The State Library of New South Wales has a collection of photographs of children who were in Raith Lark Hill Hostel in 1978.
Raith Lark Hill Hostel was established in a 16 bedroom house built for HJM Merewether and his wife, Wilhelmina Gore. The house dates from 1903 and was sited on Appin Road. The area, now known as Bradbury, was later subdivided to form French Street, which the property now faces onto.
The Child Welfare Department bought Raith in 1963 from Lend Lease. An advertisement for its sale in The Sydney Morning Herald described it as a fine residence that presented opportunities for conversion to an exclusive club, restaurant, hospital or convalescent villa. It was in a secluded position, amidst landscaped grounds, and boasted 20 rooms including a dining room, guest lounge, two modern kitchens and 158 feet of covered verandahs, plus a two-bedroom staff apartment.
The 1965 Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department described the opening of Lark Hill:
'Lark Hill. A recently built single storey private cottage at Campbelltown was purchased and adapted for the needs of 12 pre-school children and is proving most successful. ... The first children were admitted on 10th September, 1964, and to date, approximately 50 per cent of children admitted have been placed in foster homes or restored to their own parents.'
'Raith' was a cottage on the same site as the original Lark Hill, opened in 1966, which, as that year's Annual Report claimed, was meant to 'provide for whole family groups thus avoiding the need for separation of brothers and sisters'.
Raith Lark Hill was described in the 1977 Annual Report of the Youth and Community Services Department as a short-term home for children 'of normal development suitable for early placement in the community'. It was associated, by the 1970s, with other cottages which housed pre-school children of similar ages at Guildford (McCredie Cottage) and Baulkham Hills (Thornbury Lodge). There was a married couple in charge in each of the two cottages, under the supervision of a Manager who worked from the Lark Hill cottage. The complex was closed down in the 1990s.
In January 2013, according The Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser, the property was severely damaged by fire. It was still owned by the New South Wales Department of Community Services.
04 June 2020
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00420
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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