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New South Wales - Organisation

Parramatta Girls Industrial School (1887 - 1912)

  • Girls Training School Precinct

    Girls Training School Precinct, May 1996, by Chapman, Daryl, courtesy of Australian Government Department of the Environment.
    Details

From
1887
To
1912
Categories
Government-run, Home, Industrial School and Reformatory
Alternative Names
  • Bethel House
  • Industrial School for Females (1887 - 1912)
  • Parramatta Training School for Girls

The Parramatta Girls Industrial School was established in 1887 in the old Roman Catholic Orphan School buildings at Parramatta by the Department of Public Instruction. It accommodated around 160 to 200 girls at a time, and some younger boys, most of whom had been charged with crimes or committed for welfare reasons. In 1912 the Parramatta Girls Industrial School moved to the control of the State Children's Relief Board and became the Parramatta Girls Training Home.

Details

The institution at Parramatta has a long history including several name changes from 1887 to 1975. It has been estimated that up to 30,000 girls passed through Parramatta over this time; it is a significant site in Australian women's and child welfare history.

Parramatta Girls Industrial School was founded in 1887 when the Biloela Industrial School at Cockatoo Island was closed down in the aftermath of rioting and scandals and the girls were transferred to the Roman Catholic Orphanage buildings in Fleet Street. Like Biloela, it was an industrial school, governed by the Destitute Children's Act and run by the Department of Public Instruction.

Girls were committed to Parramatta for a variety of reasons: they had been committed by welfare organisations; were classed as 'uncontrollable'; had been charged with crimes; been before a children's court; were on remand or because they had not settled into foster placements (boarding out) or other institutions.

Parramatta, and the subsequent organisations that used the site, combined the functions of training school (or industrial school, for girls in the welfare stream, and reformatory, for girls on criminal charges. Overcrowding within the walls of the complex meant the lines were often blurred between the reformatory and the training school. In addition, until 1904 a small number of boys under the age of 7 years were also sent to Parramatta.

The buildings of the Parramatta Girls Industrial School were bleak and run down and there were riots and complaints by girls, which attracted a number of inquiries. These inquiries, held at intervals from 1889, reveal persistent problems with overcrowding, discipline and management. They also reveal the complexity and intensity of the relationships between the girls. Oral histories of the home confirm the strong bonds that developed within the home, and the girls' awareness of abuse and exploitation.

In 1912 the Parramatta Girls Industrial School became the Parramatta Girls Training Home, after the institution was transferred to the State Children's Relief Department.

The Girls Training School Precinct, 1 Fleet St, Parramatta, NSW, Australia has been listed on the Register of the National Estate since 21 March 1978.

Location

1887 - 1912
Address - The Parramatta Girls Industrial School was located on 1 Fleet Street, Parramatta North. Location: Parramatta

Timeline

 1867 - 1871 Newcastle Industrial School for Females
       1871 - 1887 Biloela Industrial School, Cockatoo Island
             1887 - 1912 Parramatta Girls Industrial School
                   1912 - 1946 Parramatta Girls Training Home
                         1946 - 1974 Parramatta Girls Training School
                               1974 - 1983 Kamballa

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Related Concepts

Related Glossary Terms

Related Legislation

Related Organisations

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Publications

Books

Journal Articles

  • Williamson, Noeline, 'Life in the industrial and reformatory school for girls in New South Wales [Series of two parts]: Part 1: 1867 to 1887. 'Hymns, songs and blackguard verses'. Part 2: 1887 to 1910. Laundry maids or ladies?', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 67-68, March, 1982-1983, pp. 375-386, 312-324. Details

Resources

Online Resources

Photos

Abandon All Hope - a history of Parramatta Girls Home
Title
Abandon All Hope - a history of Parramatta Girls Home
Type
Video

Details

Visit by Mrs May to Girls' Institution, Parramatta
Title
Visit by Mrs May to Girls' Institution, Parramatta
Type
Image
Date
3 March 1939
Creator
Hood, Sam
Source
State Library of New South Wales

Details

Training School for Girls (reformatory), Parramatta
Title
Training School for Girls (reformatory), Parramatta
Type
Image
Date
26 November 1965
Creator
Fraser, Curly
Source
State Library of New South Wales

Details

Girls Training School Precinct
Title
Girls Training School Precinct
Type
Image
Date
May 1996
Creator
Chapman, Daryl
Publisher
Australian Government Department of the Environment

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Dismay after Parramatta's historic Norma Parker Detention Centre orphanage damaged by fire', Parramatta Advertiser, 10 January 2013, http://parramatta-advertiser.whereilive.com.au/news/story/dismay-after-historic-site-damaged-by-fire/; Arnold, Ann, 'Exposed to Moral Danger', ABC Radio National Hindsight, 19 July 2009, http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2009/2627360.htm; 'Child Care and Protection Guide', 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/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/child-care-and-protection-guide; Djuric, Bonney, Abandon All Hope: a history of Parramatta Industrial School, Chargan, Georges Terrace, 2008, 238 pp; 'Girls Training School Precinct, 1 Fleet St, Parramatta, NSW, Australia [Register of the National Estate]', in Australian Heritage Database, Department of the Environment, Australian Government Department of the Environment, http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=3028; Han, Esther, 'Female Factory tales to be told', The Sunday Sun-Herald, 4 November 2012, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/female-factory-tales-to-be-told-20121103-28qub.html; 'Index to Child Care and Protection', 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/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/child-care-and-protection-index; 'Kamballa', 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/460; Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, 2006-, http://www.parragirls.org.au/; 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://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry