The Industrial Schools Act 1874 set up the basis for institutional care of children in Western Australia. ' The Act enabled the Government to give a certificate of approval to the Director of Schools for the care and education of orphaned, needy or delinquent children. These institutions were meant to train the inmates "to habits of industry imparting them an education of a plain and useful character; and endeavouring to bring them under the influences of religious principles…" (Superintendent of Poor Houses and Charitable Institutions, Annual Report 1889).'
The lines between the treatment of 'orphaned, needy' and 'delinquent' children were often blurred in these establishments. The term industrial school persisted to the 1950s.