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Title: Landscapes of a Juvenile Institution: A Multiscalar Historical Archaeological Study of Point Puer 1834-1849
Contributor(s): D'Gluyas, Caitlin  (author)orcid ; Gibbs, Martin  (supervisor)orcid ; Roberts, David Andrew  (supervisor)orcid ; Tuffin, Richard  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2022-12-13
Copyright Date: 2022
Thesis Restriction Date until: 2025-12-13
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Point Puer, which operated to reform male convicts in the antipodean colony of Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania (lutruwita) between 1834 and 1849, was unusual because its prisoners were entirely juvenile. The well-preserved remains of this institution now form part of Port Arthur Historic Site and this dissertation presents a historical archaeological study of this landscape. Considering its juvenile population, this research examines three proposals about early nineteenth century juvenility and criminal management practices in the Western world. First, that their separate treatment began when juveniles were recognised as different to adults, as both criminals and workers. Second, that a materiality of juveniles is inherently difficult to extract from the archaeological and historical record. Third, that despite the challenges, a method which combines relational ontologies and landscape archaeology in a multiscalar study is a particularly productive means for characterising the juvenile attributes of past places.

Throughout history, our treatment of criminal youth has broadly reflected notions of the place of adolescents in society at that time, as well as conceptualisations of the adults they should become, particularly expectations of their productivity, behaviour and autonomy. The archaeology of juvenile experiences therefore has the potential to contribute to discourses on past and present understandings of the value of defining youthfulness. Yet, juvenility is hard to materially identify and fraught with ambiguity and contradictions that have challenged researchers for decades. Point Puer presents an opportunity to examine the landscapes of a juvenile institution at an important point in time. This dissertation argues that rather than being defined by age, early nineteenth century juvenility was based on perceived characteristics that were fundamentally drawn from their failure to be productive and that understandings of these characteristics shaped the institutions that formed. It is argued here that as conceptualisations of juvenility shifted, so too did the physical reform landscape" Point Puer spans such a period of change and its materiality formed from both its localised colonial context and wider trends and practices. This research also finds that places of juvenile convict reform particularly embody liminality, by working as a mechanism to transform the individual through combinations of education, training and discipline. The material outcomes of reforming and improving juveniles, in the form of institutional landscapes, is not a uniquely Australian or British phenomenon and this dissertation also examines the wider comparative potential of this topic.

Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 430107 Historical archaeology (incl. industrial archaeology)
430302 Australian history
430101 Archaeological science
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130402 Conserving collections and movable cultural heritage
130703 Understanding Australia’s past
280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Description: Please contact if you require access to this thesis for the purpose of research or study.
Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Doctoral

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