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Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility


The Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility is an agency of the Uniting Church in Australia. It runs welfare programmes, including children’s programmes. When the Uniting Church was created in 1977 from Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist parishes the Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility assumed responsibility for children’s homes that had been run by the churches, including Iandra Lodge, Heighway House, Burnside, Tahmoor, Westwood and St Andrew’s Leppington.

Reverend Harry Herbert, the Executive Director of UnitingCare NSW/ACT, has said that the level of institutionalisation at Westwood was ‘shocking’, with up to 90 girls and women being housed there by 1968. Gordon Trickett, the former head of the Methodist Department of Christian Citizenship and the head of the newly created Board of Social Responsibility of the Uniting Church, was opposed to the dehumanising institutionalisation of the sick, aged, disabled and incarcerated. He closed Westwood, Tahmoor, Iandra and Heighway House in the late 1970s.

Reverend Herbert says these closures, and the closure of the ‘unsuitable model’ at St Andrew’s Leppington, were ‘a necessary course of action’, and that, since the Senate Enquiry into the Forgotten Australians he has personality dealt with cases from all these homes, including sexual assault.

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