J Backhouse and C Tylor, The Life and Labours of George Washington Walker , (London^ 1862) pp.33-37»

In document Hobart town society, 1855-1895 (Page 130-140)

Mackie, Journal, p.321.

^ I n Britain; 'A parent idea or institution might generate, by fission or emulation, a bewildering number of variants, not all of indubitable utility'. Owen, op.cit., p.l63.

S o c i e t y a nd o t h e r s u c h : h a v e we no i n d i v i d u a l s , s i r - I do n o t a s k f o r a s o c i e t y - who w i l l b e g i n b y e n d e a v o u r i n g t o r e c l a i m t h e s e o u t c a s t s ? . . . The l e t t e r d e s c r i b e s i n some d e t a i l t h e f o r t u n e s o f a y o u n g woman o f c o n v i c t o r i g i n who h a d b e e n a l l o t t e d a f r e e b e d i n S t M a r y ’ s H o s p i t a l f o r t h e d e l i v e r y o f h e r i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d . S h e , l i k e m o s t c o n v i c t s , a nd i n d e e d many, i f n o t m o s t , p o o r 33 i m m i g r a n t s , h a d no f a m i l y t o f a l l b a c k u p o n . “ The g o v e r n m e n t h a d no m a c h i n e r y f o r a c t i o n i n s u c h a c a s e ; s h e was n o t i n f i r m a n d h e n c e c o u l d n o t e n t e r t h e H o s p i t a l o r t h e B r i c k f i e l d s - a n d t h e y w e r e f u l l a nyw ay ; t h e M a t e r n a l a n d D o r c a s S o c i e t y w o u l d n o t t o u c h t h e d e p r a v e d , a n d t h e I n s t i t u t i o n f o r t h e D e p r a v e d w o u l d n o t a c c e p t b a b i e s . So t h e g i r l a n d h e r c h i l d w e r e s l e e p i n g i n h e d g e s a n d d o o r w a y s . The E d i t o r , i n a g r e e i n g , r e m a r k e d t h a t y o u n g s o c i e t i e s h a v e a s much ’ m o r a l and p h y s i c a l m i s e r y a n d w r e t c h e d n e s s [ a s d o ] o l d e r , more p o p u l o u s a n d c o m p e t i t i v e c o m m u n i t i e s ' . ^ P e r h a p s t h e h a p p i e s t a n s w e r , i f n o t t h e m o s t r e a l i s t i c , was t o t r a n s p o r t e x - c o n v i c t s who w e r e l i a b l e t o become a c h a r g e u p o n t h e c ommun it y b a c k t o B r i t a i n . T h i s s u g g e s t i o n was made

^ C . T . , 6 J a n u a r y 1857* 3 3 The b r e a k i n t h e c h a i n o f f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , c a u s e d by m i g r a t i o n , m u s t h a v e h a d s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t u p o n t h e n e e d f o r o r g a n i z e d c h a r i t y . T h e r e w e r e , f o r some t i m e a f t e r m i g r a t i o n , g r e a t e r l i n k s t h r o u g h e x t e n d e d f a m i l i e s a m o n g s t t h e h i g h e r c l a s s e s t h a n a m o n g s t t h e l o w e r . ^ G . T . , 8 J a n u a r y 1857«

in the House of Assembly during I856. It might have been taken seriously except that the Colonial Government could not see its way to finding the expense, and an approach to the Imperial Government was not favourably received.

Local attitudes towards the organization of charitable services were the result of two reactions to the contemporary situation. There was a widespread illusion that the magic wand of self-government would bring to a rapid end the need for the old convict establishments. The emotional response to independence was sufficient to ensure that most people were waiting impatiently to see them closed. One task of the first free parliament was conceived to be the winding up of the services for convicts. It was, in fact, a slow process which lasted a generation.

The second influence upon charitable action was reaction within the community towards social propaganda from Britain. Temptations of new ideas on social welfare, described vividly in British periodicals, were felt very strongly by a community trying to associate itself with an image of Englishness. The old institutional organizations were simply not suited to the new situations, were not flexible enough, did not conform with

3jH. of A.J. 1856, Proceedings, p.129. 36H. of A.J. 1861, Paper 4.

newer ideas on the way philanthropy should be administered; but this did not imply that British models would automatically prove more suitable. The end result fell between the two

extremes.

The Report of the Joint Committee into Charitable Institutions was published in 1858. The preamble to the report states clearly a realization of the abrupt change in the composition of the community which had created the necessity for institutional change:

The acquisition of Responsible Government was preceded by an alteration in our population; and the change from bond to free, from single men and women to families, from classes constantly under the eye and control of Government to a community dispersed and detached from Government supervision and control....

