Black and white digital photograph of James Forbes and his daughter Shirley on the steps of their corrugated tin house at Broadmeadows Migrant Hostel, Melbourne,1961 soon after arriving from Scotland.

James and Sylvia Forbes migrated from Aberdeen in Scotland with their two year old daughter Shirley and James' younger brother Harry. The family were sent to Broadmeadows Hostel and more family followed who settled in Adelaide. Sylvia was employed at the Ford Factory while James worked for Stewarts & Lloyds Stanton Pipes Division. Tragically James was killed in an industrial accident on 20 June 1963 and after subsequently also losing her unborn baby, Sylvia and Shirley returned to Scotland on 18 September 1963. Shirley visited Australia for the first time since departing in 2014.

Description of Content

Man holding achild seated on steps of a doorway, corrugated building walls.

Physical Description

digital photograph


This collection provides a valuable and poignant insight into a young family's post-war British migration experience and their return home. It offers a perspective on the return migrant experience which is more difficult to obtain, as opposed to the more commonly told permanent settlement narratives; and it also reveals the diverse (and at time tragic) reasons why migration can be a transient experience for some.

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