|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Aboriginal name, Langi Kal Kal, means resting place for the singing cicada. In 1838 the property was a 70,000-acre property with a substantial farmhouse built around 1900. The property was officially named in 1940. After World War 2, the land was subdivided and the central area, including the farmhouse, was set aside for prison purposes. Specifically, in 1948 the Penal Department bought the homestead and 5,000 acres for a Training Centre at a cost of 63,000 pounds. Chief Secretary Galvin said:
'The sheep station at Langi Kal Kal is to be transformed into a model school for vocation, academic and cultural training of youths committed there. There is no thought of turning the farm into a profit making venture.'
Nomination of Langi Kal Kal as a Penal Purpose Reserve occurred on 17 May 1950. The institution known as the Langi Kal Kal Training Centre was established as a reformatory prison for male persons under the provisions of the Crimes Act 1928 as to indeterminate sentences by Order of the Governor in Council under section 523 of that Act. The Order was published in the Government Gazette of 31 May 1950. By regulation under the Children's Court Act 1928, published in the Government Gazette of 4 April 1951, the institution was prescribed as a place to which children could be committed by a Children's Court under section 28 (1) (g) of the Act. By virtue of these provisions, Langi Kal Kal was available for the detention of two classes of male prisoner:
- Those apparently of the age of seventeen years or upwards who, upon conviction for an offence, were directed by a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chairman of the Court of General Sessions, pursuant to either section 515 or section 516 of the Crimes Act, to be detained during the Governor's pleasure in a reformatory prison; and
- Those above the age of fifteen years and under the age of seventeen years against whom certain indictable offences had been found by a Children's Court to be proved and who had been ordered by the Court to be committed to Langi Kal Kal either for a fixed term of not more than twelve months or for such a fixed term together with a direction that, on the expiration of the term, they should be further detained there during the Governor's pleasure.
The first prisoners arrived in September 1950 from Castlemaine, and the prison was officially opened on 22 February 1951. At the official opening, the Chief Secretary Mr Dodgshun stated that 'I want this to be regarded as a youth training centre, and not a prison'.
Located on a 1080 hectare property near Ballarat, the facility housed offenders between the ages of 17 and 21 who had received sentences in the adult courts, but whose offences and age were thought insufficiently serious to warrant detainment at an adult prison such as Pentridge. Offences fell largely into the category of crimes against property - burglaries, theft of motor vehicles, shop lifting and so on. In addition, Langi Kal Kal provided for the detention of the younger second class of prisoner described above.
The Penal Reform Act 1956 abolished the system of indeterminate sentences and the machinery necessary for the administration of that system. Such places as were set apart as reformatory prisons ceased to be reformatory prisons and became gaols within the meaning of the Gaols Act 1928. All sentences of imprisonment (including those of Children's Courts) were to be for specified terms. Under the new legislation, Langi Kal Kal would become a gaol.
Langi Kal Kal housed between 50 and 120 offenders at any one time over its 40 plus years history. They were variously trained in educational programs focussing on literacy, oracy, and numeracy extension courses, a trades section, community projects, and farming projects involving agricultural and farming produce. In its operation as a general purpose farm on its 2700 acre property, Langi Kal Kal supplied farm products to other Departmental institutions.
Youths were placed into different sections depending upon their age, whether they were Wards, the nature and seriousness of the offence(s) they committed, and whether they had a history of absconding. Although this basic structure was sustained throughout the life of the institution, the centre changed to reflect shifting thought on reform of youth offenders, beginning with the transfer of Langi Kal Kal from the Prisons Department to the Youth Welfare Division of the Social Welfare Branch, Chief Secretary's Department, in 1965. Langi Kal Kal changed from being a prison to become a youth training centre.
Rehabilitation enjoyed its greatest educational support in the 1950s, aiming to teach new skills and behaviours, particularly basic numeracy, literacy and work skills. Such programs were seen to be appropriate preparation for jobs at the lower end of the work market. The first teacher was appointed in 1958 (School No. 4758). By the 1970s, moves were underfoot to replace rehabilitation with reintegration, which sought to equip youth offenders for the move into the community. According to a promotional brochure published by the Department of Community Services, the training program at Langi Kal Kal aims to promote the types of attitudes and relationships which will help trainees to mature and to develop socially while at the same time giving them a sense of personal achievement. Trainees could earn a set amount of money each week, some of which could be spent on canteen. The rest of the money was kept until the trainee was discharged.
By 1991 there was concern expressed from within and beyond the Department that Youth Training Centre facilities fell well below international standards. The Department of Community Services' 1991 Annual Report concluded that while access of young offenders to mainstream services for education, self-development and accommodation are being improved, pressing demands for capital investments remain. As youth supervision and attendance orders were issued increasingly in preference to custodial sentences, Langi Kal Kal was prepared for closure in March 1993.
The Department of Community Services announced the closure of Langi Kal Kal in December 1992. When the Langi Kal Kal Youth Training Centre was closed in March 1993, Malmsbury became Victoria's main Youth Training Centre for 17 to 20 year old offenders. There were about 40 trainees at the Centre when its closure was announced and they were progressively released on parole or remissions. Approximately 5500 trainees passed through the Centre during its history.
Langi Kal Kal became an adult prison in June 1993.