Tardun Farm School was established by the Christian Brothers in 1928 as St Mary's Agricultural School.
The 'Tardun Agricultural College' was described in the Report of the Royal Commission on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System in 1938:
'The object of the school...is to recruit orphan boys from the Clontarf Orphanage at about the age of 12 to 15 years and give them a training in agricultural methods sufficient to enable them to conduct farming operations or to accept work as farm labourers. No fees are charged. The boys live on the farm. The idea is to select land and establish the most promising boys on their own farms. As regards the other boys, the Brothers place them in employment when they are ready, their wages ranging from 12s. 6d. To £2 10s. per week and keep. The school has initiated a system of instructing the boys in general educational subjects and putting them up for the Junior examination of the University - a policy to be recommended. The Principal of the school (Brother Conlon) states that there is no lack of application for the boys when they have finished their training. Report of the Royal Commissioner on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System, 1938, p.lxix'
The Royal Commissioner recommended (p.lxx) that the Government pay a maintenance allowance of 10 shillings per week for each 'destitute orphan boy' at Tardun provided the school undertook vocational and general education and training to the satisfaction of the Education Department. By 1940, this recommendation had not been implemented.
After World War II, Tardun admitted boys from various backgrounds including Wards of the State, child migrants, orphans and private admissions. Australian-born boys, and British and Maltese child migrants aged from about 12 to 16 years lived at Tardun. In 1967, the Farm School became an agricultural boarding and day school, which operated on the site until the end of 2008. Some children continued to be placed at Tardun by the departments responsible for child welfare.
The Christian Brothers' institutions Bindoon, Clontarf, Castledare and Tardun first received widespread publicity about child abuse in the early 1990s. In 1993, the Christian Brothers in Western Australia issued an apology and from 1995 have funded independent services to help with family tracing, counselling and remedial education for men who had suffered in their institutions. Many former residents of these institutions have shared their experiences and memories (bad and good) at government inquiries, in books and in oral histories.
24 July 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00216
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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