The Metropolitan Boys' Shelter was established as part of the Children's Court at Albion Street, Surry Hills in 1911. It was a remand home and shelter for boys who were awaiting Children's Court hearings. In 1974 boys aged 18 to 20 were transferred to Minda. The Children's Court and the Metropolitan Boys' Shelter closed in 1983.
The Shelter was established at The Children's Court on the corner of Albion and Commonwealth Streets, Surry Hills, in 1911. Although the instigator of the Children's Court, Sir Charles K Mackellar, had great hopes that the new court would be airy and light and would reflect the humane intention of the new policies. However the Albion Street building, designed by Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon, was much the same as other New South Wales Government courthouses. It was attractive on the outside, but gloomy inside. Mackellar was upset that there was no space for children awaiting court hearings to be separated from adults who were being tried in the court for offences against children that ranged from desertion to neglect and abuse.
The accommodation for the boys, which was under the building, was noted to be particularly unsuitable for reformative purposes.
The courthouse and the shelter closed in 1983. The buildings are now used by a range of social services providers.
Sources used to compile this entry: Lawlink, 'The Children's Court of New South Wales: Timeline of Major Events 1905-2011', in History of the Children's Court, Lawlink, Lawlink NSW, 2012, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/History%20-%20Timeline%20of%20major%20events.pdf; Ludlow, Christa, 'For their own good' : a history of the Albion Street Children's Court and Boys' Shelter, Network of Community Activities, Surry Hills, 1994, 47 pp; McLean, Donald, Children In Need: An account of the administration and functions of the Child Welfare Department, New South Wales, Australia: with an examination of the principles involved in helping deprived and wayward children, Government Printer, Sydney, 1955, 173 pp; 'Minda', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/575; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp, http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:1369/SOURCE01?view=true; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/319256/connectkin_guide.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 23 March 2011, Last modified: 30 August 2013