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Farm Apprentices
Title : Farm Apprentices Farm Apprentices
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Date of creation : 1923
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Description :

Immigrant farm apprentices under the Barwell scheme

The 'Barwell boys' came to South Australia from Britain in the 1920s to be apprenticed on farms throughout the state. Premier Henry Barwell devised the South Australian Farm Apprentice Scheme to build up the state's population after approximately 5000 South Australian lives were lost during World War I. Government guardianship of juvenile immigrants was inaugurated under the Immigration Acts of 1901 and 1913.
The outbreak of war interupted this scheme, but in 1923, an Immigration Act dealing with farm and domestic apprentices was passed. Under this Act, the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration was appointed the legal guardian of each boy or girl immigrant who made a written declaration of their wish to come under his control. Young men aged from fifteen to eighteen and young women from eighteen to twenty-one were eligible, and the period of Government control was three years.
Controversy forced the abandonment of this phase of immigration to South Australia in 1925. Two years later, the 1923 Act was modified. Conditions of apprenticeship were more relaxed, and approximately one half of the total wages was paid direct to the farm apprentice. Each apprentice was allotted to a 'Big Brother'. By the end of 1928, 1557 British youths had entered South Australia under the scheme.
Further reading :

McLean, Lydia, The Barwell boy. Burwood, Vic. : Damson, 2007

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