The ragged school movement in New South Wales, 1860-1924
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 01:29 by Christopher Raymond Murray
Ragged schools were private philanthropic institutions which were established to counter the growing problem of destitute and neglected children in the nineteenth century. They were non-denominational in character, although essentially Protestant, their work being firmly based on the teachings of the Bible. ... Their establishment in New South Wales was due primarily to the combined influence of the pattern of ragged school movements in England and Scotland in the first half of the nineteenth century, as well as the social and economic dislocation caused by the gold rushes of the 1850's. ... Ragged schools first emerged in Sydney in 1860 and the movement lasted until 1924. Their work was limited to the inner city areas of Sydney. However, their extensive history provides a means of analysing the changing philanthropic responses to the care and education of neglected and destitute children during the latter half of the nineteenth, and early part of the twentieth centuries. In the early years of the Sydney Ragged Schools (1860-1867), their work displayed a social reformist approach, which put the schools and their supporters to the forefront of efforts to help these types of children. In the years of consolidation and expansion (1868-1889), there developed a strong emphasis on evangelism as the chief means of reclaiming these children, so that the schools became little more than missionary agencies. Finally, their latter years (1890-1924), influenced by the physical suffering of the depression, there was a return, in part, to the social concerns of earlier years.