Agency VA 971
Turana Youth Training Centre (previously known as Turana Reception Centre 1955-1968; Turana Juvenile School 1957-1962)
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Date Range: 1955 - 1993
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
Early years

In 1955, "Turana", the Aboriginal word for 'rainbow', was established as a reception centre, children's home and juvenile school, for both boys and girls at 900 Park Street, Parkville. Previously, the site was the Royal Park Industrial School and later Royal Park Receiving Depot / Boys' and Girls' Depots, Royal Park.

Turana was established under the Children's Welfare Act 1954, that abolished the Department for Reformatory Schools, Chief Secretary's Department (VA 2963), and transferred the responsibility for juvenile offenders and reformatory schools (from 1954 known as juvenile schools), to the Children's Welfare Department.

Turana housed both state wards held in protective custody as well as sentenced offenders. Annually, more than 3000 children and young people were held at Turana.

In the annual report for 1955, the Secretary reported that overcrowding was a serious problem at Turana. It was particularly difficult to place babies and school children, family groups, 'problem' school-age boys, as well as children with health problems and physical or intellectual disabilities.

Turana accommodated boys and girls of all ages, from a few days old to 18 or 19 years. In 1955, the facility held a weekly average of 204 children, and was considered overcrowded at the time. Turana was highly-structured with rostered staff and clear procedures to receive, assess, house and monitor children 24 hours a day.

In 1956, Winlaton Youth Training Centre (VA 5093) opened and girls aged 14 years and older left Turana. By 1957, Turana had 14 separate sections and a capacity of 265. Overcrowding continued, and it was not unusual for Turana to have more than 300 children and young people at a time. By 1958, Poplar House (originally built to house 'problem girls' at Turana), had become a juvenile school for male offenders.

Turana in the 1960s - 70s

Until 1960, Turana housed 64 boys aged 10 to 14 years in the Family Welfare Division's Reception Centre (Billabong) and Classifaction Centre (Parkside).

On 1 July 1961, under the Social Welfare Act 1960, two of the divisions in the newly established Social Welfare Branch took control of the juvenile schools and reception centres. The control of reception centres came under the new Family Welfare Division and the control of juvenile schools under the new Youth Welfare Division. Under this Act the juvenile schools were renamed "Youth Training Centres", and were formally appointed as such by the Governor in Council. The renaming of the former juvenile schools was gazetted on the 9 May 1962.

On 1 July 1961, the Allambie Reception Centre (VA 5033). opened in Burwood to relieve overcrowding at Turana.

In June 1962, a procedure was agreed upon between the Director of Youth Welfare and the Director of Family Welfare regarding the admission of Wards to Turana. Boys of 14 years and older would be accepted and dealt with by Youth Welfare Division if they were (a) Wards and non-wards brought to Turana on Police charges; (b) non-wards brought to Turana on protection applications.

All boys under 14 years - wards or non-wards - whether brought to Turana on Police charges or protection applications, would be accepted and dealt with by the Family Welfare Division.

Family Welfare Division boys whom were exceptionally difficult could be accepted into the Annexe by Youth Welfare Division up to a maximum of nine boys. The subsequent placement of such boys would be arranged by the Family Welfare Division.

All boys of 14 years or over returned from Court, admitted as in need of care and protection or likely to lapse or, alternatively returned under the provisions of Section 30 of the Children's Court Act, were to be accepted by Youth Welfare Division and classified by the Youth Welfare Classification Committee. The only boys among those whom would be returned to Family Welfare Division would be those whom were considered to be appropriate for placement at Tally Ho under the agreement previously reached between the Director of Youth Welfare and the Director of Family Welfare.

On 2 May 1962, under the powers conferred by the Social Welfare Act 1960, His Excellency the Governor of the State of Victoria appointed Parkside, being a portion of the institution known as Turana, to be a Remand Centre. (Government Gazette 9 May 1962).

In 1964 when the Allambie Reception centre nursery commenced operations, the nursery atTurana was closed and was converted to house older children.

In 1965, a new Classification Centre separated younger boys (14 to 16 years) from young men (17 to 20 years).

In October 1968, the Baltara Reception Centre was established on the site of the former Parkside section of Turana. The Baltara Reception Centre also incorporated three other new sections, Kinta, Mawarra and Warrina. The reception centre provided accomodation for boys aged from 10 - 14 years and operated as a separate entity to the rest of the Turana complex, which housed the older youths and young men (14 - 20 years).

From the 1960s, the government continued to establish state-run reception centres, youth training centres and children's homes in metropolitan and regional Victoria. This was partly an effort to ease the overcrowding at Turana, as well as to provide institutions appropriate to the varying circumstances and needs of children and young people coming into care.

Both Baltara Youth Reception Centre and Turana Youth Training Centre still accommodated wards of the state as well as young people remanded or sentenced for criminal matters.

