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New South Wales - Organisation

Mount Penang Training School for Boys (1946 - 1987)

  • Mt Penang Training Centre

    Mt Penang Training Centre, 7 July 1978, courtesy of State Library of New South Wales.
    Details

From
1946
To
1987
Categories
Government-run, Home, Juvenile Justice Centre and Reformatory
Alternative Names
  • Gosford Training School
  • Mount Penang
  • Mount Penang Training Centre
  • Mt Penang

Mount Penang Training School for Boys, or Mt Penang Training Centre, was established by the Child Welfare Department in 1946 at Kariong, near Gosford. It replaced the Gosford Training School. Some children were transferred from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and placed in this Home. It was a reformatory for boys convicted of offences or had been difficult to manage in other Child Welfare Department institutions. Mount Penang was predominately for older boys, aged 14 to 16 years of age. In 1959 it held 380 boys. It was officially renamed the Mount Penang Detention Centre in 1988.

Details

In the 1950s Mount Penang was divided into the Main Institution, which had dormitory-style accommodation, and the Privilege Cottage, which had separate bedrooms, dining and recreation rooms. The site reused the buildings of the former Gosford Training Home.

In the 1950s, there was large-scale landscaping of the site, with the boys carrying out stonemasonry and land clearing. According to the 1962 Child Welfare Department Annual Report:

The grounds of the institution have been landscaped on a large scale, involving the removal of a sizeable hill. Stone won in the process has been used to face the terraces and build walls and rock gardens, this work being carried out by the boys under trained supervision. The lads take great pride in their stonework, a number of them becoming remarkably expert in stonemasonry, a craft which is something of a dying art in the outside community.

Each day was deliberately long and exhausting, and like similar regimes in girls' homes like Parramatta, was designed to effect personality changes. The 1964 Child Welfare Department described the policy:

An inmate of Mt. Penang is exposed to a regulated, demanding programme from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. In the course of each day therefore, he is brought into contact with varying influences, depending on his location, which have a decided impact on his attitude, behaviour, and character.

Boys who did not comply with this regime, or committed offences within Mount Penang, were sent to an annexe, Tamworth Institution for Boys, which was opened in 1948. In 1976 that institution was renamed Endeavour House. Both have been described by former inmates as a 'school for killers', as the boys sent there often headed into lives of violent crime. Although Mount Penang was not as brutal, it too has a reputation for creating, rather than reforming, criminals.

Mt Penang Training School for Boys was a place where boys who had been committed to an institution in the Australian Capital Territory could be transferred.

The site of Mount Penang Training School for Boys is, in 2014, part of Mt Penang Parklands.

Location

1946 - 1987
Location - Mount Penang Training School for Boys was situated at Gosford. Location: Gosford

Timeline

 1894 - c. 1908 Carpentarian Reformatory for Boys
       1908 - 1912 Brush Farm Reformatory
             1911 - 1923 Gosford Farm Home for Boys
                   1923 - 1945 Gosford Training School
                         1946 - 1987 Mount Penang Training School for Boys
                               1988 - 1991 Mount Penang Detention Centre
                                     1991 - 1999 Mt Penang Juvenile Justice Centre

Related Organisations

Publications

Books

  • 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. Details
  • Rubie, Valerie, Sent to the Mountain: A History of Mount Penang Juvenile Justice Centre, Closure Committee of Mount Penang Juvenile Justice Centre, Gosford, 2003, 236 pp. Details

Reports

  • Report of the Minister of Public Instruction on the work of the Child Welfare Department, Department of Education, Sydney, 1921-1931; 1935/36-1954/55. Details
  • Report of the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare for the year ended 30 June, Government Printer, Sydney, 1970/71-1972-73. Details
  • Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, 1955/1956-1969/1970. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Carpentry class (Mt Penang)
Title
Carpentry class (Mt Penang)
Type
Image
Date
c. 1948
Source
Leonie Knapman

Details

Mt Penang Training School for Boys - Mechanics Class
Title
Mt Penang Training School for Boys - Mechanics Class
Type
Image
Date
c. 1948
Source
Leonie Knapman

Details

Mount Penang Privilege Cottage
Title
Mount Penang Privilege Cottage
Type
Image
Date
20 February 1950
Source
Public Record Office Victoria

Details

Mount Penang Training School for Boys: Project completed this year
Title
Mount Penang Training School for Boys: Project completed this year
Type
Image
Date
c. 1958

Details

Landscape Gardening at Mount Penang
Title
Landscape Gardening at Mount Penang
Type
Image
Date
c. 1959

Details

Gymnastics practice, Mount Penang
Title
Gymnastics practice, Mount Penang
Type
Image
Date
c. 1959

Details

Boys at Mount Penang demonstrate their skill in the gymnasium
Title
Boys at Mount Penang demonstrate their skill in the gymnasium
Type
Image
Date
c. 1961

Details

Mount Penang 50 years ago and to-day
Title
Mount Penang 50 years ago and to-day
Type
Image
Date
c. 1962

Details

Boys at work at the mechanics shop, Mt. Penang
Title
Boys at work at the mechanics shop, Mt. Penang
Type
Image
Date
c. 1964

Details

Sandstone retaining wall, Mt. Penang. The wall was designed and built by the boys with minimal supervision
Title
Sandstone retaining wall, Mt. Penang. The wall was designed and built by the boys with minimal supervision
Type
Image
Date
c. 1964

Details

The main entrance, Mt. Penang designed and built by the boys and staff
Title
The main entrance, Mt. Penang designed and built by the boys and staff
Type
Image
Date
c. 1964

Details

Mt Penang Training Centre
Title
Mt Penang Training Centre
Type
Image
Date
7 July 1978
Source
State Library of New South Wales

Details

Mt Penang Training Centre
Title
Mt Penang Training Centre
Type
Image
Date
7 July 1978
Source
State Library of New South Wales

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the Minister of Public Instruction on the work of the Child Welfare Department, Department of Education, Sydney, 1921-1931; 1935/36-1954/55; Report of the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare for the year ended 30 June, Government Printer, Sydney, 1970/71-1972-73; Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, 1955/1956-1969/1970; History of Mt Penang Parklands, Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (NSW Government), http://www.ccrdc.nsw.gov.au/MtPenangParklands/History.aspx; 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; 'Mount Penang Juvenile Justice Centre', 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/486; Rubie, Valerie, Sent to the Mountain: A History of Mount Penang Juvenile Justice Centre, Closure Committee of Mount Penang Juvenile Justice Centre, Gosford, 2003, 236 pp; 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; Thompson, Geoff, 'School for Killers', ABC Investigations Unit, 14 December 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/school-for-killers/?WT.svl=news0.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Liam Hogan