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Newsletter 34 December 2018

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What’s in a name?

The Orphan Schools were originally named the King’s Orphan Schools after George IV (1820-1830) and William IV (1830-1837). From 1837, when Queen Victoria came to the throne, the institution was known as the Queen’s Orphan Schools. In 1861, the name changed again and it was known as the Queen’s Asylum for Destitute Children. They were not known as St John’s Orphan Schools.

The Orphan Schools were one institution in two parts, the Female Orphan School and the Male Orphan School. Very young boys were admitted to the Female Orphan School until the Infant Orphan School was built in 1862.

From the Courier (Hobart) 31 January 1853 p.3:

‘The first female school was established in Davey-street, Hobart Town, in the year 1828. The first male school was established also in 1828, but was situated on the New Town Rivulet. In December 1833 the female establishment was moved to the north wing of the present building and consisted of about 45 girls; six months subsequently they were removed to the south wing, and the boys took possession of the north wing of the building (then complete except the Church), vacated by the girls. The number of the boys consisted of about an equal number as the girls’.

Friends of the Orphan Schools/Female Convicts Research Centre joint seminar

The Friends of the Orphan Schools and the Female Convicts Research Centre combined to present a highly successful seminar on Sunday 28 October 2018. Papers focussed on the connections between convict women and orphan school children and were presented by

Craig Mackie (‘Ann Solomon, her children & the orphan schools’);

Geoff Mitchelmore ‘(Orphan School to Female Factory);

Andrew Cocker (‘Euphemia Lawson: three generations of convict and orphans’);

Jennifer Jacobs (‘The underfed children of Bridget Norton’);

Petrina Osborne (‘Annie Maria Ingle: A Journey from Sheffield to the Bushman’s Home’);

Maureen Mann, (‘Later lives of the Orphan Children’); and

Caroline Haigh, (‘Isabella Hutchinson, her children & grandchildren and their experience of the Orphan Schools’).

Colette McAlpine presented Jann Niven’s paper, ‘Condemned to a lifetime of institutional living: Izod King’.

More than 120 people attended, including several from interstate, England and New Zealand. Tours were organised by Simon Cocker, Friends of the Orphan Schools Tour Organiser, and were conducted by tour guides, Jane Hodgman and Richard Watson.

Andrew Cocker presenting his paper

Book launch 28 October 2018

Voices from the Orphan Schools. The Children’s Stories by Dianne Snowden was launched by Saul Eslake in St John’s Church on 28October, during the combined Friends of the Orphan Schools/Female Convicts Research Centre seminar. Attorney-General the Hon. Elise Archer was MC. The book is now available in bookshops.

Voices the book

Nearly 6,000 children, many the children of convicts, passed through the Orphan Schools from 1828 to 1879. This book reveals some of their stories.

Dianne Snowden has shed new light on an important part of Tasmania’s history, and brought to life stories which, though hitherto either unknown or long-forgotten, are part of our story’.—Saul Eslake, 28 October 2018.

The Launch
Saul Eslake launching Voices From the Orphan Schools

From the Shadows Inc. Update

The Friends of the Orphan Schools is a foundation supporter of the new Rowan Gillespie statue project, and several committee members are individual foundation supporters. The From the Shadows project team is grateful for this support and welcomes all donations, no matter how small. Since August 2018, the Project Team has raised just over $30,000 in sponsorship and donations, a great start to reaching its target of $150,000. The next major fundraiser will be held on Thursday 13 December 2018 at the State Cinema. There will be more events during the week of Rowan Gillespie’s visit from 15-20 January 2019, including a launch of the project, and there will be a major fundraiser on 8 March 2019, when the ‘Superintendent’ and ‘Matron’ of the Queen’s Orphan School will host a colonial ball.

State Cinema & From the Shadows, Fundraising Film Night

When: Thursday 13 December 2018 6pm

Where: State Cinema, North Hobart

Tickets: $25.00

For pre-paid tickets, email or phone Dianne on 0409 140 657

Great raffle prizes!

If you would like more information about the project, please visit our website or email us. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Book Fair

The Friends of the Orphan Schools Committee is organising a Book Fair on the weekend of 2 & 3 February 12-3pm in the Old Sunday School, St John’s Park Precinct, New Town. All proceeds will go to the From the Shadows project, which aims to fund new statues created by renowned Irish sculptor, Rowan Gillespie, for the World Heritage Cascades Female Factory and the heritage listed Orphan Schools site.


Donations of Books, DVDs, CDs, records and magazines.

All donations will be used to raise money for the From the Shadows project.

For more information, and drop off/pick up details, email  or phone Dianne on 0409 140 657.

Fox's Feast Sunday 24 February 2019

Fox’s Feast will be held on Sunday February 24 February 2019. If you would like to help with the organisation of this special event, please contact Dianne Snowden.

2019 Deadlines for newsletter articles

1 February 2019
1 May 2019
1 August 2019
1 November 2019

Editor: Dianne Snowden
Andrew Cocker
1 November 2018

Please note our new PO Box

Contact us:

Friends of the Orphan Schools,
PO Box 4659,
Bathurst Street PO,
Hobart. TAS 7000


Telephone messages: 003 6285 2654

Christmas wreath

Season’s Greetings from
the Friends of the Orphan Schools Committee

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