Hillston, Anglican Farm School, Stoneville was the new name given to the Anglican Farm School, Stoneville in 1962. It was an 'open' reformatory for adolescent boys. It was run by a combined government-Anglican committee called the Committee of Anglican Diocesan Council and Child Welfare Department. In 1969 Hillston, Anglican Farm School, Stoneville became the government-run reformatory, Hillston.
The 'open reformatory' that was known as the 'Hillston, Anglican Farm School, Stoneville', 'Hillston', and 'Stoneville', was established by the government but run by a joint Anglican Diocese of Perth-Child Welfare Department committee known as the Committee of Anglican Diocesan Council and Child Welfare Department.
Roy Peterkin, a member of the committee, gave some insight into the governance arrangements in his book Noisy Mansions (1988, p.150): 'Decisions on policy were made at monthly meetings of the Management Committee...as time went on the discussions became increasingly dominated by views of the Department's representatives, which in the background there was always Treasury control…Hillston, though now included as one of the Anglican Homes, was this in name only.' According to the annual report of the Child Welfare Department in 1970 (Signposts, 2004 p.238), Anglican involvement in the governance of the reformatory ceased in October 1969.
Government reports (Signposts, pp.237-238) show that in 1962 and 1969, there were 40-62 boys resident at year end. All boys placed at the Anglican Farm School, Stoneville were wards of the State. Until 1968, Hillston had been used to accommodate youths aged 14-18 years but in 1969 boys from 12 years old were regularly admitted.
Most boys at the Hillston, Anglican Farm School, Stoneville went to school on the property as well as doing practical work on the farm, which included growing produce, construction work, animal husbandry, using farm machinery and land-clearing. Produce from the farm was used to supply the reformatory and other child welfare facilities when there was a surplus.
Although abscondings were frequent, according to Peterkin (1988, pp.149-150) its Management Committee were keen for it to remain relatively open to better meet the objective of 're-education' rather than punishment. There was quite a lot of public cricitism that 'delinquent' boys could so easily escape. Boys slept in 'individual cabins which were locked at night' but the reformatory was situated in the bush, with no perimeter fencing so it was not difficult for boys to escape during the day. Boys who 'persistently absconded' were sent to Riverbank, according to Peterkin (p.150).
In October 1969, Swanleigh ceased to be involved in the management of the Hillston, Anglican Farm School, Stoneville and it became a government-run reformatory known as Hillston. At this time, Anglican Archdeacon Ralph Thomas and Roy Peterkin were appointed as 'Official Visitors' to the Hillston.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.234-235, Table 16: Historical Notes and Numbers of Young People at Hillston, Certain Years between 1952 and 1984', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx; Peterkin, A. Roy, The Noisy Mansions : the story of Swanleigh 1868-1971, Perth Diocesan Trustees, Anglican Church of Australia, Midland, Western Australia, 1986. pp.149-150.; Email from Diocesan Archivist, Anglican Diocese of Perth, 30 July 2014.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 22 October 2014, Last modified: 6 November 2015