(The following text is from 'Finding your own way: a guide to records of children's homes in South Australia', Nunkuwarrin Yunti of SA Inc, 2005)
Struan Farm School, Naracoorte
This school… is conducted as far as practicable on homely lines, and is a miniature society rehabilitating boys along lines of self-control, and teaching them the ordinary requirements of citizenship, together with rural and vocational training.
Annual Report of the Children’s Welfare and Public Relief Board, 1948, p. 16.
Period of operation: 1947-1969
Also known as: No other names
Run by: Children’s Welfare and Public Relief Board, South Australian Government
In 1946 the South Australian Government purchased Struan House and the adjoining Estate of 1159 acres (469 hectares) near Naracoorte. The land was to be converted into a ‘rural colony for the better class of delinquent boy and youth’. In 1947 a superintendent was appointed along with a small number of staff. A group of eight boys, selected from the Industrial School at Edwardstown and the Magill Reformatory, were transferred to this new Farm School. The existing homestead was gradually renovated to provide housing for them.
As well as working in the gardens on school land, boys also trained in various farming tasks and on farming equipment with local landowners. They were also educated through lectures and practical experience in care of stock and dairying. Experts from various departments of the government also visited to provide advice and assistance in rural matters, and teach maintenance of farm machinery and equipment.
In 1950 it was reported that the school could accommodate thirty boys, although during the 1950s and 1960s it was home for usually around eighteen to twenty over school aged boys. Most boys were selected for training at the farm because of interest in, or experience of, rural life and if their general behaviour was satisfactory. Many city boys also trained at the school and were then able to move into farming jobs. After completing their education at the school, boys were placed in rural positions locally or in other areas of the State.
Boys were allowed a limited amount of freedom to attend church, picture theatres, sporting and other recreational events. Visitors were allowed with permission and boys occasionally returned to their own homes. In 1969 the Department reported that it had been finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the required number of boys at the farm and that therefore the costs of maintaining boys there was very high. It recommended that the Farm School be discontinued. It was closed as a departmental institution in October 1969. The property was taken over by the Department of Agriculture and became a research station.