Following the closure of Cockatoo Island’s penal settlement in 1869, the island was renamed ‘Biloela’ to address the perceived stigma associated with the former prison. This name was given to the Island in 1870 by Reverend William Ridley, a student of an Aboriginal language, in response to a request from the Governor for a suitable name. The prison buildings were subsequently repurposed for the Biloela Public Industrial School for Girls and The Biloela Reformatory, which operated at the island from 1871 to 1990. These institutions were set up to deal with orphans and young offenders but were badly mismanaged. Cockatoo Island was referred to as Biloela until 1913.
Image courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales