Indoor relief provided people who were poor with food and other necessities within an institution. The first children's Homes in Tasmania provided a kind of indoor relief in that most children were there because their parents could not support them for one reason or another.
Indoor relief is most commonly associated with nineteenth century British workhouses which assisted people in poverty on the condition that they lived in them. It was widely believed at this time that people were poor through their own fault. The workhouses were a form of punishment in that their occupants were forced to work on menial tasks and their families were broken up.
Australia did not have workhouses. However, people in poverty who also had disabilities or who were elderly or children often received indoor relief. Similarly to Britain, these institutions had a stigma attached to them.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 5 March 2014, Last modified: 23 February 2015