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Tasmania - Organisation

Central Committee for Boarding Out Destitute Children (1881 - 1896)

Government Agency

The Central Committee for Boarding Out Destitute Children was established in 1881. It was a volunteer Committee that inspected the foster homes of children placed in them under the Public Charities Act 1873. The Secretary of the newly established Neglected Children's Department abolished the Committee in 1898.


The Public Charities Act 1873 provided for a committee to run the boarding out system. Even so, initially, William Tarleton, the Administrator of Charitable Grants, managed it. However, since his Department was unable to inspect the homes regularly, he arranged for the Hobart Benevolent Society to take over in 1880. That apparently did not work because, in 1881, the Central Committee for Boarding Out Destitute Children replaced it.

In southern Tasmania, Hobart and New Town were divided into three districts each with a voluntary visiting committee of two women and one man to inspect the children's homes. Launceston had a similar arrangement. At some stage, the men stopped carrying out inspections. The committees visited children every month to check for abuse or negligence, advise foster mothers on care, and check that the bedding was clean and warm. They also bought clothing for newly boarded out children. In Hobart, an inquiring officer also inspected children's homes.

The Central Committee was abolished in 1898, shortly after the establishment of the Neglected Children's Department. However, its Ladies Committees continued their work until 1911 in Hobart and 1912 in Launceston.


 1859 - Hobart Benevolent Society
       1881 - 1896 Central Committee for Boarding Out Destitute Children

Related Glossary Terms

  • Boarding Out (1844 - c. 1970)

    The Central Committee for Boarding Out Destitute Children carried out the day-to-day management of the boarding out system between 1891 and 1896.

Related Organisations


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Editorial', The Mercury, 29 January 1881, p. 2,; Evans, Caroline, Protecting the Innocent: Tasmania's Neglected Children, Their Parents and State Care, 1890-1918, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1999, 251 pp,

Prepared by: Caroline Evans