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Tasmania - Organisation

Tresca (c. 1958 - 1976)

  • 'Tresca'

    'Tresca', 1958, courtesy of National Archives of Australia.
    Details

From
c. 1958
To
1976
Categories
Children's Home, Home, Non-denominational and Receiving Agency

Tresca, run by the Fairbridge Society, opened in Exeter in 1958. It was a Home for child migrants, most of whom arrived under the parent following scheme. Tresca closed in 1976.

Details

Tresca, built between 1909 and 1911 by Eric Reed, was one of the first and most substantial houses in the West Tamar area. Reed established an orchard and farm there. It became a meeting place for local groups such as the Masonic Lodge, the Country Women's Association, the local drama club, and music society. The Department of Education bought it after World War Two and established an area school on part of the property.

Tresca was officially opened as a Home for child migrants by the Governor, Sir Ronald Cross, in March 1958. The first five boys were already in residence. They had arrived before preparations at Tresca were complete and stayed on the estate at Beaufront, Ross, for two weeks. The owner, Sir Donald von Bibra, was a leading member of the Fairbridge Society and the Big Brother Movement.

The Fairbridge Society had established Tresca because the flow of child migrants to Australia had begun to slow. The parent following scheme, by which the child or children came first and the parent, usually a single mother, arrived later, was a way of increasing their numbers. Tresca was the only institution in Tasmania to be formed solely for child migrants.

Tresca was run by a British couple, Harry and Lily Richmond. The couple maintained Reed's tradition of using Tresca as a meeting place for local groups and the first Carols by Candlelight in Exeter was held on the verandah. In her article about child migration to Tasmania, Laura Williams writes that the home had a 'bright, cheerful colour scheme'. Some local people apparently thought that the surroundings were too good for children they considered to be 'delinquent'.

In 1959, when the Commonwealth government decided that the children should be handed over to their parents as soon as they arrived, a dispute occurred. The Society wanted to decide when to release the children. In May, it refused to return children to two mothers. The government eventually agreed to a contractual agreement whereby the children remained in the home for three months after their parents' arrival. Parents could also make a verbal agreement for another 18 to 24 months.

In 1960, the British Home Office decided that the parent following scheme could only continue if the parents and children travelled to Australia together. The separation would take place after they arrived. The Australian legislation did not deal with this situation. This meant that the Fairbridge Society was not answerable to the government, a particular problem because of their reluctance to release children. They appear to have relaxed over this issue in the mid 1960s. The first family arrived in 1961. Most children arriving after that came with their parents.

Historians of child migration mostly agree that the last child arrived in Australia in 1967. However, Tresca accepted five unaccompanied children in 1970. It closed in 1976, the same year that the Commonwealth government decided to phase out the assisted passage which most of the parents used. A total of 67 children went to Tresca, 13 of them unaccompanied. The rest migrated with their parents or were reunited with them under the parent following scheme.

In 1991 with the approval of the President of the Fairbridge Drake Society, London, the Tasmanian records of the society were deposited in the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.

In 2013, Tresca is used as a community centre.

Location

1958 - 1976
Location - Tresca was situated off the West Tamar Highway, at Exeter. Location: Exeter

Run By

Related Concepts

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations

Publications

Journal Articles

  • Williams, Laura, 'Good British stock: British child migration to Tasmania after 1945', Tasmanian Historical Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, 1995/6, pp. 155-177. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • 'New life for 7 shy children', Advocate, 4 August 1975, p. 3. Details
  • 'No title', The Mercury, 11 January 1958, p. 1. Details
  • 'To begin new life', The Mercury, 10 January, p. 1. Details
  • 'Children from U.K. For new home', The Mercury, 7 January 1958, p. 15. Details

Reports

  • Ombudsman Tasmania, Review of claims of abuse from adults in state care as children - Final Report - Phase 2, June 2006. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Tresca boys put their clothes away after school
Title
Tresca boys put their clothes away after school
Type
Image
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Tresca boys with a Merino sheep
Title
Tresca boys with a Merino sheep
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Tresca boys trying to catch a frog
Title
Tresca boys trying to catch a frog
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Tresca boys and the Warden, Harry Richmond, build a boat from scraps of timber left over from renovations to the home
Title
Tresca boys and the Warden, Harry Richmond, build a boat from scraps of timber left over from renovations to the home
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

The first 5 children to arrive at Tresca
Title
The first 5 children to arrive at Tresca
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Boys in the playroom at Tresca
Title
Boys in the playroom at Tresca
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Morning coffee at Tresca
Title
Morning coffee at Tresca
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Tresca boys with the Warden, Harry Richmond, and his wife on the verandah
Title
Tresca boys with the Warden, Harry Richmond, and his wife on the verandah
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

A Tresca boy talks to the farmer who fenced the property
Title
A Tresca boy talks to the farmer who fenced the property
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Children picking apples in the apple orchard at
Tresca Children's Home for child migrants, Exeter,
Tasmania, 1958
Title
Children picking apples in the apple orchard at Tresca Children's Home for child migrants, Exeter, Tasmania, 1958
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

'Tresca'
Title
'Tresca'
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Tresca Community Centre
Title
Tresca Community Centre
Type
Image
Date
c. 2013
Source
Tresca Community Centre

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Coldrey, Barry, Good British stock: child and youth migration to Australia, National Archives of Australia, 1999, http://guides.naa.gov.au/good-british-stock/introduction.aspx; Ombudsman Tasmania, Review of claims of abuse from adults in state care as children - Final Report - Phase 2, June 2006; Williams, Laura, 'Good British stock: British child migration to Tasmania after 1945', Tasmanian Historical Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, 1995/6, pp. 155-177.

Prepared by: Caroline Evans