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Victoria - Publications Details

Newspaper Article

Brigadier Kyle
Our boys: the true inwardness of the Army's preventive work
War Cry
17 June 1899, pp. 3-4

Transcript from this article:
Who are 'our boys' [and girls]?
[They] are the criminal, the depraved, and the neglected of both sexes, whose reformation and salvation have become a charge upon the Social Department of the Salvation Army. Every boy or girl who has got off the straight track, and finds their return blocked by insurmountable difficulties, can secure help at once by writing to the Commandant at Headquarters, Melbourne.

The police court records of the doings of our boys and girls are simply alarming. The pitiable scene of a father appearing before the magistrate and acknowledging his inability to control a boy of eleven years of age leads to the enquiry - What is to be become of such a boy? Who in the place of the helpless parent is to save him from the evil course he is so early pursuing?

Oh how terrible is it to read in the very same newspaper of boys - mere children - being charged with an attempt to derail a train, housebreaking, stealing, and other crimes! Or of girls, incorrigible at a tender age, the companions of dissolute lads, not much their senior, often mothers and filled with care before having passed the range of childhood …

The work in the Army's Social Department with respect to the state children is the beginning of a new era. Although the homes are yet few, and the inmates a small proportion of the whole, the work being done is invaluable … The Army's homes are pre-eminently training schools. Training, however, must begin at the cradle, where the earliest habits form themselves, and in the absence of guidance, take permanent root.

The children the Army receives from the state are undeniable evidences of the ill effects of the lack of parental discipline. Hence the habits formed during ten or twelve or even fourteen years of ineffectual control have to be destroyed.

… these boys and girls are the possessors of strong wills and physical powers altogether too much for the flexible control of their irresolute parents, hence they have broken from restraint and are like wild colts in a station paddock, reveling in freedom, their hearts as untilled soil, from which have sprung all the inherent weeds of their natural depravity …

There is hope for the very worst! The Salvation Army despairs of none …

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