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Tasmania - Organisation

Hobart Girls' Training School (1881 - 1905)

  • Hobart - Anglesea Barracks

    Hobart - Anglesea Barracks, 1966, courtesy of Libraries Tasmania.

Home and Reformatory
Alternative Names
  • Girls' Reformatory (Also known as)
  • Girls' Training School Reformatory (Also known as)

The Hobart Girls' Training School, started by the Ladies' Christian Association, opened in 1881. The School was for girls aged 10 to 17 who had been sentenced by a magistrate to go there for between two months and five years. In 1905, it merged with the Hobart Girls' Industrial School


The Hobart Girls' Training School was located in the Old Gaol Building at the Anglesea Barracks which, since the British Army left Tasmania, had a number of vacant buildings. This was despite a protest in 1879 from the Ladies' Committee of the Industrial School for Girls - Hobart, which was already at the Barracks. The Committee feared that the girls at the Training School would be a bad influence on those at the Industrial School. Other individuals feared that the Volunteer Band, also at the Barracks, would undermine discipline at the Training School.

Hobart Girls' Training School was a certified children's Home under the Youthful Offenders, Destitute and Neglected Children's Act 1896.

When the School opened it only accepted Protestant girls. Later Catholic girls went there also.

In 1887, The Mercury described the School as a place of 'reclamation'. It made the best of its location in a former prison reporting that:

The fact of the main rooms being divided into small apartments has turned to a useful advantage. It affords each inmate a separate room, and very tidy, snug rooms they are, each inmate seeming to vie with her neighbour in making her apartment look pleasant and pretty. The walls of each little room are tastefully decorated with pictures…illustrations cut from current serials and periodicals. These illustrations, plain and coloured, frequently form the only picture gallery in the homes of the poor, and when tastefully arranged they impart a pleasant cheerful appearance to walls, otherwise dull and dismal. In this case the pictorial illustrations with the addition of bunches of flowers in season transform the rooms into bright cheery apartments.

Girls at the Training School were locked in the cells each night.

The girls were trained to become domestic servants and did laundry work to support the School. The laundry took in washing from Hobart households. A soldier named Gunner Dyer maintained its steam boiler. The School was the only institution of its type in Tasmania to make a profit from the laundry. This was apparently at the expense of the girls' education which only took up one hour a week.


1881 - 1905
Location - Hobart Girls' Training School was situated on Davey Street, Hobart. Location: Hobart


 1881 - 1905 Hobart Girls' Training School
       1862 - 1945 Hobart Girls' Industrial School
             1945 - 1981 Maylands Salvation Army Home for Girls
                   1983 - 1998 Maylands Girls' Unit

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  • Lennox, John and Wadsley, John, Barrack Hill: a history of Angelsea Barracks, 1811-2011, Corporate Graphics - Defence Publishing Service, Canberra, xviii, 238 pp. Details

Online Resources


Hobart - Anglesea Barracks
Hobart - Anglesea Barracks
Libraries Tasmania


Sources used to compile this entry: 'Training School Reformatory', The Mercury (Hobart), 22 January 1881, p. 2,; 'Girls' Industrial and Reformatory Training Schools', The Mercury (Hobart), 18 April 1887, p. 3,; Evans, Caroline, Protecting the Innocent: Tasmania's Neglected Children, Their Parents and State Care, 1890-1918, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1999, 251 pp,; Lennox, John and Wadsley, John, Barrack Hill: a history of Angelsea Barracks, 1811-2011, Corporate Graphics - Defence Publishing Service, Canberra, xviii, 238 pp; Rimon, Wendy, 'Children's homes', in The companion to Tasmanian history, Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, 2005,

Prepared by: Caroline Evans