The Wilson Youth Hospital, at Windsor, was a State government-run institution that opened in 1961. It accommodated 'trouble-makers', emotionally disturbed children, and those who had broken the law. The Wilson Hospital was also 'home' to many orphans and homeless children. It was renamed Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Centre in 1983.
In 1961 the Wilson Youth Hospital operated as a remand, assessment and treatment centre for young males between the ages of 7 and 14. In 1971 a section was added to the Hospital to accommodate girls aged 12 to 16. Girls were often held not for committing offences but for being 'emotionally disturbed', 'exposed to moral danger' or 'incorrigible'.
Wilson Youth Hospital was originally administered by the Youth Welfare and Guidance Division of the Health Department, but in 1966 the administration was transferred to the Department of Children's Services. In June 1983 the Department of Children's Services assumed full responsibility.
The Justice for Juveniles Group, previously known as the Wilson Protest Group, was established in 1977 with an aim to find financial support for a Youth Advocacy Centre in Brisbane. By this stage the 'Hospital' accommodated 68 boys and 32 girls. It was considered a 'closed' institution, meaning that children were not free to come and go at will.
The Juveniles for Justice Group was eventually successful and Brisbane's Youth Advocacy Centre was established in 1981.
1961 - 1983 Wilson Youth Hospital
1983 - 1993 Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Centre
1993 - 2001 Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Detention Centre
Sources used to compile this entry: Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. pp.23-27.; National Museum of Australia, 'Inside: Life in childrens' homes: A violent, unjust and dehumanising system', in Inside blog, 2010, https://insideblog.nma.gov.au/2010/09/29/the-good-priest/.
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 1 June 2011, Last modified: 11 June 2019