Colonial education: progression from cottage industry roots

John F. Bourke, Rosemary Lucadou-Wells

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper considers the establishment of schooling and education in the British penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land from 1803 to 1825. Van Diemen’s Land was settled by the British in 1803 as a penal colony, and was re-named Tasmania in 1853. It is the island state of the Commonwealth of Australia. Education was initiated by the British Lieutenant Governors in Van Diemen’s Land as a means of transforming the violent community of colonial opportunists, entrepreneurs, convicts and soldiers. The paper takes a contextual and socio-legal perspective of the case of James Thomson v George Carr Clark, heard in the Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s Land, Term 1, 1825.1 This case reveals that the settlers held a belief in the importance of education and affirms the personal and moral standards the Van Diemen’s Land community required of teachers. The way the British educational experience was adapted to fit the needs of the penal colony in its first twenty years provides a fascinating insight into the origins of education in Australia. Interestingly, in the fullness of time, in 1868, Tasmania’s Education Act was enacted, and Tasmania became the first Australian colony to have compulsory, state-funded education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)161-180
    Number of pages20
    JournalMacquarie journal of business law
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher version archived with the permission of the Dean, Division of Law, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.


    Dive into the research topics of 'Colonial education: progression from cottage industry roots'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this