eCite Digital Repository

Idealists, Pragmatists and ‘Simple-Minded’ Scamps: The Tasmanian Mental Deficiency Board and State ‘Care’ in the 1920s


Evans, C, Idealists, Pragmatists and Simple-Minded' Scamps: The Tasmanian Mental Deficiency Board and State Care' in the 1920s, Australian Historical Studies, 48, (2) pp. 264-279. ISSN 1031-461X (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/1031461X.2017.1279195


This article uses case files to trace the negotiations that took place in the early 1920s between officials at the Tasmanian Children of the State Department and the Mental Deficiency Board about the training and employment as farm labourers of sixteen boys in state care who were diagnosed as ‘feeble-minded’. It explores the ways in which the boys attempted to improve their work conditions through negotiation and protest, finding that the Department supported them against the Board over the need for fair treatment and wages. Australian studies of children’s protest while in state care have concentrated on girls and do not address intellectual disability or the agency of officials. This investigation addresses that historiographical gap.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:negotiating, idealists, pragmatists, Tasmania, Mental Deficiency Board
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Evans, C (Dr Caroline Evans)
ID Code:121990
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-10-25
Last Modified:2017-11-13

Repository Staff Only: item control page