• Organisation

Kingsbury Farm Reformatory


Kingsbury Farm Reformatory was a training farm for Protestant boys that opened in Newstead in April 1893. It was operated on the ‘family system’, run by a married couple, and had capacity for six boys. Boys were sent to Kingsbury from other reformatories in order to learn practical farm skills, such as land clearing, dam-making, planting, tending to and harvesting crops, as well as assisting with house work. The boys also received school lessons five nights a week. Once boys were deemed to be sufficiently skilled and ‘reformed’ they were sent out to work on privately-owned farms. Boys placed at Kingsbury typically spent six months there before being sent out to service. Kingsbury Farm Reformatory closed on 1st July 1912.

A newspaper article from 1906 described Kingsbury as ‘one of the branch establishments of the Government reformatory for boys’ (Leader, 10 November 1906). The 1906 annual report of the Department for Neglected Children and Reformatory Schools described Kingsbury: ‘This reformatory is noted for the homely manner in which the boys are treated. Mr Brebner (superintendent) is ably assisted by his wife, who devotes many of her evenings to educating the boys in reading, writing and arithmetic. All branches of farming are taught here’.

The local newspapers often carried reports of boys having absconded from Kingsbury. For example, an article from 1912 about ‘a couple of young scamps’ who stole a couple of bicycles, described the Kingsbury Reformatory as a farm ‘from which one or more lads walk off at frequent intervals’ ( Bendigo Independent, 17 May 1912).

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  • Alternative Names

    Kingsbury Farm Reformatory School

    Kingsbury Farm Reformatory, Newstead, for Protestant Boys


  • 1893 - 1912

    Kingsbury Farm Reformatory was situated at Newstead, Victoria., Victoria (Building Unknown)

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