Ormond House was originally intended to replace the Girls Training School at Parramatta. The Child Welfare Department's 1960 Annual Report described extensive plans that were developed in the post-war period for the Ormond House site:
'In 1945 a plan was drawn up to develop a new institution to replace the girls' training school, Parramatta. The plan provided for a refractory block, a privilege section, cottages for the segregation of young from older detainees, an admission block and a hospital for venereal disease cases. The plan was not implemented however, except for the privilege establishment, which was duly built, named Thornleigh, and passed into the Department's service in 1946. The original plan was inspired by large wartime populations at Parramatta, a difficult type of girl and a high incidence of venereal disease; the facilities envisaged for the treatment of this disease were very extensive. The widespread use of antibiotics in VD treatment after the war, however, cancelled the need for such elaborate facilities. Smaller populations at Parramatta permitted the Department to concentrate on other more urgent accommodation needs.'
As the feared wartime outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases did not eventuate, the Child Welfare Department made Ormond an annexe to the Parramatta Girls Home. Girls who were defined as 'better' behaved could be segregated from those seen as bad influences.
Ormond was opened on 8 October 1946. It provided two cottage like facilities which could accommodate up to 28 girls who had 'proven their ability to conform to the discipline of socially acceptable patterns of behaviour'. It was an 'open' institution devoid of the usual prison like constraints and was managed by a Matron. The programme emphasised cultural pursuits. The maximum length of stay was set at three months but, as was the case at Parramatta, was determined by the Superintendent.
A 16mm colour film held by the State Library of New South Wales, Towards a Clearer Sky, was made in 1959 by the Child Welfare Department to promote Ormond. It shows scenes throughout the Ormond school and promotes the institution by telling the story of 'Valerie', a girl transferred to the school, showing her learning to sew, cook, clean, and work outside the home. She is played by an actor.
26 July 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE01062
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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