Turana in the 1970s and '80s

The Turana Youth Training Centre's program and services grew during the 1970s.

By 1979:
Turana's three security sections (remand, assessment and classification) held about 100 boys.
The training centre's three secure, open sections held 80 to 100 boys.

Following introduction of community-based alternatives, Turana's high numbers dramatically declined.

In 1985, all statewide youth and child welfare facilities were redeveloped to reduce the role of central institutions. Turana, Winlaton and Malmsbury now operated solely as youth training centres for young people sentenced to detention.

The Children and Young Persons Act 1989 required that the provision of services for children and young people on protective orders be separated from those provided to young offenders in custody. The Act established different divisions in the Children's Court to completely separate child protection matters from criminal custodial matters.

As a result, young people under state guardianship were no longer accommodated at Turana.


Turana in the final years

In the early 1990s, Turana was structured around five separate sections - Remand, Class A secure classification, Coolibah medium-security, Quamby open section, and Poplar House maximum security.
- Remand had capacity for 15 boys 15-17 years awaiting court appearances.
- Class A, the adult facility, accommodated young men 17-21 years (adult trainees).
- Coolibah (medium security) held trainees in the final phase of their sentences.
- Quamby (open) held adolescents in a less-restricted environment heading for release.
- Poplar House (maximum security) held offenders.

Victoria operated a unique 'dual-track system'. Some young men aged 17 years or over received prison sentences, depending on the severity of their offences or their likelihood of benefiting from serving in a youth training centre.

In late 1993 the Turana Youth Training Centre closed and the young people were transferred to the newly constructed Melbourne Juvenile Justice Centre complex built on the same site, with four 15-bed accommodation units, a program and recreation facility, and a reception area within a secure perimeter.

The Melbourne Juvenile Justice Centre(VA 5086) was fully operational by April 1994.

Legislation and record keeping

The Children and Young Persons Act 1989 required that the provision of services for children and young people on protective orders be separated from those provided to young offenders in custody. The Act established different divisions in the Children's Court to completely separate child protection matters from criminal custodial matters.

The Children and Young Persons Act 1989 Act also established the term 'children in need of protection', replacing old terms 'ward of state' (from the Neglected Children's Act 1887) and 'trainee' (from the Social Welfare Act 1960). Children and young people involved with child protection and sentenced young people are now all classified as 'clients'.

Young people who entered the youth justice system before the 1989 Act was implemented, kept their trainee case history files, but not the later Client Relationship Information System institutional files (JJ CRIS prefix). This explains why the older records continued until the late 1990s - well after the terminology had changed.

The term 'client' is still used for all care leavers in Victoria.
 
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Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
? 1951 - 1998 Residential Institutions, Building Records, Site Maps and Plans VPRS 17986 North Melbourne Open
? 1955 - ? 1990 Admission and Discharge Cards VPRS 17896 North Melbourne Closed
? 1955 - 1989 Employee History Cards VPRS 17990 North Melbourne Closed
? 1955 - 1992 Male Trainee Case History Files VPRS 17988 North Melbourne Closed
1960 - 1992 Instruction Manuals, Procedures and Management Reports VPRS 17991 North Melbourne Open
1961 - 1992 Child Case History Files (Turana Reception Centre and Baltara Reception Centre) VPRS 17973 North Melbourne Closed
1962 - ? 1988 Admission and Discharge Register (Turana Reception Centre and Baltara Reception Centre) VPRS 17903 North Melbourne Closed
1967 - 1994 Child Record Cards (Turana Reception Centre and Baltara Reception Centre) VPRS 17904 North Melbourne Closed
1968 - 1995 Psychiatric Services Trainee Case History Files VPRS 17992 North Melbourne Closed
1986 - 1990 Trainee Case Files: Liaison and Advocacy Unit VPRS 18058 North Melbourne Closed
1987 - 2006 Admission Forms VPRS 17985 North Melbourne Closed
1990 - 1996 Trainee Management Forms and Procedures (Sample Only) VPRS 17948 North Melbourne Open
By 1965 - 1992 Admission and Discharge Register VPRS 4977 North Melbourne Closed
Circa 1986 - Circa 2006 Trainee Record Cards VPRS 17848 North Melbourne Closed
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
1955 - 1993 Youth training centres VF 421
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
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Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1955 - 1961 Children's Welfare Department 1924-1961 (previously known as Department for Neglected Children 1887-1924), Chief Secretary's Department VA 1467
1960 - 1971 Social Welfare Branch, Chief Secretary's Department VA 2784
1971 - 1979 Social Welfare Department VA 946
1979 - 1985 Department of Community Welfare Services VA 613
1985 - 1992 Department of Community Services (also known as Community Services Victoria) VA 2633
1992 - 1993 Department of Health and Community Services VA 3092
Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
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1955 - 1993 Prisons and Youth Training Centres VRG 9