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Tasmania - Event

Royal Commission into Charitable Institutions (1871)


The Royal Commission into Charitable Institutions reported in December 1871. Its many recommendations included a boarding out system and better conditions for apprentices from the Queen's Orphan Asylum.


The Royal Commission recommended that:

  • A Charitable Relief Commission be established to oversee the administration of outdoor relief at institutions such as Queen's Orphan Asylum or Invalid Depots which the government ran. The Commission would have three members. One of them would be a salaried Inspector of Charities. The 1873 Public Charities Act set up the Charitable Grants Department which fulfilled the role of the Charitable Relief Commission.
  • The Inspector administer the outdoor relief system and inspect government institutions, including the Queen's Orphan Asylum. He would advise the guardians of the Asylum about whether or not parents were fit to have their children returned to them and supervise the Asylum children who were apprenticed.
  • Outdoor relief be taken away from anyone found to be breaking the moral conventions of the day. According to a Launceston Examiner report, this meant 'leading dissolute lives or indulging in habits of intemperance'.
  • Parents who were not eligible for assistance because they were either 'dissolute' or drank too much alcohol only receive food for their children. Their children could also be removed.
  • Children at Queen's Asylum only be apprenticed after receiving training. That training would be in gardening, tailoring, shoemaking or carpentry and taught by a capable tradesman.
  • There be set wages for apprentices with a certain amount paid to the Inspector of Charities to be deposited in a savings bank and given to the apprentice at the end of the apprenticeship.
  • The apprentices receive a 'proper' outfit of clothing, 'free of any distinguishing features'.
  • That the Relief Commissioners have the power to set up a boarding out system. The Public Charities Act established it in 1873

Related Legislation



  • Tasmania: Royal Commission on Charitable Institutions, Report of the Commissioners : together with the evidence taken, and various returns, Government Printer, Hobart, December 1871, 108 pp. Details

Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Charitable Institutions', Launceston Examiner, 9 December 1871, p. 3,

Prepared by: Caroline Evans