The Rutherglen Viticultural College, Chiltern Valley Road, Rutherglen, from 1904 accepted wards of the state deemed to be suitable for viticultural and general farm work as trainees. The Department for Neglected Children and Reformatory Schools and the Agricultural Department struck an agreement to facilitate this placement. The arrangement appears to have ceased by 1927.
The Viticultural College was modelled on the School of Viticulture at Montpellier in France, being designed to accommodate 50 students and staff. The Viticultural College main building was opened by the Governor of Victoria, Lord Brassey KCB on 31 March 1897 during a two day visit to the district.
In 1904 ,13 Victorian wards of the state were sent to the college as trainees. They were to receive education in all branches of viticultural and farm work in addition to general educational and moral training.
The 1904 annual report of the Department for Neglected Children and Reformatory Schools stated that there was accommodation available for 30 boys but that was dependent upon the appointment of suitable staff. In 1919, 18 boys were accommodated there. By 1927 there were 9 boys. Subsequent departmental annual reports make no mention of the Viticultural College.
In 1909, the Journal of the Agriculture published an article about its 'social experiment' training wards of state. The College principal, GH Adcock wrote: 'To produce from the raw and somewhat unpromising material with which we have to deal, men with characters of the highest integrity, and workers with skilled hands and intelligent training, was the object of starting this institution on its present lines'. The article provided details of the 'physical, educational and moral' development of boys trained at Rutherglen, and concluded that they were 'greatly encouraged by the successes achieved'.
Sources used to compile this entry: Department for Neglected Children and Reformatory Schools. Report of the Secretary., Government Printer, Melbourne, 1888 - 1924; 'Rutherglen Research Institute', in Victorian Heritage Database, http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/1006?print=true.
Prepared by: Rosemary Francis
Created: 31 July 2013, Last modified: 14 September 2017