Clontarf Boys Town, outside Perth, Western Australia. Posted by Michael Gormley on his blog

It was an emotional day for Australia on Monday when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd publicly apologised to the estimated 500,000 children who were abused in government institutions between the 1930s and 1970s - what he called "The absolute tragedy of childhoods lost".

Instead of being adopted or placed in foster care, children aged between three and 14 years-old were placed in institutions where they are reported to have been emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused. About 7,000 to 10,000 of them were child migrants from the UK, known in Australia as the ‘Lost Innocents'.

After Rudd's emotional apology, there are growing calls for the British government to issue a similar admission to the 150,000 youngsters they forcibly shipped to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries. In 1998 an extensive UK parliament report into the programme revealed serious flaws and subsequently, grave consequences. But as yet, no British premier has delivered an official apology.

© ABCNews

“An acknowledgment of what happened, but it won't make any difference to my life”

Michael Gormley writes a blog called Clontarf Boys Town, where he gathers stories of other child migrants and reflects on his time at the school of the same name outside Perth, Western Australia. He was sent to Australia in 1953, at the age of eight.

I think Rudd's apology was necessary: it's an acknowledgment of the fact that childhood deprivation and abuse really did happen.

Society has changed since the 50s - children were never believed if they complained of being abused and many of the children didn't know any different. Who could one turn to? Most if not all the children had been abandoned or deprived. The only ‘home' that was familiar was a convent or orphanage.

Many of the child migrants didn't complain of their treatment until many years after their incarceration, mainly due to fear. Institutional life is all about control and fear. Most of those child migrants were terrified little boys who were uprooted from their country of origin and transported 12,000 miles to an orphanage - or ‘chamber of horrors' - in Australia.  Fortunately (through the grace of God) after many years of counselling, I made a complete recovery.

The UK should follow up with a similar apology to its child migrants for the benefit of those who haven't come to terms with their history. For me personally it is an acknowledgment of what happened, but it won't make any difference to my life."

Clontarf Boys Town, outside Perth, Western Australia. Posted by Michael Gormley on his blog.

Child migrants. Posted by Michael Gormley on his blog.

Clontarf Boys Town, outside Perth, Western Australia. Posted by Michael Gormley on his blog.