State Government-run Institutions

The Queensland Government established reformatory schools and detention centres to provide institutional care and confinement for young people deemed to be in the need of ‘correction’. The Department of Child Safety are responsible for the management of these government-run institutions.  

John Oxley Youth Detention Centre

In 1987, the Queensland Government established the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre, situated at 99 Wolston Park Road, Wacol, QLD.  


John Oxley Youth Detention Centre operated as a detention centre for male and female children aged 10 to 17 who had been placed in the care and control of the State of Queensland or children who had been committed to the custody of the State of Queensland. Serious juvenile offenders were also detained at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre, and they shared accommodation with other children who were unruly, difficult or disturbed.  


John Oxley Youth Detention Centre was managed by managerial staff who reported to and were supervised by Queensland government (through its agencies).   


John Oxley Youth Detention Centre closed in 2001 and was replaced by the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.  

History of Abuse at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre

Survivors of abuse at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre have reported that their experiences at the centre have left them traumatised.  


In 1998 to 1999, the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (otherwise known as the Forde Inquiry) heard evidence about allegations of abuse at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre from 37 witnesses. The Forde Inquiry Report provided that the closure of the Westbrook Youth Detention Centre in 1994 resulted in older boys being transferred to John Oxley Youth Detention Centre, and some overcrowding occurred as a consequence. As a result, demountable buildings were constructed to accommodate the extra number of children at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre. The buildings at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre were known as ‘Stradbroke’, ‘Bribie’, ‘Fraser’, ‘Hamilton A’, ‘Hamilton B’, ‘Hamilton C’, ‘the Blaxland wing’, ‘the Lawson wing’, and the ‘Wentworth wing’. The Forde Inquiry report further provided details of several “major disturbances” that occurred at John Oxley Youth Detention Centre (including assaults by staff members against detainees, and assaults between detainees), as well as escapes/attempted escapes from the Centre, and incidents of self-harming behaviour by detainees. The Forde Inquiry Report contained the following summary of conditions at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre at page 170: 

“John Oxley was originally established for a purpose very different from the one it has been required to fulfil in recent years. Its design as an open centre, reflecting family residential models, was unsuitable for the security demands placed on the Centre following the changes in admission policy at Wilson and the closure of Westbrook. A range of problems have resulted, including escapes, major disturbances, and isolated incidences of violence among inmates and between inmates and staff. Furthermore, the Inquiry has found that for many years the numbers, quality and training of many custodial staff, and some managers, did not match the requirements of their work and had consequences in terms of their relationships with and management of residents.” 


We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim in any jurisdiction in Australia, please reach out to the author, Emily Wright, at Littles Lawyers today. 


Further Abuse Law information written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website.  

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