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Tasmania - Glossary Term

Training School (1881 - 1926)


A training school was for children who had committed an offence or who were believed to be in danger of doing so.


Training schools were established by the Training Schools Act of 1867. They were an attempt to separate children who were considered neglected from those considered to be delinquent. Neglected children were placed in an industrial school or the boarding out system, while the others were sent to a training school. In reality, the difference was not clear cut and children who were state wards because of neglect might be placed in a training school because they were difficult to manage or had absconded. On one occasion, FR Seager, the Secretary of the Neglected Children's Department, placed some boys who had been neglected at the Boys' Training School to help with the farm work.

Although the legislation envisaged training schools for boys and girls, the only girls' training school, the Hobart Girls' Training School, closed in 1907. This was because girls could be sent to the newly established rescue homes, where the emphasis was on training them in sexual morality. Social reformers of the day placed less importance on this issue for boys. Instead, they wanted to prevent them from breaking the law. This meant that the Boys' Training School stayed open longer. It also had more influence on future policy. The Boys' Training School lasted until 1926, when it became Ashley Home for Boys. Although it had a new name, it kept much of the character of the former Boys' Training School. In 1999, it became the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, which, in 2014, accommodates girls and boys.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Evans, Caroline, Protecting the Innocent: Tasmania's Neglected Children, Their Parents and State Care, 1890-1918, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1999, 251 pp,

Prepared by: Caroline Evans