Children at risk topic of next Port Arthur Talk

January 30, 2012

The care of vulnerable children has been an issue in Tasmania since the Convict era.

At a time of public debate about governmental responsibility for children (in several different contexts), it is salutary to look back nearly two hundred years to the early days of Van Diemen’s Land when Lieutenant]Governor George Arthur struggled with the problem of how best to protect the colony’s most vulnerable children.

Professor Lucy Frost suggests that in the years before the Orphan Schools gained their reputation as institutions confining primarily the children of convicts—and hence a place of stigma—they played a far more complex and compassionate role in the community.

Professor Frost will present her research, published in a recent paper, at the next Port Arthur Talk, entitled Protecting the children: the early years of the King’s Orphan Schools in Van Diemen’s Land, on Wednesday 15 February 2012, 5.30pm at the Junior Medical Officer’s Conference Room, Port Arthur Historic Site.

Lucy Frost is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Tasmania. Her current research focuses on the experiences of the convict women and their children transported to Van Diemen’s Land during the first half of the nineteenth century.

She is the co-convenor of the Female Convicts Research Group (Tasmania), and editor of the Research Group’s most recent publication, Convict Lives at the Ross Female Factory (Convict Women’s Press, 2011). Her biographical study of women convicted in the courts of Scotland, Abandoned Women: exiled beyond the seas has just been published by Allen & Unwin.

The talk is free of charge and all interested are welcome.