The Home of the Good Shepherd Industrial School for Girls opened in June 1909 in buildings alongside the existing home for 'destitute women and girls'. The foundation stone was laid on 7 February 1909. Both Homes were run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Girls were sent to the reformatory by the Children's Court and their term could extend until they were 21 years old. Many girls worked in the laundry at the Home, but they could also be sent out to domestic service. The Home of the Good Shepherd Industrial School for Girls was a reformatory that was regulated by the State Children Act 1907. It remained a registered institution until it closed in 1979. The hardships endured by young women and girls working in the laundry, and the unfairness of being sent to the reformatory has been raised in government inquiries.
In evidence to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill in October 1918, the Catholic Archbishop of Perth explained that the Home of the Good Shepherd two separate sections: those 'industrial school children who have been sent there in greater numbers since the appointment of women police' and 'over 100' other children who were not sent there, nor paid for, by the state. The industrial school, he said, 'is quite distinct from the other, although it is within the same enclosure. The inmates are not allowed to associate.' At this time, the 'girls' in the industrial school were from 13 to 19 years old. The Archbishop described them as 'girls who were unmanageable by their parents or were found by the women police to be in great danger'.
In 1954, the Home of the Good Shepherd was criticised by an academic study which found that: going to Mass was in practice compulsory for non-Catholics, which was against State regulations; the 'training' conducted in the Home did fit within the regulations but it was 'doubtful' that it would be 'of any great value to the girls on their discharge'; and that the system here as elsewhere in WA was not up to standard with modern practices for industrial schools.
The facility closed in 1979 and the buildings were restored for use by the Catholic Education Office. The precinct of buildings is included on the State Heritage Register (Place No. 08880).
02 May 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00100
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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