Endeavour House was the name given to the former Institution for Boys, Tamworth in 1976, by the Department of Youth and Community Services, to indicate the institution had been improved and reformed. However Endeavour House was also a maximum-security juvenile detention centre for boys aged between 15 and 18 who had offended in other state institutions or were charged with serious crimes, and any improvements were slight. It closed in December 1989. The facility became, once more, an adult jail.
The Department of Community Services recorded in its 1978 Annual Report that the South Australian Royal Commission into the Administration of the Juvenile Courts Act assessed Endeavour House as:
... a successful experiment in resident/staff relationships, [that] gave the appearance of openness and normality, despite the very high brick wall.
The only real difference between Endeavour House and the former Tamworth Institution for Boys was that boys were allowed limited communications with each other, and some changes were made to their management.
Parramatta Girls Training School was also renamed in the 1970s, and the goal of the name changes for both institutions was to reduce some of the stigma associated with delinquent youths. In reality, Endeavour House remained a maximum security detention centre for young male offenders aged between 15 and 18 years.
Criminologist Christine Howlett has written that, by 1989, Endeavour House was 'a run-down centre whose antiquated facilities were notorious.' She has reviewed the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the files of coroners' inquests into the deaths of three inmates of the home. One occurred in 1987, and two shortly after a riot, on 28 September 1989, that led to boys being locked down in cells without toilet facilities. One of the boys involved in the riot committed suicide in the home, while another committed suicide in the adult gaol at Maitland, where he had been transferred.
The State Library holds a series of images of Endeavour House.
1948 - 1976 Institution for Boys, Tamworth
1976 - 1990 Endeavour House
Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the Department of Youth and Community Services for the year ended 30 June, New South Wales government, 1976-1988. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main; 'Endeavour House', 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/1921; Howlett, Christine, Deaths in Custody Australia: No. 3 Deaths in Juvenile Detention, 1980-1992, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 1993, https://aic.gov.au/publications/dic/dic03; 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; Thompson, Geoff, 'Boys home linked to violent deaths', ABC 7.30 Report, 14 December 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3391221.htm; Thompson, Geoff, 'Boys home turned teenagers into criminals', ABC AM, 14 December 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3390417.htm; Thompson, Geoff, 'Lawyers say school for crims possibly illegal', ABC AM, 16 December 2011; Thompson, Geoff, 'School for Killers', ABC Investigations Unit, 14 December 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/school-for-killers/?WT.svl=news0; Thompson, Geoff, 'Tamworth boys may have been falsely imprisoned', ABC Online Investigations Unit, 16 December 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-16/tamworth-boys-may-have-been-falsely-imprisoned/3734094?WT.mc_id=newsmail.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 5 June 2012, Last modified: 19 March 2015