Devonfield Hostel, run by the Retarded Children's Welfare Association, opened in Devonport in 1965. It was a combined Hostel and school for children with intellectual disabilities. In 2013, Devonfield continues to provide training but is no longer residential.
The Social Welfare Department placed wards of state with intellectual disabilities at Devonfield.
Margaret Reynolds, the former senator, taught at Devonfield in the early 1960s. She described it as 'a low-set L-shaped building with a small residential wing'. There were six children from the country with intellectual disabilities living in the hostel and attending school and 12 day students.
One of Reynolds' roles was to increase enrolment and promote the idea that children with intellectual disabilities should go to school. She remembers that many of the children had not been properly diagnosed and that they could have been integrated into the general school system but that this was not official policy.
Reynolds sought to make the lives of the children more normal so she took them on excursions to the fire station, the beach, into town, and to the local library.
In 1962, she organised a five day holiday camp for the children from Devonfield and a few from the local primary school. They played games, went on walks, sang campfire songs, and helped with the chores.
c. 1965 - 2000? Devonfield Hostel
2000? - Devonfield Enterprises
Sources used to compile this entry: Department of Social Welfare: report for the year ended 30 June 1970, Department of Social Welfare, Hobart, 1970; Reynolds. Margaret, Living Politics, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Qld, 2007, 237 pp.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 21 November 2011, Last modified: 8 October 2018