The Northcote Farm School was established at Glenmore, near Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, in 1937. The Farm was established as a result of a bequest by Lady Northcote, an admirer of Kingsley Fairbridge and his Farm School initiative. The Farm School was based on Fairbridge principles.
Although the Northcote Farm was established independently of Fairbridge it soon developed a close relationship with the Fairbridge Society, with the Society agreeing to select and send children from Britain to the farm school.
The Northcote Farm School received 273 child migrants in total, between 1937 and 1958 (Lost Innocents Report, Table 3.2 Numbers of Fairbridge Child Migrants).
A group of 28 children (16 boys and 12 girls, the first girls to be placed at the farm school) arrived on the Largs Bay ship on 17 May 1938, bound for the Northcote Farm at Bacchus Marsh. The Age newspaper reported that many of these children were related to the first group of migrant boys who arrived at Northcote Farm in July 1937.
According to the entry in the Victorian Heritage Database:
'Due to the war, child migration was suspended between 1939 and 1948, and in view of the decline in arrivals, in 1944 all Northcote children, and a number of cottage mothers were sent to the Fairbridge Farm School at Molong. From 1948 until 1958, 17 more groups of children were brought to the Lady Northcote Children's Village. As child migrant numbers were in decline, 'One Parent' and 'Two Parent' schemes were adopted by Northcote in 1959. '
The Northcote School Act was passed in 1960, making it possible for other children, including Victorian wards of state, to be placed at the Home. According to the preamble of the Act:
In the mid 1970s, the Northcote Trustees sold part of the farm school site at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria and gifted the village to the Victorian Government (the terms of this sale were set out in the Northcote Trust Fund Act 1975).
Children were then housed in cottages in a campus setting.
It was a government-run children's Home until it was closed in 1979. Funds were redirected to replacement family group homes and to support other regional family service programs.
In 2008, the Recreation Camp is owned by Sport and Recreation Victoria and continues its association with children and young people.
One of its remaining buildings, House 12, was granted to the 'Old Northcotians', the former residents' society.
In October 2008 the Lady Northcote Recreation Camp was included in Victoria's Heritage Register for its cultural heritage significance. It is the only institution in Victoria to have been constructed specifically for child migrants.
12 February 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000163
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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