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Tasmania - Legislation

Destitute Children Act 1875 (1875 - 1896)

Amending Act and Principal Act

The Destitute Children At 1875 also known by its full title 'An Act to amend the Law relating to Destitute Children'(Act no.39 Vict. No.5) amended the Training Schools Act 1867 (Act no. 31 Vict. No.36) and the Industrial Schools Act 1867 (31 Vict. No.37). This amendment and the two acts it amends were all repealed and replaced by the Youthful Offenders, Destitute and Neglected Children Act (Act no. 60 Vict. No.24) on 23 October 1896.


The Destitute Children Act 1875 makes a number of amendments to the Training Schools Act 1867 (Act no. 31 Vict. No.36) and the Industrial Schools Act 1867 (31 Vict. No.37), in particular it authorises Governors of training schools to punish children with isolation from their peers and a diet of bread and water for up to three days. Male children could be made to endure 'moderate' corporal punishments. Any such punishments were to be recorded in a book which would be reviewed by the Inspector of Schools.

In the original legislation children could face hard labour and imprisonment for misbehaving in training schools or running away, marking a dramatic shift in the treatment of young people in institutions. The original punishments would also be handed down by a justice. This new approach meant the child did not have to go to court and could not to be punished for the same case under any law.

This amendment also dealt with details for apprenticing children from industrial schools.


 1875 - 1896 Destitute Children Act 1875
       1896 - 1918 Youthful Offenders, Destitute and Neglected Children's Act 1896
             1918 - 1936 The Children of the State Act 1918
                   1935 - 1961 Infants' Welfare Act 1935
                         1960 - 2003 Child Welfare Act 1960
                               2000 - Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997

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: Elizabeth Daniels