Review “Twelve Years in Care” by John Bicknell
Up to 150,000 children were deported from children's homes in Britain and shipped off to a 'new life' in distant parts of the British Empire, right up until as recently as 1970. John was one of these children who came with his two bothers to the Barnardo’s Farm Training School at Mowbray Park near Picton. In his new book he takes the reader back to where it all began in a small house in a small village in southern England, into their incarceration in English orphanages and then to Australia with several other children. The chapters describing life in Mowbray Park give the reader a glimpse into the lives of similar children raised in philanthropic institutions away from traditional family structure and make their subsequent social problems easier to understand. This is a timely story for today as we all struggle to understand why so many children were taken away from families and countries. John worked hard to overcome his early life to create acceptance into local communities and successfully run a farm and raise a family but it was only at a significant cost to himself. Many other children did not. They all have stories we should know before we can remedy past mistakes and apply better policies in future.
Sid Harta Publishers