About this objectThe Fairbridge Farm collection (from now on called the Fairbridge collection) at Molong Museum covers objects, photos, documents and maps from Fairbridge Farm School (from now on called Fairbridge). Fairbridge operated near Molong from 1937 through to 1973 (36 years). The Fairbridge collection has been donated by many former students, staff, associated families and other Molong locals over the years since Fairbridge’s closure.
Fairbridge Farm School was first established at Pinjarra, near Perth, WA. In 1935 it was decided to set up a similar farm school in NSW. In 1937 the property ‘Narragoon’, originally part of Gamboola, was purchased and the buildings and staff established, officially opening in November, 1937 . Around 1200 children passed through Fairbridge.
The Fairbridge collection has been acquired piece by piece or as smaller collections from private individuals or the Fairbridge Foundation since the school closed in the 1970’s.
The Fairbridge collection is of historic value with a large proportion of the collection are documents from the school; such as annual reports, Fairbridge chronicles, diaries, magazines and books. Some more personal items such as lead toy animals or items relating to the school such as the bell or windvane (see individual Statement of Significances).
There is also some social value of the collection for the Old Fairbridgians and reunions and gatherings due to the number of students which had an association with Fairbridge, their family, friends, staff, workers and also the Molong community. The school has an important role in the history of the Molong area. Many people visit the Molong Museum just to see the Fairbridge collection.
It is an emotive collection due to the age of children which were, in some cases, removed from parents and sent out from England to a new country. With a history of structure, discipline, hard labour and in some cases abuse, the collection is significant to Molong and to Australia.
Hayley Lavers for Molong Historical Society July 2020