Province of South Australia
The Way Commission was an inquiry into the affairs of the Destitute Board which ran from 1883 to 1885. Officially known as the Royal Commission to Report on the Destitute Act 1881, it was commonly referred to as the Way Commission after Chief Justice Samuel Way who led the Inquiry. The Inquiry was sparked by claims made in 1883 that the religious faith of Roman Catholic children in State care was not being respected. As a result of these complaints, the workings of the Destitute Board and its role in caring for children were investigated. The final report of the Commission, a 100,000 word document, was tabled in October 1885. It recommended a number of significant changes over a wide range of areas covered by the Destitute Act. These recommendations influenced the development of future policies concerning children in the care of the State.
Two of the recommendations included the move from large congregate institutions to cottage style care and the segregation and classification of 'reformatory' children.
Sources used to compile this entry: Royal Commission to Report on the Destitute Act, 1881, Second and Final Report, South Australian Parliamentary Papers 1885, Vol 4, No. 228, Provence of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, 1885; Davey, Constance M, Children and their Law-Makers: A social-historical survey of the growth and development from 1836 to 1950 of South Australian Laws relating to children, Griffen Press, Adelaide, South Australia, 1956, 158 pp; Dickey, Brian, Rations, Residence, Resources: A history of social welfare in South Australia since 1836, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 1986; Mullighan, the Hon E.P., Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry: Allegations of sexual abuse and death from criminal conduct, presented to the South Australian Parliament by the Hon. E.P. Mullighan QC, Commisioner, Children in State Care Commission of Enquiry, Adelaide, South Australia, 2008, 564 pp, https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/107201/children-in-state-care-commission-of-inquiry-introducation.pdf; Swain, Shurlee, History of Australian inquiries reviewing institutions providing care for children, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Sydney, October 2014, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/file-list/Research%20Report%20-%20History%20of%20Australian%20inquiries%20reviewing%20institutions%20providing%20care%20for%20children%20-%20Institutional%20responses.pdf.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 5 June 2012, Last modified: 14 August 2015