The Queen’s Orphan Asylum opened as the King’s Orphan Asylum in New Town in 1833. It was the first purpose-built institution for orphaned, destitute and neglected children in Van Diemen’s Land (later Tasmania).
The Orphan School, designed by John Lee Archer, was situated in St John’s Avenue, New Town. The parish church of St John’s stood between the buildings for boys and for girls. In God’s own country, Boyce describes this as a ‘parish partnership’ between the Church and government with the church designed specifically for the needs of the Asylum, convicts and free settlers. The children sat in one gallery and the convicts in the other with the settlers in the main body. Barriers and separate entrances prevented the children from seeing the convicts. Church of England clergy dominated the committee that managed the Asylum.
From 1861, with the passage of the Queens Asylum Act, the institution became known as the Queen’s Orphan Asylum or the Queen’s Orphanage.
The Infant Orphan School, constructed in 1862 became the Female Charitable Institution in 1874, operating as a lying-in hospital and home for girls considered to be ‘mentally defective’ as well as providing accommodation for women who were destitute.
After the cessation of transportation, numbers dropped at the orphanage. The boarding out system was introduced in Tasmania in 1873. From 1864, children could also be placed in industrial schools, or girls at the St Joseph’s Orphanage, which opened in 1879.
schools contributed to numbers dropping at the Queen’s Orphan Asylum in the 1870s. The Orphan School was closed in 1879. After this time, the buildings were operated for some years as the Male Division of the New Town Charitable Institution. [Queen’s Orphan Asylum (1833 – 1879). Find & Connect.]
New Town, Tasmania, Australia
The Queens Orphan Asylum, New Town
Colourised and enhanced photograph of The Queens Orphan Asylum, New Town, Hobart, Tasmania – circa 1868.