It yearns to be told and must be heard. If anyone was looking to write a drama about this period in recent history then they'd not go far wrong using this as research. Your journalistic abilities shine through and I found your Authors Notes at the beginning of the book very integral to pulling me into this story.
So I'm backing you and not just because you're a Kiwi;)
David
Bailey of the Saints

blueboy wrote 1518 days ago

ok, i like your premise here and your overall story telling ability. i do think this could use some polishing. your story telling is good, but not alwasy intuitive as far what details are needed and when is the best time to divulge them. thjisn leads to akward moments. however, based on the pitch and the first couple of chapters i am going to back this happily, but i do think polihing could make better.

paxie wrote 1518 days ago

Jo

This is fabulous.....I loved it....Last year there was so much bad press here in the UK when it was splattered all over the media that the Australian Government had awarded thousands of dollars in compensation to child emigrees....(from WW2)...I must admit, my knowledge on the subject matter was rather lean,..... I was leaning towards thinking these people who had suffered abuse were in the majority......Looking further into it, it was not the case at all.........Kids left here after the war faired far worse....And kids from underprivileged backgrounds didnt stand a chance........I've only read two chapters, but will plough on..

Good Work...

Shelved.

beegirl wrote 1518 days ago

A warmly written and lovely story.
Barbara
The Sea Pillow

Melcom wrote 1519 days ago

I saw a story similar to this on the news last night, very topical and I'm sure it is going to do well.

Really nicely written too.

Melxx
If you have chance would love to hear your thoughts on Impeding Justice

Manolya wrote 1519 days ago

I am glad you have written this book as you give a voice to many others who have a similar story to you. You also help people like me have a better understanding of this subject which you have written with such clarity and emotion.

I wish you all the very best with your book- backed with pleasure:)
warm regards,
Manolya- Love in No-Man's Land

Jo Ellis wrote 1519 days ago

What a wonderful emotive story.

I don't have a lot of experience in reading non fiction but this is a truly great story.

Jo xx

Spoilt

soutexmex wrote 1519 days ago

BACKING you. I can use your comments on my book if you can spare the time. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

bonalibro wrote 1520 days ago

Very right and proper of you to speak up for your positive experience at your old school. It's quite possible, though, that there were some bad apples among the faculty, if there was one. There were two teachers in my high school who had affairs with female students, one of them leading to marriage, and another who who was found to be diddling his eighth grade charges during parties he would hold at his house. I found it hard to believe because he seemed so popular with the students. Perhaps he was giving them drugs or booze in exchange for sexual favors. I have no idea. But it proved to be quite a scandal there long after I graduated.

Well written book,
Backed
Tim Chambers
Moonbeam Highway: With Apologies to Miguel de Cervantes.

udasmaan wrote 1520 days ago

Excellent. Backed

shah

Francesco wrote 1520 days ago

Very well timed. Did you plan this with the BBC?
This is an affecting read and an important one.
Backed!

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