Protecting the Children: Early Years of the King’s Orphan Schools in Van Diemen’s Land

Lucy Frost


In the second decade of the 21st century, the Australian government has encountered a barrage of criticism from people outraged by its treatment of refugees. The Immigration Minister, accused of failing in his obligation to act as guardian of asylum-seeking children, has talked ‘tough’. Nearly two hundred years earlier, when Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur confronted the problems of administering Australia’s second colony, Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), his approach was radically different. This paper considers how the colony under Arthur struggled with the government’s responsibility to protect vulnerable children in its midst.


Orphan Schools; female convicts; Colonial Australia

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