On 15 April 1912, Kingsley Fairbridge and his wife Ruby Fairbridge arrived in Albany, Western Australia, from England and made their way to Pinjarra, arriving on 16 July that same year to establish the world's first Fairbridge Farm School. The school opened on 19 October 1912. Kingsley wanted to see "little children shedding the bondage of bitter circumstances and stretching their legs and minds amid the thousand interests of the farm."
From 1913 until 1982, Fairbridge Farm School assisted 3,580 children. who came to Fairbridge under various child migration schemes. The school provided education in task-learning, husbandry, metal work and wood work. During World War II, Dutch refugee children evacuated from Indonesia were based at Fairbridge while waiting to be reunited with their families. During the same period, the site was also used as a training ground for the Women's Land Army, and Guildford Grammar School partially relocated there while their school was used as a hospital base.An airfield was constructed and operated from the school during the Second World War until the 1950s.
The Australian Heritage Commission commented, when announcing the listing of Fairbridge on the Interim List of the Register of the National Estate in December 1997 that "Fairbridge is a striking example of Australia’s early philanthropic movement to resettle and educate migrant children." The Chair of the Heritage Commission at the time, Wendy McCarthy stated that "'by entering Fairbridge in the Interim List of the Register of the National Estate, we are not only recognising the efforts of this philanthropist, Kingsley Fairbridge, but also its role in a significant phase in Australia’s migration history. From 1912 until 1980 Fairbridge Pinjarra played a significant role in the development of the British Empire and Australian migration history on child, single parent and family migration schemes."
It would be extremely remiss to not accurately mention that the "child migration schemes" are now also recognised as the history of the Stolen Children. "Children were shipped to Australia 'to be adopted by loving families' only to find that they were used as cheap labour. The first vessel to transport these children was the SS Asturias in 1947 with a 'cargo' of 147 boys and girls. Many of them were told (falsely) that they were orphans and consequently never saw their families again." Australia has apologised for its involvement in the scheme, in 1998 the Western Australian Government apologises to former child migrants: "The Western Australian Government apologises to former child migrants who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the state's institutions. The following year the Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and Poor Sisters of Nazareth launch a computerised personal history index to the records of former child migrants." In February 2010 UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a formal apology to the families of children who suffered