The Guardians to Child Immigrants Act 1842 (6 Vict. No.8) was to regulate the treatment of young people under the age of 21 ('juvenile immigrants') coming as unaccompanied migrants to be apprenticed in the Colony. A guardian would be appointed for all such people, and that guardian was expected to exercise control over 'the moral, religious and technical instruction, the health, comfort, and general treatment of all such immigrants … during their apprenticeship' (s.7). A schedule to the Act included a Form of a Deed of Apprenticeship. The Guardians to Child Immigrants Act 1842 was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1964 (Act No.61) on 4 December 1964.
While the Act did provide some protections for the young people, it also gave their guardians and 'Masters' a great deal of control over them. As the Preamble stated, the purpose of the Act was to 'regulate by law the mode and duration of such apprenticeship, and to provide for the due enforcement of relative rights and obligations thereunder, and otherwise for the general superintendence and control of such immigrants.'
Sources used to compile this entry: Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Western Australia Legislation', 13 December 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 19 March 2012, Last modified: 21 October 2021