The Northern Tasmanian Home for Boys was located at Glenara, Franklin Village, which is near Launceston, in an eight roomed house set on 13 acres.
It was run by a non-denominational Management Committee.
The Home opened with 14 boys but had a capacity for 30.
Frank and Anne Parkin were the first Superintendent and Matron of the Home. They were members of the Salvation Army with no experience of looking after children, apart from raising their own son and daughter. Before taking up their positions, they toured some mainland Homes to find out how they operated. By the end of the 1920s, the Parkins and the Committee were having major disagreements. At the heart of them, according to Daniel Smedley, was the Parkins' zealous approach to child saving, which the more moderate Committee opposed. The Parkins left in 1927.
The next appointments, Major and Mrs LGH Bradgate, were also inexperienced. The Committee sacked them in 1929 because the Major could not manage the boys. He may also have been an alcoholic.
Ivan and Daphne Filluel replaced the Bradgates. They had some experience, having taken over when the Bradgates were on leave in 1928. Smedley says that the management of the Home improved after that. The couple were still there in 1955 when Daphne Filluel received an MBE.
The Home provided entertainments for the boys. For instance, in 1925, they had a holiday at George Town. They also attended the Friendly Societies' Picnic, a sports event held when the British fleet visited, the National Agricultural Society's show, and the picnic held by the Church of England in Franklin Village. Sometimes there were joint outings with the girls from Launceston Girls' Home. The Annual Report commented that:
'The Committee are grateful for the kindly interest taken in our boys in providing these outings which help to materially brighten their lives and teach them to appreciate what is being done for them.'
From 1929 onwards, the boys had a holiday every year at Meercroft near the bluff in Devonport. They also played football and cricket, coached by Ivan Filleul.
In the 1920s, the boys attended Franklin Village State School and from the 1940s onwards, Youngtown State School. For further education, boys could study at the Technical College in Launceston. However, those with the ability to go on to the State High School were not allowed to sit the qualifying exam.
After leaving school, most of the boys found employment on farms. To prepare for it, they carried out work on the small farm at the Home after school hours. It produced milk, cream, eggs, vegetables and, at one time, meat from sheep and cattle.
This appears to have come at a cost. Former residents made claims to the 2003-4 Ombudsman's enquiry that they were forced to work excessively at all types of farming duties, including milking, and digging drains and ditches, in all weather, without footwear or protective clothing.
Annual Reports of the Home, published in the Annual Reports of successive child welfare departments, suggest that the Home slowly began to encourage the boys' studies. In 1941, one boy attended Warren's Business College, having been offered free tuition. In 1956, two attended Launceston High School. From 1967 onwards, the Home had tutors to help boys with their school work.
About this time, according to Anna Haebich and Doreen Mellor, one of the aims of the Home became providing a higher education for young Indigenous people. In 1966, the Committee formed a sub-committee to bring them from Cape Barren Island to Launceston for further education.
In 1950, to provide temporary accommodation for the staff, Meercroft Hospital put up a house on the property where the boys had their holidays. A couple of years later, it became the property of the Home. In 1954-5, the dilapidated old dormitory was demolished and replaced with a new building.
In the 1960s, the Superintendent introduced a holiday scheme for boys to stay with families instead of going to Devonport. This continued until the Home closed.
The Committee purchased a property at 56 Racecourse Crescent in 1954 to use as a hostel for boys who had left the Home and started an apprenticeship or other form of employment.
12 February 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00034
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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