Redhill was established by the Anglican Church (Perth Diocese) in 1903 as a 'senior reformatory school' and 'home for neglected boys', beginning with six boys sent by a magistrate. In 1921 Redhill became a home for boys and youth up to 18 years who were said to be 'mentally defective'. Redhill closed in 1922 and the untenanted building was destroyed by bushfire in 1937.
Redhill Reformatory was established in 1903 as an industrial school and 'home for neglected boys' in the Middle Swan area, on 57 hectares of land held by the Anglican Church which was used as a 'model farm'. By 1920, Redhill was described as being for 'senior' boys, but younger boys may have been sent there in earlier years. Senior boy in this era possibly meant 12 years or older.
On 31 January 1921 Redhill ceased to be a reformatory, but stayed open as a home for children and young people who were said to be 'mentally defective'. The Minutes of the Anglican Orphanage Committee in 1921 (p.555) describe Redhill's change of function from a reformatory:
The place had been closed as an Industrial School on the 31st January. At the request of the government and by arrangement with the Archbishop, it was re-opened temporarily as a special school for mentally defectives, for 3 months when the Government would decide whether they would take it over.
It is possible that there was a policy to send boys under the age of 14 years to Redhill, but in practice it is likely that boys who were 'simple' were kept at Redhill until their wardship expired at age 18.
Reports show that Redhill had 17 boys in residence at year end in 1910; 12 boys in 1911; 12 boys in 1920; 18 boys in 1921; and thirteen boys in 1922. These thirteen boys were sent to the Salvation Army's Seaforth Home when Redhill closed in early 1922.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'State Children', The West Australian, 30 April 1904, p. 10, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25087271; 'Commission on education', Kalgoorlie Miner, 4 June 1921, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93237637; 'I am your father', The Daily News, 16 November 1921, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83112535; 'State Children [Annual Report, September 1921]', The Daily News, 5 September 1921, p. 1, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81806375; 'State Children [Annual Report, November 1922]', The Daily News, 14 November 1922, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83155880; 'Redhill bushfire', Kalgoorlie Miner, 28 December 1937, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87480078; Battye, JS, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia (1912), Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, 1985. Vol 1, p.506.; Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx; Peterkin, A. Roy, The Noisy Mansions : the story of Swanleigh 1868-1971, Perth Diocesan Trustees, Anglican Church of Australia, Midland, Western Australia, 1986. p.34-36.; Western Australia. Charities Department, Report by the Superintendent of Public Charities and Inspector of Industrial and Reformatory Schools, Government Printer, Perth, [W.A.], 1899-1907. 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 28 November 2014