In 1866 the majority of children were moved out of the Destitute Asylum as a result of the passing of the new Destitute Persons Relief Act. Boys who had been convicted of offences were among the large group of children relocated briefly to the Exhibition Building on North Terrace and then to the Grace Darling Hotel at Brighton.
Due to overcrowding and pervading illness at the Hotel, however, all children there were moved to other institutions. In December 1869, a number of the boys were moved to a former mansion in Burnside known as Ilfracombe. The remainder went to the new Boys Reformatory at Magill.
In its 1869 report, the Destitute Board commented on conditions at Ilfracombe. It also stated that the boys were involved in shoemaking, stone-breaking, road-building shed building and gardening. The report also explained that:
'The building itself, which in some parts was dilapidated, has been, by several of the boys, with the help of the master, repaired, plastered.'
A newspaper article the following year commended the work the boys had done to the old building noting that:
'The whole of the improvements necessary to transform a private residence into a Reformatory Institution are being carried out by the boys themselves without any external mechanical assistance whatever. '
Rosamond and Florence Hill, English sisters who visited Ilfracombe in 1873, commented on the rough living conditions under which the 25 boys were living. However, they were impressed with the boys themselves whom they described as appearing healthy and happy. The boys attended school for two hours each day and were kept occupied at other times with caring for cows and pigs, making shoes and straw covers for wine bottles.
Ilfracombe continued to operate as a Boys Reformatory until 1880 when the boys from there and those from the Boys' Reformatory, Magill, were transferred to the Reformatory Hulk, the Fitzjames.
16 January 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE00069
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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