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Milking on the Barnardo farm

Our History: August 1891

The front page of the August 1891 issue of The Nor-West Farmer, And Miller featured this engraving of milking on Dr. Barnardo’s farm near Russell. Dr. Barnardo was founder of a controversial British organization to help destitute or orphan boys by sending them to work on farms in Canada, but was later seen as a cruel program that took advantage of them as cheap labour. A website run by British Home Children in Canada, also known as “Barnardo Boys,” says the Barnardo farm was about 3-1/2 miles from Russell along the Assiniboine. The farmhouse was built in 1887-88 and could house 100 boys with rooms for officers and offices, laundry, bathrooms, hospital, store and kitchen.

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Today’s Manitoba government apparently has similar objectives to the government in 1891, but the editor was not impressed, perhaps for self-serving reasons. “While everyone wishes to see economy in the public service, there is no need for penuriousness. Last year the Manitoba Government supplied each of the crop correspondents with a dollar agricultural paper. This year each correspondent is to get a book, the retail price of which is 40 cents.”

He then when on to write about the regrettable participation of young men in farmers’ institutes.

“It is sage to say that the ablest institute lecturer in Canada could not hold some of these young men in their seats for two minutes… “No opportunity should be let slip by the directors of institutes to do all in their power to attract their sons and younger neighbours to these meetings, and ‘compel them to come in’ until their ranks are filled.”

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