Publication Date



This article explores the long history of institutions for children in Australia and of the existence of abuse within them. By examining the function that such institutions were designed to perform, and the forms and structures that were devised to best achieve such purposes, the article argues that abuse was all too often not simply inherent in, but essential to, institutional operation. It pays particular attention to the classification of children deemed to be in need of institutional “care” and shows how, through a process of “othering”, their institutionalisation too often rendered them vulnerable to abuse.


School of Arts

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Australian Studies on 17 June 2018, available online: