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Tasmania - Concept

Outdoor Relief (c. 1830 - c. 1970)

c. 1830
c. 1970
Alternative Names
  • O.D.R. (Abbreviation)

Outdoor relief was a system, originating in Britain, of providing funds or food to people living in poverty that did not require them to go into an institution, known as indoor relief.


Outdoor relief came to be seen as a privilege that should only be given sparingly in case it encouraged laziness. This led nineteenth century charities like the Hobart Benevolent Society, to apply willingness to work tests, such as getting men to chop wood, to ensure that recipients deserved assistance. In Tasmania, social welfare departments still referred to outdoor relief in the 1960s. Some government records abbreviated the term to 'O.D.R.'.

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  • Brown, Joan C., 'Poverty is not a crime': the development of social services in Tasmania, 1803-1900, Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Hobart, 1972, 192 pp. Details

Prepared by: Caroline Evans