In 2012 Find and Connect staff were advised by the United Grand Lodge of the Masons NSW/ACT that all records relating to the Masonic Orphan Schools, William Thompson Masonic School and related institutions Orana, Boronia and Wybalenna were destroyed by accident in 2002, during construction works.
The Masonic Orphan School was the brainchild of William Thompson who was the Liberal Party member for Ryde from 1913-20, and Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons from 1914-24. Thompson's aim was to establish cottage homes for orphans. Land was purchased at Baulkham Hills in 1921 and the first stage of what was originally known as 'The Masonic Orphan Schools' was opened on 11 November 1922. The opening of the institution drew such a crowd of Masons that it was reported in Tasmania's The Mercury;
'There was a long procession of Masons in regalia on Saturday at the opening of the Masonic School for Orphans at Baulkham Hills. It was estimated that 10,000 Masons and friends attended the ceremony.
Most Worshipful Brother William Thompson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, announced that Mr RS Cropley, a successful Sydney businessman and his wife had decided to give their services in superintending the school, which when completed would accommodate 100 boys and girls.
The institution is being financed by voluntary contributions from Masons in New South Wales and is modelled on the latest principles for the welfare of children. The school has a commanding position on the hills, and has 150 acres of land. Mr Cropley, who is a member of Cropley's Ltd, boot merchants, is giving up a lucrative business to devote his time to the welfare of orphans.'
In recognition of Thompson's leadership and service to the project, the school was renamed 'William Thompson Masonic Schools'. Please see the entry on William Thompson Masonic Schools for more information.
We do not currently have any photographs linked to this entry. If you know of any additional photographs, please contact us.
The Find & Connect Support Service can help people who lived in orphanages and children's institutions look for their records.
09 November 2021
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00398
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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