Gosford Farm Home for Boys was a reformatory established by the Department of Public Instruction. It was officially opened in 1913 but boys lived there from 1911, as they laboured to build it. The farm home occupied a 700 acre site on Penang Mountain (Mount Penang), near Kariong. It housed boys moved from the Brush Farm Reformatory and the training vessel the Sobraon. Gosford Farm Home for Boys was transferred to the Child Welfare Department in 1923 and became the Gosford Training School.
Gosford Farm Home was formally opened in 1913, but had begun in November 1911, when a party of boys from Sobraon arrived on Penang Mountain, under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Herbert Wood.
The Minister for Public Instruction, G.S. Beeby, and a committee including Sir Charles Mackellar of the State Children's Relief Board and Frederick Stayner, of Brush Farm Reformatory, selected a 700 acre site on Penang Mountain, near Kariong, for the new home. The site was considered healthy, with beautiful natural surroundings, good water and sufficient land for cultivation.
By 1912 most of the boys from Brush Farm had been moved to the site and work began in earnest. The boys slept in bell tents, in all weathers, while they cleared forest and built dormitories, staff quarters and mess rooms. This was hard, uncomfortable work, but was seen as essential to the reform and development of the boys.
Life for boys at Gosford Farm Home consisted of farm work, with some rudimentary training in skills like boot making. Prayer, marching and drills were all part of the routine.
The site of Gosford Farm Home for Boys is, IN 2014, part of Mt Penang Parklands.
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: 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; '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; 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; 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; 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.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 5 June 2012, Last modified: 13 June 2014