The Westbrook Reformatory for Boys was established at Westbrook, 15 kilometres south west of Toowoomba. It was run by the government. Boys under the age of 18, who were confined by the Children's Court, were sent to the Westbrook Reformatory for Boys. Boys from the Diamantina Reformatory School for Boys were moved to Westbrook in 1900 and it was renamed the Westbrook Reformatory for Boys. In 1919 it became known as the Farm Home for Boys, Westbrook.
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.
1871 - 1881 Reformatory School for Boys - Hulk Proserpine
1881 - 1899 Reformatory School for Boys, Lytton
1899 - 1900 Diamantina Reformatory School for Boys
1900 - 1919 Westbrook Reformatory for Boys
1919 - 1966 Farm Home for Boys, Westbrook
1966 - 1987 Westbrook Training Centre
1987 - 1993 Westbrook Youth Centre
1993 - 1994 Westbrook Youth Detention Centre
1994 - 2012 Darling Downs Correctional Centre
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Westbrook Reformatory for Boys (Agency ID 11373)', in Queensland State Archives website, Queensland Government, 2004 - 2013, http://www.archivessearch.qld.gov.au/Search/AgencyDetails.aspx?AgencyId=11373; Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. pp. 21-23.; General Report on Condition and Progress of the Westbrook Reformatory for Boys, 1910 [Document].
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 1 June 2011, Last modified: 10 June 2014