While sitting on The Homesite waiting for The Man to get back from down south while he is on a mission of his own, I have been exploring the free “on demand” telly options over the Internet. A remarkable series, which I have found free to air, is the SBS series “First Australians”.
To read part 1 -> Mistakes – Owning Your Past
Continued … Colonial Solutions for Social Problems
One of the few institutions of the colonial era that did address a social problem prevalent of the day was Point Puer, at Port Arthur Penal Prison. Young boys and men were seen to be in an insidious position when they arrived into the colony as convicts. Some as young as 9yrs old were exposed to the worst of social constructs, abuse and ill-use as convicts, this particularly in the penal settlement of Hobart Town where the majority of convicts were first sent. This problem of unassigned boys and how to deal with them was considerable .
Unlike the young girls who were quickly assigned for reasons addressed previously, as well as being placed into service as domestic servants, the boys were unwelcome and viewed as a drain on the penal system and so Point Puer was developed. It was no holiday for the young boys and young men but it was a improved arrangement which often gave them skills and training they badly needed. Some of these skills were of course questionable as can be seen in the wake of the bushranging era of the mid-late colonial era… many of these bushrangers were early inmates of Point Puer.