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Queensland - Organisation

Diamantina Orphanage (1865 - 1910)

  • Three gentlemen standing near two vintage cars outside the Brighton Hotel, Sandgate, ca. 1929

    Three gentlemen standing near two vintage cars outside the Brighton Hotel, Sandgate, ca. 1929, c. 1929, courtesy of Picture Queensland, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.
    Details

From
1865
To
1910
Categories
Government-run, Home and Orphanage

The Diamantina Orphanage was established at Roma Street, Brisbane in 1865. The Queensland government assumed control following the passing of the Orphanages Act 1879. The Orphanage moved location twice, to South Brisbane in 1883 and to the Brighton Hotel, Sandgate in 1893. In 1910, it underwent another name change and moved again to Wooloowin, at which time it became the Diamantina Receiving Depot and Infants' Home.

Details

Mary Ann Douglas, wife of Queensland Legislative Assembly member John Douglas, founded Diamantina Orphanage in 1865. The Orphanage was named after Lady Diamantina Bowen, wife of the Queensland Governor George Bowen. She stimulated the founding of a number of charitable organisations in Queensland, including the Lady Bowen Lying-in Hospital and the Diamantina Orphanage.

The Queensland State Archives provides the following history of the Diamantina Orphanage:

ESTABLISHMENT AND FUNCTIONS:
From 1865 children were admitted to the Diamantina Orphan School, and a Visiting Inspector and Managing Committee were appointed on 1 Feb 1866. No precise date for the opening of the orphanage has been located in any primary source.

The orphanage was charged with the care and training of children whose circumstances included death of one or both parents, abandonment by parents, or qualification as a "neglected child" under Sec. 6 of the Industrial and Reformatory School Act 1865. The Orphanages Act 1879 provided for the boarding-out, hiring-out, and apprenticing of State children, and the systematic visiting of them by members of the Ladies' Committees.

ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE:
From 1866 the Matron, teaching and other staff of the Diamantina Orphanage were employed by, and were responsible to the Managing Committee of six ladies and two visiting inspectors. An Inspector of Orphanages was appointed on 1 Apr 1875, and in 1876 responsibility for orphanages was transferred from the Colonial Secretary's Office to the Public Instruction Department. This was given legislative status under The Orphanages Act of 1879, and the Public Instruction Department, Orphanages Branch was established. Orphanages remained subject to Inspection while members of the Ladies' Committees reported on the well-being of children who were boarded-out or hired-out.

HISTORICAL NOTE:
The Diamantina Orphanage closed as an orphanage in 1893 (circa year), but the re-named Diamantina Receiving Depot continued its role of reception, care and boarding-out of children to foster homes. In Jan 1910, the Depot re-located to Wooloowin and occupied the same building as the Infants Home. On 17 Dec 1964 the Diamantina Receiving Home was renamed "Warilda" which became the Receiving and Assessment Centre for children in southern Queensland. Increasingly, by the end of the 1980s, Warilda became a centre for placement breakdown children, and on 1 Jan 1989 ceased operating as a departmental institution.

A former resident of Diamantina Orphanage was Andrew Dawson, who served as Premier of Queensland for one week (1 to 7 December) in 1899. Dawson was placed in the Orphanage at 6 years of age, following the death of his parents. He remained in the orphanage until he was nine. Andrew was then discharged into the care of an uncle who took him to live in Gympie.

Location

1865 - 1883
Location - The Diamantina Orphanage was situated at Roma Street, Brisbane. Location: Brisbane
1883 - March 1893
Location - The Diamantina Orphanage was situated at South Brisbane. Location: South Brisbane
March 1893 - January 1910
Location - The Diamantina Orphanage was situated at Sandgate. Location: Sandgate

Timeline

 1865 - 1910 Diamantina Orphanage
       1910 - 1962 Diamantina Receiving Depot and Infants' Home
             1962 - 1964 Diamantina Receiving Home
                   1964 - 1967 Warilda Children's Home and Warilda Infants' Home
                         1967 - 1989 Warilda Receiving and Assessment Centre

Related Legislation

Publications

Books

  • Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. p.19-21. Details
  • Queensland. Dept of Children's Services, Centenary of care for children, Govt Printer, [Brisbane], 1979, 32 pp. Details

Reports

  • Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Queensland. Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, Brisbane, 1999. Details

Theses

  • Goldman, L, 'Child Welfare in Nineteenth Century Queensland 1865-1911', MA thesis, University of Queensland, 1978. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Three gentlemen standing near two vintage cars outside the Brighton Hotel, Sandgate, ca. 1929
Title
Three gentlemen standing near two vintage cars outside the Brighton Hotel, Sandgate, ca. 1929
Type
Image
Date
c. 1929
Source
Picture Queensland, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. p.19-21.; Murphy, D J, 'Dawson, Andrew (1863-1910)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Canberra, 2012, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dawson-andrew-5921; Queensland. Dept of Children's Services, Centenary of care for children, Govt Printer, [Brisbane], 1979, 32 pp; Wood, R., 'The Diam' a history of the Diamantina Hospital, Royal Historical Society of Queensland, vol. 11, Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Brisbane, 1981, 147-171 pp, http://www.textqueensland.com.au/item/article/dfce21486bae9851b23a90804a88ff49.

Prepared by: Lee Butterworth