• Legislation

Destitute Children Act 1866, New South Wales


The Destitute Children Act [2/1866 (30 Vic. No.2)], also known as the Industrial Schools Act, enabled justices to send vagrant and destitute children under the age of eighteen to work as apprentices or be sent to industrial or reformatory schools. The Act was amended in 1870 to enable boys under the age of six to be cared for by the women superintendents of Female Industrial Schools. The Act was repealed by the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act 1901.

This has been described as the first ‘caring’ legislation for children in New South Wales, but it is hard to imagine that an act that caused children to be ‘charged’ with their own neglect, poverty and abuse could be considered caring.

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