59 all its paradoxes.

In document Hobart town society, 1855-1895 (Page 145-154)

The success of the Association was remarked upon by the Reverend J. Scott in 1886; he compared the hopeless task facing those engaged in similar work in the cities of the mainland and Britain with the almost complete penetration of the street-arab population achieved by the Hobart schools. He thought that possibly only 50 children had still not been reached by its


The government began its own Free School in 1872.^ It was not quite a Ragged School, there being little searching for

6 2

pupils. St Luke’s relaxed into a Catholic Free School “and the schools of the Ragged School Association went the same way as the street-arab problem grew less pressing than that of

achieving regularity of instruction in the public schools.

55**820th Annual Report H.T.R.S.A. 1878. r>9C.W., 23 May 1878.

^ M . , 18 August 1886.


Ibid., 4 May 1872. 62C.S., April 1891.

The Industrial Schools

By i860, assisted hy knowledge of English and European experience, many people realized that there were still gaps in the systems hy which the next generation was being brought into line of indoctrination. Ragged Schools presupposed a reasonably stable home life for their pupils (though not an enlightened one) but there were plenty of children whose homes were not stable, whose fathers or mothers had died or deserted or been sent to prison. There were children to be found wandering the streets, or caught stealing fruit, who were quite beyond the scope of the Ragged School visitor and the free exchange of clothes. The full Orphan School treatment was, for many years, the answer to this social problem, with the common gaol as the alternative. Perhaps without outside ideas these institutions would have continued these functions, but their inadequacy was

learned from overseas experience.

The Reverend T. Gellibrand, whilst on a visit to Scotland, visited ragged schools and reformatories there and, in a letter to the Reverend Archdeacon Davies, he drew attention to the flexibility offered by the recognition of two types of institution besides ragged schools. There were firstly the reformatories by which, under what he called Palmerston's Reformatory Act, young offenders were treated as criminals,

treated them more as unprotected children. From these observations the similar system in Tasmania eventually evolved.^

Gellibrand took a leading part in agitating for

legislation protecting the position of such schools. During



...a public meeting was convened at the Alliance Rooms, over which the Right Reverend Dr Bromby, Bishop of Tasmania, was elected to preside. A committee was then appointed to take action on this subject, and was constituted of individuals

of known philanthropy belonging to almost every ^ .

religious denomination. ^

The Catholics, Dr E. Swarbreck Hall and Henry Hunter, resigned before negotiations were complete because of the lack of separate doctrinal consideration in the suggested arrangements.

The British and German solutions to this problem became


known to the colonists before they knew there was a problem. It was a clear case where discussions in the literature caused reappraisal of the local situation. Tasmania, and Hobart Town in particular, needed an Industrial School system. In this type of school delinquent and abandoned children could be

legally separated from their home influences and trained to the standards necessary for them to become useful citizens. An Act

^ Q u o t e d in 1st Annual Report H.T.B.S. i860. ^ T . C . S ., November I



of I867 (31 Viet., No. 37) listed the types of children

envisaged by the legislators. A child under 14 years of age could he admitted to the schools if found begging, or vagrant, in the company of reputed thieves, if orphaned or deserted, or upon their description by parents or guardians as uncontrollable


The Girls* School was the first, before the passing of the Bill, as it grew naturally out of the Female Refuge - a more or less voluntary residence for prostitutes maintained by some keen churchwomen. The Refuge was limited to a maximum of eight inmates when it took over the task of admitting juvenile females sentenced xo imprisonment by the courts. There was much trouble caused by absconders and the arrangemenx was not very satisfactory, so xhat a clause in the 1867 Act recognized

that there were indeed two requirements; there was a need for residenxial schools for children not under sentence, and a further and distinct problem in provision for young offenders. By the terms of the Act the government was prepared to

subsidize any industrial school upon the self-help principle and this gave a great boost to voluntary effort. With

admission of 17 girls in 1867-68 the gross turnover was £454 and the ladies of the Managing Committee became quite aggressive


Notes for a projected book about the Girls* Industrial School, W. Hudspeth, 1945» Archives, U. of T.

in their demands for funds from Hooarb Town merchants and shipowners. The women ran the show but this was too early in the century for them to do so in their own names. There were male governors who took statutory responsibility, whilst their

f)7 wives were behind the scenes on the working committee.

Meanwhile, there had been much prevarication and no action about the formation of a school for boys to parallel the work being accomplished on behalf of the girls by what was officially known as the Hobart Town Female Reformatory and Industrial

School. The impasse reached in discussions about the Boys’ School was breached by the remarkable forthrightness of a member of the Legislative Council, the Honourable Alfred Kennerley, who paid £1,756 from his pocket for a house and three acres of land and hadit fitted out. He then welcomed a public appeal to provide furniture and working expenditure. He became president and treasurer of the Managing Committee which was formed at a subsequent public meeting. He eventually

got his money back from subscriptions and government capital grants. Initially 20 boys were admitted, most of them aged about 10 or 12, but with one as young as 8. They spent their mornings at cooking, washing, wood cutting, milking and

gardening, and their afternoons at lessons. Religious

^ G i r l s ’ Industrial School Minute Books 1862-1945* 11 vols. Archives, U. of T.

instruction, which was strictly confined to Church of England principles, was given morning and evening. Satisfaction was expressed at the results of the institution:

When it is considered that most of the boys, when application is made for their admission, are

described as 'wild1, * unmanageable', and the like, it is the more remarkable that they should be found living together month after month, not only with no attempt to escape and return to the old freedom, but with the happy contentment which marks a well ordered home.

