Tardun Farm School was run by the Christian Brothers from 1928 as a Home where boys would learn farm skills. After World War II, Tardun housed British and Maltese child migrants aged from about 12 to 16 years as well as boys who were wards of state. Tardun Farm School closed in 1967 but remained open as an agricultural boarding school where some children were placed by the departments responsible for child welfare. Tardun closed at the end of 2008.
Tardun Farm School was established by the Christian Brothers in 1928 as St Mary's Agricultural School.
The 'Tardun Agricultural College' was described in the Report of the Royal Commission on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System in 1938:
The object of the school...is to recruit orphan boys from the Clontarf Orphanage at about the age of 12 to 15 years and give them a training in agricultural methods sufficient to enable them to conduct farming operations or to accept work as farm labourers. No fees are charged. The boys live on the farm. The idea is to select land and establish the most promising boys on their own farms. As regards the other boys, the Brothers place them in employment when they are ready, their wages ranging from 12s. 6d. To £2 10s. per week and keep. The school has initiated a system of instructing the boys in general educational subjects and putting them up for the Junior examination of the University - a policy to be recommended. The Principal of the school (Brother Conlon) states that there is no lack of application for the boys when they have finished their training. Report of the Royal Commissioner on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System, 1938, p.lxix
The Royal Commissioner recommended (p.lxx) that the Government pay a maintenance allowance of 10 shillings per week for each 'destitute orphan boy' at Tardun provided the school undertook vocational and general education and training to the satisfaction of the Education Department. By 1940, this recommendation had not been implemented.
After World War II, Tardun admitted boys from various backgrounds including Wards of the State, child migrants, orphans and private admissions. Australian-born boys, and British and Maltese child migrants aged from about 12 to 16 years lived at Tardun. In 1967, the Farm School became an agricultural boarding and day school, which operated on the site until the end of 2008. Some children continued to be placed at Tardun by the departments responsible for child welfare.
The Christian Brothers' institutions Bindoon, Clontarf, Castledare and Tardun first received widespread publicity about child abuse in the early 1990s. In 1993, the Christian Brothers in Western Australia issued an apology and from 1995 have funded independent services to help with family tracing, counselling and remedial education for men who had suffered in their institutions. Many former residents of these institutions have shared their experiences and memories (bad and good) at government inquiries, in books and in oral histories.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Success of Bundidup', Sunday Times, 20 October 1935, p. 15, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58744165; Report of the Royal Commission on Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship System, Royal Commissions Held in Western Australia, Parliament of Western Australia, 28 February 1938, http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/intranet/libpages.nsf/WebFiles/Royal+Commission+1938/$FILE/RC1.pdf. pp.lxix, lxx.; 'Motion - Child Welfare Department. Maintenance of Children', in Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995, Parliament of Western Australia, 4 December 1940, https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Hansard/hansard1870to1995.nsf/83cc4ce93b5d4e0b48257b33001cfef6/BF96AA998FE9A93748257A4E0010E9F2/$File/19401204_Assembly.pdf; 'World's biggest college to close in WA', CathNews, 11 August 2008, http://cathnews.com/archives/cath-news-archive/10657-quotworlds-biggest-quot-college-to-close-in-wa; Coldrey, Barry M., The Scheme: the Christian Brothers and Childcare in Western Australia, Argyle-Pacific Pub., O'Connor, W.A., 1993; Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'p.517, Table 55: Young People at Tardun Farm School, Certain Years between 1934 and 1970', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, http://signposts.cpfs.wa.gov.au/pdf/pdf.aspx; Parliament of Australia Senate, Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children, Senate Community Affairs References Committee, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/report/index.htm.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 25 October 2017