NSW Government Logo
  askGovernment | | contact us | indexes online | keyname search | photo search   

Search Options Help

» How to use

» Search tips

» More

State Records Archives Investigator
Agency Detail
 Shopping Cart
No selected items 
Print Record   Decrease Font Size   Increase Font Size
Please note the administrative history information provided on the State Records Authority website is limited in scope and is not intended to be exhaustive. The administrative histories for government agencies found on State Records’ website are intended to provide general information relating to a government body or agency, changes to organisational structure, governance, purpose and may also include details of relevant information and changes made to it from time to time. Major structural or functional changes are generally included to assist in understanding the context of the records held as State archives. For specific information the relevant government body or agency should be contacted directly.

Agency number: 411
Title: Nautical School-ship "Vernon" ( 1867-1892) / Nautical School-ship "Sobraon" (1892-1911)
Start date: 06 May 1867
End date: ? 31 Jul 1911
Category: Juvenile Justice Centre
Creation: Industrial Schools Act of 1866 [30 Victoria, Act No. 2, 1866]

Administrative history note: "An Act for the relief of Destitute Children" [30 Victoria, Act No, 2, 1866] - the Industrial Schools Act of 1866- received assent on 12 September, 1866 and came into force on 1 January, 1867.(1) This Act authorised the Governor to proclaim "any ship or vessel or any building or place together with any yards, enclosures grounds or lands attached thereto to be a 'Public Industrial School' ". Any vagrant or destitute child under the age of sixteen could be directed by two Justices of the Peace to attend an Industrial School and to remain the responsibility of the Superintendent until the age of eighteen, unless apprenticed out or discharged. A child could be apprenticed out from twelve years of age but if twelve or over when admitted, was required to attend the School for a year before becoming apprenticed. Each child was to receive instruction in the religion of his family. The Superintendent was authorised to discipline any child who absconded from the School. Males and females were to attend different Institutions. Parents could be required to pay for the upkeep of their child while attending the Industrial School. (2)

On 25 January, 1867 the Colonial Secretary purchased the wooden sailing ship the "Vernon" and at a cost of more than eight and a half thousand pounds it was fitted up as an Industrial School. (3) The ship, moored in Sydney Harbour between the Government Domain and Garden Island was declared a Public Industrial School on 6 May, 1867. (4)

On 10 May, 1867 James Seton Veitch Mein was appointed Commander and Naval Instructor of the "Vernon" (5) and on 17 May, 1867 he was made Superintendent of the "Vernon". (6)

Admissions to the "Vernon" commenced on 20 May, 1867 (7) and by July, 1868 113 boys had been admitted, 14 of whom had been apprenticed out.(8) Boys as young as three were admitted to the Ship. "An Act to amend the Industrial Schools Act of 1866" [34 Victoria, Act No. 4, 1870] was assented to on 17 October, 1870. This Industrial Schools Act Amendment made provision for boys who were younger than seven when sent to an Industrial School to be placed in a Female Industrial School until the age of seven. (9) Subsequently, young boys admitted to the "Vernon" were cared for by the Biloela Public Industrial School for Girls on Cockatoo Island. On 28 February, 1878 there were nine boys at Biloela. (10)

On board the "Vernon", boys received a combination of moral training, nautical and industrial training and instruction, and elementary schooling. The curriculum was well-defined. (11)

From 1 April, 1878 Frederick William Neitenstein was appointed Superintendent of the Vernon, (12) establishing a system which rewarded good behaviour with privileges rather than by administering corporal punishment. (13) In 1878 trades teaching was abolished. (14) In 1880 the teaching of vocal music was introduced and a brass band was established. By 1881 the "Vernon" boys received an education in the same subjects as children received at any other Public School as prescribed by the Department of Public Instruction. (15) The School had its own gymnasium, a spacious recreation ground, an entertainment hall and a recreation hall on land. (16)

From its commencement, the "Vernon" served as both an Industrial School and a Reformatory. [Although legislation was passed in 1866 to authorise the establishment of reformatories no reformatory for boys was established until 1895]
After the passage of the State Children Relief Act, 1881 [44 Victoria, Act No. 24, 1881] the majority of destitute boys were boarded-out rather than being sent to industrial schools and those committed to the "Vernon" were increasingly boys with criminal charges. (17) By 1892 many had been transferred from charitable organisations (18)

Not until 1904 did the school have a sea-going tender, the HMS "Dart"- a steam and sailing schooner. (19) On 5 June 1906 the HMS "Dart" was proclaimed an Industrial School in accordance with provisions of the Neglected Children And Juvenile Offenders Act of 1905. (20)

On 8 November, 1892 the "Vernon" was replaced by the "Sobraon", which was treble the size of its predecessor. During 1893 it had an average number of 263 boys. (21)

The Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act of 1905 [Act No. 16, 1905] came into force on 1 October, 1905. As the probationary system it established was introduced, the number of children committed to industrial schools and reformatories declined. (22)

The numbers of children sent to the "Sobraon" quickly decreased. The enrolment for 1910 was 231, a 5% decrease on the enrolment for the previous year. These boys were discharged to their parents or guardians or apprenticed out and by the end of July, 1911 the remaining of the boys were set to the Mittagong Farm Home for Boys and the Brush Farm Home for Boys. The "Sobraon" was abandoned.(23)

(1) New South Wales Government Gazette, Sydney, Government Printer, 1867 v. 1, p. 1
(2) Industrial Schools Act of 1866, [30 Victoria, Act No. 2, 1866]
(3) Ramsland, J. "Children of the Backlanes", New South Wales University Press, Sydney, 1986, pp. 116-118
(4) New South Wales Government Gazette, op. cit., 1867, v. 1, p. 1165
(5) Ibid, p.1165
(6) Ibid, p. 1207
(7) New South Wales Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, 1881 v. 4, p. 995, NSS Vernon , Report for the year ended 30 June 1881
(8) NSW V & PLA 1868-1869, v. 3, p. 845, Report respecting the Nautical School-Ship "Vernon"
(9) Industrial Schools Act Amendment, of 1870 [34 Victoria, Act No. 4, 1870]
(10) NSW V & PLA 1877-1878, v. 2, p. 663 Report of Superintendent of Industrial School for Girls, Biloela for 1877
(11) Ramsland, J op. cit., p. 140
(12) NSW Government Gazette, 1878, v. 2, p. 1733
(13) NSW V& PLA 1881 v. 4, p.995 NSS Vernon, Report for the year ended 30 June 1881
(14) Ibid, 1878-1879 v. 3 p. 951 Report of Inspector of Public Charities, 1879
(15) Ibid, 1881 v. 4, p. 995 NSS Vernon, Report for the year ended 30 June 1881
(16) Ibid, 1883-1884 v. 6, p.747 NSS Vernon Report for the year ended 30 June 1883
(17) Ibid, 1883-1884 v. 6, p. 747 NSS Vernon Report for the year ended 30 June 1883
(18) Ibid , 1892-1893 v. 3, p. 1395 NSS Vernon Report for the year ended 30 April 1892
(19) New South Wales Parliamentary Papers 2nd session 1904 v. 2, p. 984 NSS Sobraon, Report for the year ended 30 April 1904
(20) New South Wales Government Gazette, 1906, v. 2, p. 3289
(21) NSW PP 1893 v. 3, p. 707 NSS Vernon Report for the year ended 30 April 1893.
(22) Official Yearbook of New South Wales 1913 p. 554
(23) NSW PP 1910 v. 1, pp. 44-45 Report of the Minister of Public Instruction for 1910


Preceding agencies:

Succeeding agencies:
486 Carpenterian Reformatory for Boys (1894-1908) / Brush Farm Home for Boys (1909-1913) / Farm Home for Boys, Gosford (1914-1946) / Mount Penang Training School for Boys, Gosford (1946-1990) / Mount P... starts by 31 Jul 1911 

Superior agencies:
111 State Children's Relief Board  19 Apr 1881 ~ 31 Jul 1911 

Subordinate agencies:

Related agencies:
460 Newcastle Public Industrial School for Girls (1867-1871) / Biloela Public Industrial School for Girls (1871-1887) / Parramatta Industrial School for Females (1887-1912) / Girls' Training Home, P...  17 Oct 1870 ~ 01 Oct 1905 

Functions exercised by this agency:
1 Law and Order  06 May 1867 ~ 31 Jul 1911 
2 Education and Training  06 May 1867 ~ 31 Jul 1911 
4 Social and Community Services  06 May 1867 ~ 31 Jul 1911 

Organisations controlling this agency:

Persons related to this agency:

Record series created by this agency:
3902 Entrance books [Industrial Schools Branch]  01 Jan 1897 ~ 31 Dec 1911 
3903 Correspondence and documents relating to committals [Industrial Schools Branch]  01 Jan 1898 ~ 31 Dec 1903 
3904 Placement book [Industrial Schools Branch]  01 Jan 1904 ~ 31 Dec 1911 
3905 Miscellaneous photographs, newscuttings and invitations relating to N.S.S. "Sobraon" [Industrial Schools Branch]  01 Jan 1906 ~ 31 Dec 1925 
3906 Entrance books [Industrial Schools Branch]  01 Jan 1867 ~ 31 Dec 1897 
17212 Visitors' Book for Nautical School Ship "Vernon" (1886-1892) and "Sobraon" (1892-1910)  28 Feb 1886 ~ 15 Nov 1910 

Record series controlled by this agency:

Return to previous pageReturn to Previous PageStart new searchStart new search