Truancy means intentional absences from schooling.
In Tasmania truancy became an offence after the passage of the 1868 Public Schools Act which made education compulsory. Children charged with truancy could then be arrested by police or truancy officers and committed to industrial schools and reformatories. Magistrates could also fine parents for allowing a child to truant.
Later they could order the family to be supervised under the probation system, or remove children from their families and commit them to an institution. Throughout the twentieth century, truancy was one of the most common reasons children came to the attention of state welfare authorities.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Caroline Evans
Created: 15 November 2011, Last modified: 25 February 2014