Renwick was formed from the buildings that had been Mittagong Cottage Homes (for state wards) and the Training Home (for convicted boys). The name Renwick honoured Sir Arthur Renwick, the first President of the State Children's Relief Board, who had established the Mittagong Cottage Homes in the late 1880s. Renwick was a complex of cottages, solely for 'dependent children', as state wards were often described as in the 1970s.
Each cottage home had house parents living in with the children. The 9 cottages were:
Many of the children attended the local schools in Mittagong, while the remainder went to school on the premises.
In 1980, the Department's annual report remarked upon the flexibility of the multi-cottage system at Renwick, and that it enabled sibling groups to be kept together. That year, there were a total of 163 boys and girls living at Renwick. By 1984 the average weekly population at Renwick was 65.
Renwick was closed in 1994.
In 2005, plans were announced for subdivision and development on the former site of Renwick, which had been sold by the New South Wales Government. Many former residents and members of the Mittagong community were concerned about the loss of heritage that would result from the destruction of buildings.
The Renwick Association was formed in 2011. Its members include former residents of Renwick and the institutions that preceded it, former workers and house parents, as well as family members and local people who are interested in the history of this institution. Former residents of Mittagong often refer to themselves as 'Govos'. The Renwick Association campaigned for heritage protection of the site after it was sold by the New South Wales government and there were plans to subdivide and redevelop the area, resulting in substantial loss of buildings. The Renwick Association hosts reunions at the site.
In 2014 members of the Mittagong community and former wards were trying to preserve surviving buildings for use as a children's museum and youth centre.
Challoner Cottage was heritage listed in 2014.
26 July 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00431
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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