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The Queanbeyan Age, New South Wales, 30 September 1886, p.2
Birching Juvenile Offenders
The operation of birching -- in other words, the whipping of offenders against decency under 21 years of age -- which took place at Pentridge on Wednesday, is (the Argus states) a punishment that, although familiar to the law, has been almost unknown in practice in Victoria.
Only two delinquents have undergone this punishment, and both of them were convicted at Ballarat. In each case the birch, instead of the "cat," was used, because the culprits were under 21 years of age, but the birch is not alluded to in any Act of Parliament. It is an invention for the cure of the worst larrikins, for which the governor of the Pentridge penal establishment takes all the credit, and he is proud of its efficacy in carrying out the sentence of the Court when it orders that an offender shall be "privately whipped" on the lower part of the back during the currency of his term of imprisonment. The higher courts are empowered to inflict flogging for robbery under arms and offences against decency of two kinds, while justices of the peace are only authorised by the clause in question to order the corporal chastisement of one class of offenders who may be summarily convicted. The youth birched on Wednesday was Alexander Fraser, a labourer, aged 19, who was sentenced by the chairman of petty sessions, Ballarat East, to receive 25 strokes in addition to three months' imprisonment, which commenced on the 19th ult. He was sent to Pentridge because the Ballarat Jail has no triangles or whipping-post, and also in order that the common hangman, who acts as flagellator, might avoid a journey to Ballarat.
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