Report on Female Factory

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
6 September 1844



The SPEAKER took the Chair at twenty-five minutes before four o’clock.


Male Orphan School, near Liverpool—150 Boys…………2392    0    0

Some discussion took place when the last-mentioned item was brought under consideration, as to the manner in which the school was managed, and the class of children received therein.

Mr. COWPER observed, that he believed the children mostly consisted of the offspring of convicts, which had been removed thither from the Female Factory; that they were too young to expect much from them in the way of industry till they were old enough to be apprenticed, although they were in the mean time taught various trades, such as that of tailor, shoemaker, baker, &c. The expense complained of might arise from the sickly state of health of the children. There was no doubt that the schools were properly conducted, as His Excellency the Governor and Lady GIPPS frequently visited them, for the purpose of inspecting the arrangements thereof.

Mr. WENTWORTH thought that the establishment was more of a convict description than any other, and that it properly ought to be supported, as similar institutions were in Van Diemen’s Land, out of the Military Chest. They certainly did not appear to be industrial schools, although it had been stated that the boys were brought up as tailors, shoemakers, bakers, &c.

The COLONIAL SECRETARY observed it would be found that the children were principally those of free paupers, but that if hon. members were not satisfied, he would, if they would allow the item to be postponed, furnish them with all the information they desired.

Mr. THERRY observed that the master of the school had been examined last year, and the result was satisfactory, and he saw no reason for going into the matter at the present moment. The children were not convicts if the parents were.

Dr. LANG thought that the maintenance and education of the children of convict parents ought to be borne on the Military Chest. He felt convinced from his observation, during twenty-one years’ experience, that it would be better if the Orphan Schools were done away with altogether, and the children placed out and boarded amongst the humbler classes of the community in various parts of the colony. It would be a more economical mode, and more conducive to the establishment of morality than the present.

Mr. COWPER felt bound to observe that many who as children had been brought up in the Orphan Schools, were now reputable parents and heads of respectable families.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL thought it would be unfair to treat as convicts the children which certainly were of colonial origin, even if both father and mother were convicts, and it would therefore be unjust to brand the offspring as convicts. He was of opinion that the plan proposed by the hon. and rev. Member for Port Phillip, could never be carried out.

The COLONIAL TREASURER moved as an amendment, that the item under consideration be postponed for a week.

Some further discussion ensued, and the Council divided on the amendment, which was lost by a majority of 17 to 11.

The original motion was then put and carried.

The following items were then voted without discussion.

Female Orphan School, Parramatta, 150 girls…………..1970   0    0

Roman Catholic School, Parramatta, 70 boys, and 60 girls…….1500    0   0

See Original: “LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Friday 6 September 1844, p.3