The NSS Vernon had been a merchant vessel. In 1867 it was fitted out as an industrial school and reformatory.
NSS Vernon was the only industrial school for boys at the time.
More than 100 boys lived on board the ship, which was anchored alongside a substantial shore facility that stretched between Garden Island and the Government Domain. The shore facility included a gymnasium, a spacious recreation ground, an entertainment hall and a recreation hall.
At first boys learned nautical and industrial skills and trades, as well as receiving 'moral training'. The intention was to fit them for seafaring. In 1871 Vernon was moved to a new mooring at Cockatoo Island. From 1878, under the guidance of Superintendent Frederick William Neitenstein, boys were given proper schooling, physical drills and a system of grades and privileges. They did, however, fraternise with the girls in Biloela, next door on Cockatoo Island, causing problems until the girls were relocated to Parramatta.
Vernon was replaced by Sobraon in 1892. Vernon then was sold and scuttled in Kerosene Bay.
06 December 2013
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/ref/NE01100
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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