On Monday, the Australian government will say sorry to the thousands of children deported there during the twentieth century. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, will this week say he is to look into what can be done to make amends to all the children who were shipped to Australia, Canada and other former colonies, in schemes undertaken by successive governments up until 1967. The children were separated from their families and told they were orphans, while the parents were told that they had gone to a better life. But most were brought up in institutions, or by farmers, and many were treated as child slave labour. A Hollywood film, starring the Oscar-nominated actress Emily Watson, telling the story of the “orphans”, is now in production. Although ministers said they were rescuing children from deprivation, victims’ groups say the reality is that thousands of infants were sent to help populate Australia and other countries with, what was called at the time, “good white stock”. Not all of those deported after World War Two experienced hard times. Some have done well for themselves. But the majority struggled after suffering the loss of their family. In the worst cases, the migrants are dead or still in institutions. The Australian government will formally apologise at a special remembrance event in Canberra. A ceremony will be held in Parliament House where the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will say sorry, on behalf of the nation, to those who suffered abuse. Following the event, the apology will be tabled in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Mr Brown will say that a consultation in this country will talk to groups representing the victims, with a view to an apology being made by the British government and any other action which will help those affected, a Downing Street source said. Although estimates are unreliable, the Government has records of at least 150,000 child migrants from Britain, aged three to 14, of whom about 100,000 went to Canada, and the remainder to Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and other British dominions or colonies. It is thought that during the final period in which the migration policy operated, from 1947 to 1967, between 7,000 and 10,000 children were sent to Australia and more than 500 sent to New Zealand. The policy, sanctioned and supported by a succession of governments, has been described as “one of the most disgraceful episodes in post war politics”. The migrated children were euphemistically told they would find an idyllic lifestyle in a new country. In reality, they were often badly cared for, counted as second-class citizens, arrived sick or without a name, and put in over-crowded and run-down institutions. Among those carers who have come in for particular criticism were the homes of the Christian Brothers, in Australia, where several thousand children were accommodated over the years and where physical and sexual abuse and under-nourishment were reportedly rife. According to the BBC documentary “Children of the Empire”, aired in 2003, a number of leading charities and agencies such as Barnardos, the Fairbridge Society and The National Children’s Homes co-operated in maintaining the policy for almost six decades despite warnings from independent inspectors.