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South Australia - Organisation

South Australian Youth Training Centre (1979 - 1993)

  • McNally Training Centre

    McNally Training Centre, c. 1969, courtesy of South Australian Government.

Government-run, Home and Youth Training Centre
Alternative Names
  • SAYTC (Acronym)

The South Australian Youth Training Centre, SAYTC, was the new name given to McNally Training Centre in 1979. It operated in Magill as a government secure care facility for up to 90 youths aged between the ages of 15 and 18. In 1993, the name of the centre changed to the Magill Training Centre.


In 1979, as part of a restructuring of the institutional care and programs for young offenders, the government changed the name of McNally Training Centre to the South Australian Youth Training Centre (SAYTC). It operated on the same site at Glen Stuart Road, Magill, and was a secure care facility for up to 90 boys aged between 15 and 18.

SAYTC was divided into five units. Three units provided short-term accommodation for boys who had been arrested for an offence, were on remand or had been placed at the Centre for assessment. Two further units were for boys who had been committed by the courts to undergo training. These boys were provided with individual 'therapeutic' training. All boys undertook other courses including regular and special schooling and training in the trade workshop.

Although the aim of the Centre was to provide individualised programs and training for each boy, records accessed as part of the 2004-2008 Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry revealed a strong focus on punishment. Boys deemed to require discipline were either given work programs or could be placed in isolation for up to eight hours.

During this era, greater emphasis was placed on using community initiatives rather than committing young offenders to long term secure care. For this reason, SAYTC also continued to operate a non-secure community based unit at Glandore known as the Glandore Unit. This Unit, which had opened in 1975, provided accommodation for boys released from the Centre and assisted them to find work and gradually move back into the community.

In 1985, due to a decrease in numbers of boys committed to the Centre, one of the five units was closed. From that year the Centre operated with two units for assessment for boys on remand and the other two for young offenders who were being detained for between 2 and 24 months. The average number of boys in the centre in the late 1980s was 43. During 1986-87, number dropped further and another unit was closed, leaving 3 operating, one for short term assessment and two for long term detention.

During 1988-90, changes were made to both the interior and exterior of the building to 'reduce the risk of self-damaging behaviour and to improve the quality of living conditions'. These changes were made in response to the suicide of an Aboriginal boy at the Centre and as a result of the findings of the interim report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1988).

During the 1990s numbers of boys serving long term sentences in the Centre increased. This led to the establishment of a new purpose-built facility at Cavan in 1993. In that same year The South Australian Youth Training Centre was renamed the Magill Training Centre. Older boys were moved to the Cavan Training Centre while younger ones remained at Magill. A separate facility was created on the site for young women who had previously been held at the South Australian Youth Remand and Assessment Centre.


1979 - 1993
Location - South Australian Youth Training Centre was situated at Glen Stuart Road, Magill. Location: Magill


 1869 - 1880 Ilfracombe, Boys Reformatory
 1869 - 1880 Boys' Reformatory, Magill
       1880 - 1891 Boys' Reformatory Hulk, Fitzjames
             1891 - 1967 Boys Reformatory, Magill
                   1967 - 1979 McNally Training Centre
                         1979 - 1993 South Australian Youth Training Centre
                               1993 - 2012 Magill Training Centre
                                     2012 - Adelaide Youth Training Centre

Related Archival Series

Related Organisations

  • Cavan Training Centre (1993 - 2012)

    Cavan Training Centre accommodated some young men previously held at the South Australian Youth Training Centre.

    Date: 1993 -

  • Glandore Unit (1975 - 1980)

    Glandore Unit operated as a non-secure community unit for boys released from the South Australian Youth Training Centre


Online Resources


McNally Training Centre
McNally Training Centre
c. 1969
South Australian Government


Sources used to compile this entry: George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005,; Mullighan, the Hon E.P., Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry: Allegations of sexual abuse and death from criminal conduct, presented to the South Australian Parliament by the Hon. E.P. Mullighan QC, Commisioner, Children in State Care Commission of Enquiry, Adelaide, South Australia, 2008, 564 pp,

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George