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On their Own in WA was an audio-visual community engagement art project produced by CAN in 2012 that accompanied the international touring exhibition On their Own: British Child Migrants.

When it was announced that On their Own: British Child Migrants would be visiting Western Australia, the Australian National Maritime Museum sought to engage with local stories connected with the Child Migrant exhibition, and CAN was chosen to produce the WA component of the project.

CAN ran a series of workshops with WA child migrants and their families from the former Clontarf Boy’s Town who shared their photos, memories and stories from the time.

From these stories, CAN produced an audio-visual piece entitled On their Own in WA with well known oral historian Bill Bunbury, photographer Toni Wilkinson and composer Tristen Parr.

The On their Own in WA exhibition sat alongside the British Child Migrant exhibition, which shared moving and confronting stories of over 100,000 former child migrants who were sent from Britain to Australia and other countries through child migrant schemes in the 1860s.

The two exhibitions were showcased at the WA Maritime Museum in 2012 and On their Own in WA then accompanied the British Child Migrant exhibition in a show at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra in 2012.

CAN Managing Director Pilar Kasat said,

“We were privileged to play a part in giving a voice to those who as children experienced the complex and often painful realities of being dislocated. On their Own in WA sensitively honours the memories of many British Child Migrants who were brought to Western Australia.”

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