Industrial and reformatory schools were established for the purpose of segregating neglected and convicted juveniles from adult prisoners.
Boys under the age of 18 years were sentenced to a term of confinement at the reformatory by Children's Courts. It appears that some boys were transferred to orphanages before the expiration of their sentences. Parents of neglected and convicted inmates were required to contribute financially to the maintenance of their sons whilst in the reformatory.
The first Superintendent of the Westbrook Reformatory for Boys was Walter Richmond, a former schoolteacher. A link is provided on this site to a 1910 report by Walter Richmond that describes life for the boys at Westbrook Reformatory.
In 1916 Thomas Jones replaced Walter Richmond as Superintendent of the reformatory. He came from the State Farm at Warren, near Rockhampton where he had spent the previous nine years. Within twelve months of Jones taking over the Westbrook Reformatory for Boys, the place was almost self-contained.
The boys carried out much of the work on the farm. This included producing the timberwork for fences, laying concrete and establishing gardens. Each boy had his own garden plot in which he was free to grow flowers and vegetables which he could sell. The money from these sales was credited to a bank account in the boy's name.
Other flower and vegetable plots were tended by the boys and sales of the produce helped support the institution. On a Saturday afternoon, the general public visited the farm in order to purchase any produce left after the weekly supply to the reformatory.
Jones also established an orchard and dairy. The cattle raised on the farm won many prizes at the yearly shows. Mr T R Macmillan succeeded Jones as Superintendent.
The farm practices undertaken at the Westbrook Reformatory continued to be carried out until its closure in 1994.
Management of the institution was transferred to the State Children Department following the passing of the State Children Act in 1911.
13 December 2018
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/qld/QE00046
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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