Posted by: debrakolkka | July 8, 2011

Oranges and sunshine – and Hugo Weaving

Oranges and sunshine  were offered to thousands of children to entice them to Australia, and a supposed better life, from post war Britain. They would surely have had plenty of sunshine, but it would appear that the oranges were handed out sparingly to the poor little mites.

I can’t imagine why anyone thought this mass deportation was a good idea. How could anyone have thought it was the right thing to do? Some were orphans, but many were not and children as young as 3 were removed from everything they knew and sent to institutions – and a childhood without love and proper care.

The story is told beautifully in the movie “Oranges and Sunshine” starring Emily Watson, the sublime Hugo Weaving and the very compelling David Wenham. I should point out here that I love Hugo Weaving. I could watch him sitting quietly on a chair doing nothing much for hours.

Find a cinema that is showing this film and go to see it. It may make you sad and quite cross, but you should see it. The movie is taken from the book by Margaret Humphreys, the Nottingham social worker who uncovered the very well hidden secret. Emily Watson plays Margaret.

Then find a DVD of Pricilla, queen of the desert just to see how versatile Hugo Weaving is.


  1. Oooh, you do know how to get my attention, Deb, Hugo Weaving no less.. 🙂

    He is amaaaazing – Priscilla, Matrix, the list goes on. I’ll watch out for this one, although it is such a sad tale…

    • I think he is wonderful. I have never seen a bad performance. The movie is very sad, but you should see it.

  2. I wish I could see it and even if it was showing here, I would want to see this in English.

    • Isn’t there a cinema that shows films in their original language? It will probably be out on DVD soon anyway, it has been out for a while.

  3. Hugo Weaving rocks. I could sit and watch David Wenham doing nothing as well.

    • I don’t mind a bit of David Wenham as well. All the performances in this are excellent.

  4. Loved Priscilla, and all of the actors, and I’m sure this film is amazing, thank you Debra!
    There were many many of these children shipped off to Canada as well, “adopted” to be used as farm help at an extremely young age. Unbelievable stories. Ah, Humanity.

    • It is a miserable part of our history.

  5. I read Margaret Humphries’ book ‘Empty Cradles’. The box of tissues was emptied very quickly by the time I finished the story. What shocked me most was the blatant agreement between the British and Australian governments to ship such young children to far-flung places on such feeble promises. The stories of those child migrants are heart-wrenching – reminds me of a parallel to the Aboriginal Stolen Generation stories. ‘Humanity’?? I do admire the resilience of the victims in trying to make lives for themselves. Thanks, Deb, for bringing up the topic. I love your picture of the oranges basking in the sunshine, an apt start to your topic.

    • I have yet to read the book, I’m sure it is very sad, but the film has inspired me to read it.

  6. Unfortunately, it was common practice at the time. Not only British children were sent away, other nationalities went through that as well. And, as Sandra H points out, there was the Aboriginal Stolen Generation. Fortunately, we have changed a lot since then and we are more sensitive about these cases.
    I do hope that the film will be shown in Europe. It seems to be very interesting.

    • It is an excellent film, I hope you can see it in your town.

  7. Sounds beautiful. I love Emily Watson. Will try to see it. Thanks for the review.

    • I’m sure you will like the movie. Emily Watson is very good in it.

  8. This one has been on my list to see. Hugo and David Wenham are fantastic aussie actors.

    • Hugo and David are wonderful in this.

  9. Desperately wanting to see this, was distracted by the outdoor ice rink they have planted centre stage Canberra, hopefully this week. Hugo is amazing. 🙂

    • It is very sad, but the movie is excellent and of course there is the wonderful Hugo.

  10. Will try to see it and try not to get angry, know about this story and it needs to be told again to prevent more of this injustice.

    • Most of the children were sent to religious institutions. They should hang their heads in shame.

  11. Hugo Waving AND David Wenham? Count me in!

    • You should see it – a great movie.

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