A Benevolent Asylum was proposed, which should be in a position to offer temporary assistance to prevent any would-be paupers from slipping below the line. Should they do so, the report continues, they would entail government expense in out-door relief or in establishments and would become a pauper class by losing those few material buffers which distinguished the possessing classes - small savings, furniture and spare clothes. There was recognition that the tendency to pauperism was not

^ ’Report of Joint Committee appointed to enquire into the state and sufficiency of the Institutions for Charitable Purposes that are supported or aided by the Government’, H. of A.J. I858, Paper 6 1, p.l.

n e c e s s a r i l y a v i c e o f i n d i v i d u a l s "but c o u l d be f o r t u i t o u s - f r o m s i c k n e s s , i n j u r y a n d d e a t h o f b r e a d w i n n e r s , o r by f l u c t u a t i o n s i n t r a d e . T h i s was a c o n s i d e r a b l e a d v a n c e u p o n t h e o r i g i n a l - s i n a t t i t u d e t h a t many c o l o n i s t s s t i l l e x h i b i t e d t o w a r d s c o n v i c t s a n d e m a n c i p i s t s . I t was many y e a r s b e f o r e t h e two d i f f e r e n t c o n c e p t s s t o p p e d d i v i d i n g o p i n i o n s a b o u t t h e n e e d f o r c b a r i t a b l e a c t i o n w i t h i n t h e c i t y .

The m a j o r c h e c k a g a i n s t i m p o s i t i o n was one w h i c h c o i n c i d e d w i t h c o l o n i a l p r e d i s p o s i t i o n s , t h e d e l e g a t i o n o f a d m i n i s t r a t i o n t o v o l u n t a r y a n d p r i v a t e s o c i e t i e s w h i c h w o u l d be h e l p e d a n d s u b s i d i z e d t h r o u g h T r e a s u r y g r a n t s . The s c o r n f e l t t h r o u g h o u t t h e c om mun it y f o r g o v e r n m e n t w e l f a r e s e r v i c e s was o b v i o u s . T h i s was a w i d e s p r e a d s e n t i m e n t a n d one w h i c h B r i t i s h l i t e r a t u r e c o n s t a n t l y f e d . I t was s o s t r o n g i n H o b a r t Town t h a t i t r e v e r s e d t h e p r e v i o u s r e l i a n c e u p o n o f f i c i a l p a t e r n a l i s m , i n t h e o r y a t l e a s t , f o r a s h o r t p e r i o d . L a t e r i n t h e c e n t u r y t h e f a i l u r e o f v o l u n t a r y s u p p o r t a n d a g e n e r a l t e n d e n c y t o w a r d s i n c r e a s e d g o v e r n m e n t p a r t i c i p a t i o n a l t e r e d t h e s i t u a t i o n o n c e m o r e . C o l o n i a l p h i l a n t h r o p i s t s w e r e k e e n t o a s s o c i a t e , t o j o i n i n v o l u n t a r y s o c i e t i e s . P e r h a p s b e c a u s e o f t h e l a c k o f t r a d i t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , t h e r e s e e m e d t o be g r e a t r e l i a n c e u p o n d e c i s i o n m a k i n g t h r o u g h f o r m a l a s s o c i a t i o n . The t e m p e r w h i c h m o s t s u i t e d s u c c e s s f u l c o l o n i s t s was a d i s s e n t i n g o n e , i n d i v i d u a l a c t i o n t o p r o d u c e good t h r o u g h a s s o c i a t i o n . A c o r e

of Christian philanthropists were very ready contributors to all charitable causes. It was local pride that there was no colonial poor rate, and the threat of one was raised constantly as a bogey to spur on public subscription to voluntary

charities. The committee of the Benevolent Society informed townspeople that:

This voluntary poor-rate should fall more equally

than it has hitherto done, and as it would do, ,q were a compulsory rate enforced by legal enactment....' There was a steady stream of active volunteers, limited in numbers and in proportion to the population, but nevertheless sufficient to provide committees for all of the voluntary societies, although with much duplication of membership.

Philanthropic Organizations after Self-government: The Ragged School Association

Because of basic human arrangements and the common cultural basis, many English innovations did more or less fit the

colonial need. The introduction of a Ragged School system was one of the most successful transplants. The Queen’s Orphan Schoo Is ^ h a d taken in orphans of free or bond parents and the children of convicts who could not maintain them because of

~^lst Annual Report H.T.B.S. i860, p.ll.

There was an Infant School besides Male and Female Branch Schools.

of gaol sentences, desertion of fathers, illegitimacy, or the ill health of parents. The children of pauper free had always gained access to this institution to a slight extent. The orphan establishment was passed over gradually on a per-capita- cost basis from imperial to colonial control - in I858 I89 children were on imperial charge and the colony paid l/3d per

day for each of the other 2 2 4 . ^

Most of the children were between 6 and 13 years of age,

but there were 14 babies and as many inmates who were over 18

years of age. At the upper age limits, inmates and staff

In document Hobart town society, 1855-1895 (Page 130-140)