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Sunbury Industrial School Children Memorial : November 2013
Sunbury Industrial School Children Memorial : November 2013

Photographs supplied by Nancy Alford

The memorial commemorates the children, buried in unmarked graves, who died between August 1865 and November 1878 while incarcerated at the Sunbury Industrial School.

The Sunbury Industrial School located on Jackson's Hill in Sunbury was a school developed to educate and house destitute children from 1864 until 1879. A 1,000-acre  site was put aside in Sunbury following the implementation of the Neglected and Criminal Children's Act of 1864. Destitute or orphaned children were sent as wards of the state to learn a trade in the belief that this may then provide them with the skills necessary (once they were old enough), to provide and care for themselves. The school was co-educational although girls and boys were segregated. Boys were expected to learn a trade while girls were expected to handle menial tasks such as washing clothes, cleaning floors and to assist with cooking.

The open and exposed position of the buildings led to frequent illness and constant poor health of the children. The children were given rancid food, that they ate in their own rooms that by the time they received it, was cold. The children were given only a little water, no bedding, save for a blanket and many affected by Opthalmia, went untreated, resulting in blindness. It was estimated that around 10 percent of children died within the first year of operation. This fact alone led to the school gaining the nickname of the Sunbury Slaughterhouse. Eventually, after public outcry, and after numerous Royal Commissions into the Industrial School System, by 1879 the Sunbury Industrial School was closed.


Address:Shields Street, Sunbury Cemetery, Sunbury, 3429
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.58967
Long: 144.730119
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:August-1865
Approx. Event End Date:November -1978


Front Inscription

In commemoration of these children who died between August 1865 and November 1878 while incarcerated in the Sunbury Industrial Schools interred in this cemetery in unmarked graves.

[ Names ]


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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