Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Tasmania - Legislation

Queen's Asylum Act 1861 (1861 - 1934)

Principal Act

The Queen's Asylum Act 1861 also known by the full title "An Act to provide for the better Control and Guardianship of Children in the Queen's Asylum"(Act no.25 Vict. No. 5) became law in 1861. It provided for a Board of Guardians for the Queen's Orphan Asylum to be established and set out the conditions for children to be apprenticed from the Asylum. This act was repealed in 1934.


  • The Queen's Orphan Asylum was to be called the Queen's Asylum for Destitute Children.
  • The Asylum could take in children surrendered by their parents or guardians or who were orphans, destitute, or deserted.
  • The establishment of a Board of Guardians who would have 'legal control and guardianship' of children in the Asylum. Children could not be removed without the Board's consent.
  • The Board of Guardians could indenture children aged between 12 and 18 years old to 'fit and proper' persons.
  • If an apprentice was away from work without permission for a period of time, he or she would have to make that time up. Employers could complain to a Justice of the Peace if an apprentice did not do their work as the employer wished. The Justice of the Peace could then issue a warrant for the Apprentice to be brought before two Justices to, in the words of the Act, 'determine what satisfaction shall be made'. If the apprentice failed to offer some recompense, he or she could be committed to a house of correction or gaol for up to a month. Boys could be sentenced to hard labour.
  • Employers were obliged to provide adequate food, clothing, accommodation, and medical attention for an apprentice or face a penalty of up to £50.
  • If an apprentice became physically or mentally ill, the indenture would be cancelled.
  • Fathers and step-fathers were obliged to pay maintenance if they had enough income.

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations

Sources used to compile this entry: Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Tasmanian Legislation', 20 January 2014, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.

Prepared by: Caroline Evans