St John the Baptist Home for Boys was established in 1898 in Brooklyn Park. Run by the Brothers of St John the Baptist and under the control of the government, it took in Catholic boys from the Boys' Reformatory, Magill. In 1941 the Home became a private Catholic reformatory known as St John's Boys Town.
St John the Baptist Home for Boys opened at Marshall Terrace, Brooklyn Park in 1898. It was established by Father John Healy of the Thebarton parish who had also founded the Order of St John the Baptist in 1892. The concept behind the establishment of the Home was to provide alternative accommodation for Catholic boys committed to the Boys' Reformatory at Magill. The Home was officially proclaimed as a reformatory which meant that although run by the Brothers, it operated under the control of the government welfare department, the State Children's Council and then its successor, the Children's Welfare and Public Relief Department.
Initially nineteen boys were placed at the home but by 1903 the number had increased to 33. In 1919 the Home was incorporated as the Boys Home, Brooklyn Park although it was still referred to as St John the Baptist Home for Boys. It was described as an institution for 'the education and training of uncontrollable boys'.
The number of boys residing in the Home remained consistent until the late 1930s when the government began to place a smaller number of boys. By 1941, only five boys remained in the Home. That year the Home ceased to be a government controlled reformatory and became a privately run Catholic Home. Instead of taking in boys who had been sentenced to a reformatory, the Home aimed to provide shelter for orphaned and other boys in need of care. Arrangements were made for the Brothers of St John the Baptist to take in boys aged 12 years of age or older, while younger boys were sent to the St Joseph's Orphanage at Largs Bay or to the St Vincent de Paul Orphanage at Goodwood. To reflect the Home's change of focus St John the Baptist Home for Boys was renamed St John's Boystown in 1941.
1898 - 1941 St John the Baptist Home for Boys
1941 - 1954 St John's Boys Town
1954 - 1984 The Boarding section of the Salesian School
Sources used to compile this entry: '"Adoption Solves Delinquency"', The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia), 12 December 1953, p. 16, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47590386; George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005, http://nunku.org.au/resources/; Correspondence held in Adelaide Archdiocesan Archives, Proposed Incorporation of Salesian School Incorporated, undated; GRG29/1 Annual Report of the State Children's Council 1898, State Records of South Australia; GRG29/1 Annual Report of the State Children's Council 1903, State Records of South Australia.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 7 February 2011, Last modified: 9 March 2016