This story has its roots in distant history, much of which is common knowledge. It involves a little Island off the Europe coast, it was subjected to almost continuous invasions, the Norse, the Danes, the French, the Romans and others creating a warrior population so diverse, that the process reversed itself and created an English race that started to invade other lands!
It was in a World War I when the pride of British manhood fell on Flanders Fields and then, those sired, died defending in World II. The then lack of males, debt, and other problems started to manifest itself and there were many children who were unwanted or were beyond the capabilities of single mothers to care for and earn a living. Children ended up in Homes and Orphanages and an answer was found in sending them to the Colonies in Child Migration.
The Fairbridge Story starts in Africa, what became Rhodesia to be exact. A Land Surveyor named Fairbridge, from the Eastern Cape, South Africa, was working in the Eastern highlands of Rhodesia and he had his son Kingsley with him. The son had an African companion and a dog and free reign of his time (The Queen Mother unveiled a Memorial of this on Christmas Pass , which a large party of the scholars attended - this has now been removed by the Zimbabwe Government). He looked out over large stretches of unoccupied land and a vision developed later when he went to England and saw the children in concrete jungles, streets and slums. He saw these children populating all this unoccupied land in the British Colonies and founded the Fairbridge Farm Schools, in Canada and Australia, where children were taken from Britain to grow up in better climes and conditions.
In Rhodesia, the Child Migration was not allowed until much later, in fact the first group went out there in November, 1946. The school was established at a war time RAF Training Camp, Induna Airfield. The dormitory buildings, which house around a dozen students, were iron under iron, on stilts with Beaverboard linings with a flat at one end for a staff member. The camp also had sports fields, a swimming pool and gymnasium. It was created as a memorial to Kingsley Fairbridge who died in July 1924, hence the name Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial College.
Although there was some 1200 acres of the Induna Property, the Farm School aspect was not practiced and the children were given a normal education like all the other Rhodesian Children. In fact, the school at Induna was only a Junior/Primary School (Standards 1 - 5, Grades 3 - 7). Thereafter the pupils went to various Senior Schools in Bulawayo (Forms 1 - 6. or Grades 8 - 13). After high school we were kitted out for the world, found employment and somewhere to live. Thereafter we were on our own. Some students proceeded to University, either in Rhodesia or South Africa. Some became doctors or lawyers, some proceeded into business and became very successful, some went into farming, and yet others joined the Police or other Government departments.
Having said it was not a Farm School, some farming activities were practiced, one being that the Cold Storage Commission used some of the property to graze their cattle. I personally had a misfortune when a few of us were wanting to cook some mealies (stolen of course) and built our cooking fire too close to a haystack, built for fodder, whoomph it went up and we couldn't sit down properly for a time after that!! We also discovered that haystacks had other uses . One year the school decided to grow cotton and we were press ganged into picking it - hateful, as cotton plants are quite thorny!! Beyond that we were encouraged to garden around the dormitories.
The Headmaster of the school was appointed our guardian. We all became one big family. As we left to go our ways in life we were kept connected by a newsletter sent out about twice a year by the headmaster. After his death his wife took it over and continued to keep us all up to date on everyone's doings. Today it is done via email by several of those still willing and able.
Fairbridge Scholars, are scattered around the World, mainly in U.K., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. From the 300 odd who went to Rhodesia some 99 of us have answered the Sunset Call and gone to meet our Maker!