These boys were not juvenile offenders. The experience of the experiment with the Female Reformatory and Industrial School had shown that those convicted constituted a further category of children who needed to be dealt with differently.


So a ‘Reformatory or Training School' was commenced in the old buildings at the Cascades as a juvenile gaol and was always wholly government controlled.

Details of the neglected boys committed to the Industrial School were published in the Second Annual Report, which

revealed that the organizers were following the example of 70

'similar institutions in Great Britain'. Of 26 cases only eight had fathers living. The father of two of these was in prison, three fathers were invalids and three had deserted.


v 1st Annual Report Boys' Home Industrial School 1870. 69Ibid.

2nd Annual Report Boys' Home Industrial School 1871« 70

The other boys were orphans or bastards or had delinquent 71

mothers. Here are some of their sorry stories:

No.4 . 'Father dead, mother not to be found, boy apprehended on the wharf living in boilers, deserted, friendless and


No.17. 'Father dead, mother in gaol for beggingj had not been at school for months, no home or friends, apprehended under the Vagrancy Act'.

No.21. Had no mother and his father 'hearing at Launceston there was a Home for poor boys at Hobart Town, walked down in 14 days in a very weak state of health, and having succeeded in his object endeavoured to return there, but was found dead in the bush near Campbell Town'.

The Report concludes that most of the children were found under deplorable conditions, in abodes of sin and misery, and

that several of them had suffered so much hardship and privation in their earlier years that it would be a long process to bring them to the vigour and health which children of their age usually possessed.

The Queen's Orphan Asylum continued in parallel work until 1879> when its remaining 19 inmates were sent out to the Boys' and Girls' Industrial Schools and one part of the old


c e n t r a l i z e d w e l f a r e s y s t e m r e v e r t e d c o m p l e t e l y t o t h e new g o v e r n m e n t - a s s i s t e d p r i v a t e p h i l a n t h r o p y . But t h e I n d u s t r i a l S c h o o l s , a s mo st o t h e r i n s t i t u t i o n s i n s i m i l a r p o s i t i o n s , f o u n d a g r a d u a l d e c l i n e i n p u b l i c f i n a n c i a l s u b s c r i p t i o n s e m b a r r a s s i n g . T h e r e was a c o r r e s p o n d i n g i n c r e a s e i n t h e g o v e r n m e n t ’ s f i n a n c i a l c o m mi t me nt a n d w i t h i t , o f o f f i c i a l s u p e r v i s i o n , e v e n t h o u g h b e f o r e t h e e i g h t e e n n i n e t i e s t h e r e was no s l a c k e n i n g i n t h e s p r i n g s o f p h i l a n t h r o p y w h i c h came s a t i s f y i n g l y b e t w e e n g i v e r a n d r e c e i v e r and p r o v i d e d f l e x i b l e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . The h e y d a y o f t h e i n d u s t r i a l s c h o o l s h a d p a s s e d b e f o r e 1875 a s wor d f i l t e r e d t h r o u g h o f t h e s u c c e s s , i n B r i t a i n a n d New S o u t h W a l e s , o f t h e p a y i n g o f f o s t e r m o t h e r s i n t h e b o a r d i n g o u t s y s t e m .

The s cheme was i m i t a t e d s u c c e s s f u l l y a n d o p e r a t e d by t h e

c o m m i t t e e o f t h e B e n e v o l e n t S o c i e t y f o r t h e r e s t o f t h e c e n t u r y . The F e ma l e P r o b l e m As h a s b e e n d i s c u s s e d a l r e a d y H o b a r t Town, f r o m i t s e a r l y d a y s , h a d more t h a n i t s f a i r s h a r e o f s o c i a l d i s h a r m o n y b r o u g h t a b o u t b y t h e s e x u a l a p p e t i t i e s o f i t s m o t l e y i n h a b i t a n t s . A f t e r i 8 6 0 t h e r e was no f o r m a l a t t e m p t t o t a c k l e t h i s p a r t i c u l a r d e f i c i e n c y f o r a l m o s t 20 y e a r s . The p r o b l e m was i g n o r e d . M o st r e s p o n s i b l e c i t i z e n s , on t h i s p a r t i c u l a r i s s u e , i n t h e

words of a plea made in 1856, were guilty of being too content 72

to ’look on life from drawing room windows'.

But then a dreadful thing happened. The lovely and lonely girls of the city had acquired a minor reputation within the Australian colonies for their hospitality. This appears to he

an easily acquired attribute of any isolated port and the city’s excess of nubile females, which was unusual in the colonies, was sufficient to explain its origin. A Royal Navy Flying Squadron visit during a world cruise in I87O caused the Domain shoreline opposite the warships to be packed till late


at night: ’mostly with the gentle sex’ I Their reputed beauty, it was felt, was not borne out in practice,^ an accusation which brought angry rejoinders in letters to the press.


Later in the same decade the Australian Squadron visited the port and the gaieties were much the same as before. After the fleet had sailed a letter from the Commander of the Squadron informed the government that the naval men had cause to

remember their days in the Derwent. The crews had spent 36 days in Wellington with no ill effects. They spent 14 days in

7~T.C.C., May 1856. 73

J.B., The Cruise Around the World of the Flying Squadron, (London, 1871) p.129*

^Ibid., p.136. 7b

Royal Navy ships whose maintenance was subscribed to by all the Australian colonies.

Hobart Town and lost seven men from venereal disease, one of whom died. Visits to Hobart Town would, in the future, be curtailed because of the ’large amount of prostitution which...


exists at that place'. J The Squadron could be incapacitated by 'the risks run by Her Majesty's Ships visiting the port of


In document Hobart town society, 1855-1895 (Page 145-154)