'Apprenticeship' was a method of caring for state wards and Aboriginal children who were too old to attend school but too young to live independently. It was not a trade apprenticeship, as such, but generally meant children were sent to live in a private home to work as a domestic servant (if female) or labourer (if male).
Apprenticed wards earned wages, a proportion of which was banked in trust and a proportion of which covered the cost of their clothing, and were supervised by their employers and inspected by welfare authorities.
After WWI the State Children's Relief Department preferred to place its wards in trade apprenticeships, and few children were apprenticed as domestic servants. Aboriginal wards, however, were apprenticed until the 1960s, usually for less pay than white children.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 26 October 2011, Last modified: 13 February 2018