Defined Terms

'Parent Punishing a Child in the Home' Philosophy
Judicial Corporal Punishment of minors chronicled in four Australian newspaper articles all published in May 1956  -  Newspaper Articles all published in May 1956

Refers to an act by a parent or other legal guardian causing deliberate physical pain or discomfort to their minor child in response to some undesired/unaccepted behavior by their child. This typically has taken the form of spanking or slapping the child with an open hand or striking with an implement such as a belt, slipper, cane, hairbrush or paddle.

A parent punishes their child for a naughty transgression away from accepted child behaviour with a few smacks of the wrong end of a feather duster has existed from time immemorial.  To the offending child, the punishment is swiftly administered, frightening and temporarily painful.  Once punishment had been dispensed, rehabilitation back to a normal parent/child relationship rapidly follows.

The model has universally prevailed for hundreds if not thousands of years amongst communities under the belief off spare the rod and spoil the child.

The 'Parent Punishing a Child in the Home' Model has previously been adopted as Judicial Corporal Punishment for juveniles as chronicled in the below four Newspaper Articles all published in May 1956 - 62 years ago:

Vicious juveniles 'should be caned' -  The News, Adelaide, 18 May 1956

Caning of vicious juvenile delinquents was warranted, the Children's Welfare Department senior probation officer, Miss M.J. Curtis, said today.  She said it could be effective both with the offender and the parents.

Today teenagers and a few younger children were doing malicious damage to private property, including motor vehicles.

Moral standards were at an extremely low level.

Many parents considered their own pleasures and interests, completely ignoring the child's need and right for spiritual and moral training and example.

Type of child

These parents so often considered their job done when the children were sent to school to receive religious instruction.

"So long as these conditions last we will have vicious delinquents," Miss Curtis said.

"In my opinion only this type of child should receive corporal punishment, but only when medical opinion is given that the offender is physically able to take it."

Press cutting

"Old-Fashioned Remedy": S.M. - Boys Get The Cane  -  Truth, Adelaide, 19 May 1956

"THE old-fashioned remedy for irresponsible vandalism was a good sound whipping," Mr. Scales said in Adelaide Juvenile Court the other day.

He ordered eight strokes of the cane to each of two youths charged with wilful damage.

The boys had admitted damaging, with shots from .22 rifles, the following: 31 panes of glass, 1 Tank, 1 milk can, 1 windmill tail fin, 1 copper flue, 3 petrol cans, and 1 oil drum.


Prosecuting, Mr. G.H. Huffa told the court the offence had been committed in and around an uninhabited farm near Murray Bridge on Easter weekend.

The boys had admitted to police firing about 250 shots around the farmhouse and a barn.

Mr. Huffa said the boys had reported to the Murray Bridge police that the damage had already been done when they had first arrived there in an effort to avoid blame on themselves.

The farmhouse had been broken into and an antique clock damaged. The glass dome which covered it had been smashed with a bullet.


The 31 panes of glass had been smashed on the side of the barn, Mr. Huffa continued.

When questioned by police, the boys had admitted the damage, as stated in the charge, amounting to about 60.

Further damage amounting to about 20 had been denied by the youths and they were not charged with it.

"When interviewed by police, one of the boys said: 'It was just one of those things'," Mr. Huffa added.

"Rainy Day"

Mr. C.W. Reeves (for the boys) told the court there was no reasonable explanation for the offence.

"It was a rainy day and there was no rabbit shooting," he said.

The old-fashioned remedy for irresponsible vandalism was a good sound whipping," Mr. Scales replied.

He adjourned the case for a week so that the boys could each be given eight strokes of the cane.

Press cutting


Cane urged for young offenders  -  Truth, Sydney, 20 May 1956

Congratulations to the South Australia magistrate who recently ordered canings for two 16-years-old youths for illegally using cars.

I understand their fathers gave them six strokes across the bare buttocks in the presence of a policeman.

Why could not a similar method be adopted in N.S.W. for juvenile offenders?

Magistrates should have power to order canings (not brutal whippings or birchings, which only embitter), for offenders under 18 -- both girls and boys.

These could be administered by a police officer or policewoman immediately after court proceedings, and offender then released in the custody of his or her parents.

The humiliation of a caning on the bare buttocks would be an added punishment and it would leave nothing to boast about.

What about it, Attorney-General?



Youths whipped - Truth, Adelaide, 22 May 1956

Parents Give Eight Strokes

TWO youths were each given eight strokes of the cane in their homes this week under police supervision.

The caning had been ordered by Mr. Scales S.M. after the youths had pleaded guilty in the Adelaide Juvenile Court last week to irresponsible vandalism with a rifle at a farm near Murray Bridge recently.

The instrument of punishment was a stout four-foot cane borrowed from the Adelaide police barracks, because, according to a police officer, "all schools are closed for the holidays."

Police officer appointed by Mr. Scales to supervise the whippings, C.I.B. veteran Det.-Sgt. Bob Huie, arrived in a police car at 7.20 p.m. outside the western suburbs home of the stepfather of one of the youths, aged 17.

The youth, who has allegedly refused to live with his stepfather since his mother remarried, had arrived alone in a taxi at 7.10 p.m.

The youth, big shouldered and tall for his age, entered the home unsmiling and spoke briefly to his weeping mother and his stocky stepfather.

When Det. Huie told the youth to bend over a bed, the youth's mother ran sobbing from the room.

Closely watched by the detective, the stepfather raised the cane then brought it down with a crack that could be heard in the street.

The youth winced with pain, but made no sound as the cane lashed across his buttocks eight times with a one second interval between each blow.

After the thrashing Det. Huie examined the youth for injuries.

Later, in conversation with Det. Huie, the youth assured the detective that he would "never do anything to lead him into the same position again."

At 8.p.m. Det. Huie left for the home of the second youth, aged 15, where he arrived with his cane at 8.10.

"Hasn't Eaten"

Earlier the boy's mother told Truth: "He hasn't eaten a thing all day thinking of what is to come."

This youth, smaller and slighter than his companion, received his punishment bending over a lounge in a home in the shadow of a huge industrial undertaking.

As in the first case this boy's mother also refused to witness the thrashing and left the room.

After the boy had been caned by his father, who, Det. Huie said, "knew his job," he then told the detective: "This is the first and last time this will ever happen to me."

Det. Huie later told Truth: "It will hurt these boys to sit down for a time, but I am really confident they will not come before the courts again."

Mr. Scales was furnished with a report by Det. Huie on the whippings.

Heard Report

FOOTNOTE: Two quiet and restrained youths appeared before Mr. Scales the following morning with their hair well brushed and their ties as straight as the narrow path.

After he had listened to Det. Huie's report of the thrashing in chambers, Mr. Scales emerged to tell the youths, one of whom was accompanied by his mother and the other by both parents, that as far as he was concerned he was satisfied with the police officer's report.

"It seems to me you have learned your lesson," added Mr. Scales, to which both youths replied in unison: "Yes, sir!"

The magistrate then dismissed the case against both boys.

Cop arriving with cane