The Carpentarian Reformatory was established by the Department of Charitable Institutions at Brush Farm, Eastwood, in 1894. The Carpentarian Reformatory was taken over by the State Children's Relief Department in 1897 and became the Brush Farm Reformatory in 1908.
The Carpentarian Reformatory was established by the Department of Charitable Institutions at Brush Farm, a historic property in Eastwood, in 1894. It was then taken over by the State Children's Relief Department. It was a reformatory until 1912.
Brush Farm was located in Eastwood, in an area sometimes referred to as 'Dundas Heights', so is often described as being in Dundas.
This institution was sometimes called the Shore Reformatory, as it was on land and, in 1897, replaced the nautical ship reformatory Sobraon. Boys dressed in naval uniform, slept in hammocks and rang a ships' bell and the Superintendent's office was referred to as the quarter-deck.
Detention at this reformatory was for nine months, considerably shorter than the three years favoured by the Department of Public Instruction for its reformatories and industrial schools. A school was provided on site.
As well as accommodating boys from Sobraon, Peter Quinn writes that the new reformatory had a separate division for 40 boys from Rydalmere Probationary Home, who were considered 'too vicious to be kept in ordinary homes.' It quickly became overcrowded with boys convicted of offences and was investigated by Frederick Neitenstein, the former superintendent of the Sobraon, in 1897.
There are few records of this home or its inmates. However, cricket matches were reported in local newspapers. From 1894 to 1897 boys played against teams from the Sobraon, but after the institutions were merged, played against each other. Tragically, in 1906 two boys came to blows during a cricket match and George Barron Thomas died of injuries to his head and neck. His assailant was committed to stand trial for manslaughter. The case was reported as far afield as Tasmania.
In 1909 the Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate reported that five boys, aged 15-16 years, had escaped from the Carpentarian Reformatory. Three were caught in the railway station waiting room at Mount Colah, while two got as far as the Hawkesbury before giving themselves up to police. One was described as 'a very clever lad' and the boys, knowing descriptions of their clothes would be circulated, had managed to hide some other garments before making their escape. They were all returned to the reformatory.
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
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Dundas', The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 2 January 1897, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/85763190; 'New South Wales. A fatal dispute.', The Mercury, 29 October 1906, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12785707; 'The Absconders', The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 20 November 1909, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85919345; 'Metropolitan Hospitals and Charities Department', 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/1923; '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; Quinn, Peter E, Unenlightened efficiency: the administration of the juvenile correction system in New South Wales 1905-1988, University of Sydney, History, 27 March 2006, http://hdl.handle.net/2123/623.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 4 November 2011, Last modified: 18 July 2018