University of Tasmania
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From orphan school to Point Puer : a study of the care of vulnerable children in Van Diemen's Land (1828-1833)

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:52 authored by Jackson, SM
Lieutenant Governor George Arthur established two institutions in Van Diemen's Land to care for vulnerable children. These institutions were the King's Orphan Schools and the Point Puer establishment for juvenile male convicts. The first was established in 1828, preceding the second by six years. There were enough similarities between the King's Orphan Schools and Point Puer to make it plausible that there was a connection between the existence of the King's Orphan Schools and the foundation of Point Puer. The aim of this thesis is to investigate whether the care of children in the King's Orphan Schools from 1828 to 1833 led to the ultimate foundation of Point Puer in January 1834. This is integral to an understanding of the nature of Van Diemen's Land society as concern for the future of the colony was irrevocably linked to the nature of the rising generation. It was also during Arthur's Lieutenant Governorship that the system for managing vulnerable children was set and most of this endured until around 1850. It is even arguable that many aspects of Arthur's management of vulnerable children were more effective than those in place today. The Point Puer establishment was such an innovation in the management of juvenile offenders that a consideration of its origins is very important. Most of the primary sources on the King's Orphan School and Point Puer are official. While these are excellent sources to have, they must be approached cautiously as the view they provide is one from \above\" without a balancing view from \"below\" - there are no memoirs from orphan school children or Point Puer boys. The Minutes Book of the Committee of Management for the King's Orphan Schools is a valuable source for the functioning of the Orphan Schools as well as for the Lieutenant Governor's attitude to this as Arthur insisted on checking the book regularly and the margins are strewn with his comments. Colonial Secretary Office despatches Lieutenant Governor's outward despatches and British Colonial Office despatches relating to the Orphan Schools and Point Puer have also been utilised. Two other kinds of official sources that have proved helpful are reports of the Commissioner of Inquiry and British Parliamentary Papers. Arthur's papers and private journals of Port Arthur Commandant Booth Port Arthur Storekeeper T. J. Lempriere and G. T. W. B. Boyes Secretary of the Committee of Management for the Orphan Schools have enabled a more balanced view. Other literary sources such as Arthur's Observations upon Secondary Punishment accounts of visitors to Point Puer newspapers and almanacks have provided further insights. Whether there was a connection between the King's Orphan Schools and Point Puer will be considered by analysing similarities in the two institutions founding functioning failings and aims. To begin with the background of the treatment of vulnerable children is dealt with. The second chapter focuses on Lieutenant Governor Arthur while the next chapter considers the establishment of the King's Orphan Schools. The fourth chapter analyses the functioning of the King's Orphan Schools. This is followed by a chapter enumerating the failings in the care of children in the orphan schools. Next Lieutenant Governor Arthur's attitude towards juvenile delinquents is examined and this leads into the next chapter on the establishment of Point Puer. After this is an analysis of its functioning. The ninth chapter enumerates the failings in the care of Point Puer boys. Next is a chapter on the linkages between the two institutions which draws the work to its conclusion."


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Copyright 1998 the Author

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  • Open

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