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Margaret Humphreys; A Modern Day Heroine

There are some movies which stay with you a long time after they have finished. ’Oranges and Sunshine’ is one of these movies. More than anything, this movie illustrates how big a difference one person can do for thousands of others. Margaret Humphreys is a true modern-day heroine.

oranges hanging on a tree. the sun is shining
The title of the movie refere to the promises given to the children. Unsplash

"Oranges and Sunshine" is about a dark and unknown chapter of the story about Australian child immigration. Everybody knows about the convicts and the ten pound poms, but nobody knows about the 130.000 children from England; children, as young as 2-3 years of age, who secretly were shipped away to the shores of Australia from their homes in England.

Birth certificates were changed, so neither children nor parents could trace each other. Parents were persuaded to give their young children away. They were later told that the children had died, although in reality, they had been transported to Australia.

The children grew up as child slaves on different missions hidden in the harsh Outback. Later, the children had to pay for their stay on the missions. This ’child migration scheme’, as it is called, didn’t stop before in the 80’s. These children grew up with a pain nobody will be able to truly understand and nobody wanted to help them, because nobody wanted to believe them.

But then, in the 80’s, an English social worker, Margaret Humphreys, came across two of these cases by accident. Out of pure helpfulness, she decides to help these two persons, and slowly Pandoras box openes. Humphreys receives support and help from her incredible boss and extraordinary husband. But then it stops.

The authorities of Australia, England and the Church do everything they can to block her attempt to find out just how deep this child migration scheme actually went and how dark the true story was.

Margaret Humphreys has ever since, devoted her entire life to help unite these ’kidnapped’ children and their devastated parents. Her work is more than extraordinary and her fight reminds of that of Goliath and David. If anyone deserves a Nobels price for something, she does. What a movie! What a woman and what a story!

This role, this special person, is acted beautifully by Emily Watson. The character she plays, and who’s story is being told, is in real life called Margaret Humphreys. Her tenacity, endurance, charity and courage as an ordinary social worker, burns through the screen, thanks to Emily.

Despite the heartbreaking theme, it is Emily who carries the movie with the strength and humanity of her character. This is an important movie. This is a powerful movie. This is a movie, that shows the power of our True Stories.

PS. Remember to watch the extra material. It is very interesting!

You can visit Margareth Humpfreys organisation Child Migrants Trust here. You can also donate money if you would like supporting her extraordinary and life-changing work.

Meet the real heroine in the video below.

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gives an official apologi to the children shipped from the UK to Australia (video below.)

The UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives an official apologi to the children shipped from the UK to Australia (video below.)

Movie: ”Oranges and Sunshine” (2011) An authentic story

Starring: Emily Watson as Margaret Humphreys

Director: Jim Loach

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