Industrial and reformatory schools were established for the purpose of segregating neglected and convicted juveniles from adult prisoners.
Boys under the age of 18 years were sentenced to a term of confinement at the reformatory by Children's Courts. It appears that some boys were transferred to orphanages before the expiration of their sentences. Parents of neglected and convicted inmates were required to contribute financially to the maintenance of their sons whilst in the reformatory.
Boys who were transferred from the Proserpine to Signall Hill, Lytton in 1881, assisted in the building of the new reformatory. Their labour contributed to a defensive stockade surrounding Signal Hill, and the building of Fort Lytton itself. Buildings included dormatories, classrooms and a tailor's workshop. Industrious boys were offerred individual garden plots in which they could grow their own produce.
Mr James Wassell, superintendent of the Reformatory for Boys on the Proserpine, continued as superintendent of the Lytton reformatory. He held sole power of punishment which in serious cases meant boys were canned. Warders supervised inmates while outside and in the workshop.
Those boys considered trustworthy were sent out to service for the remainder of their sentence. A school teacher lived on-site, holding classes for the younger boys in the morning and older boys in the afternoon. The boys made their own clothes in the tailor's workshop.
On 1 October 1899 the boys were transferred to the Diamantina Reformatory School for Boys at South Brisbane, while buildings from Lytton were moved to and re-erected at a site at Westbrook, near Toowoomba. The boys relocated to Westbrook on 5 May 1900.
12 May 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/qld/QE00386
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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