Church of England Children's Homes was established in 1927. It was previously known as Church of England Orphanage. It was run by a private committee. In the 1980s the organisation changed its name to the Weldon Centre.
Church of England Children's Homes had their beginnings in 1893 with work carried out by the Community of the Sisters of the Church of England in a rented cottage in Burwood in Sydney's inner west that was named 'Church of England Orphanage'. In 1927 the Homes were incorporated under the Companies Act, with limited liability, and changed name to Church of England Children's Homes, Burwood. The Sisters of the Church of England were not associated with the Home after this time.
The Church of England Orphanage Boys' Home was renamed Wyatt Lodge and the Church of England Orphanage Girls' Home was renamed Weldon Lodge.
Church of England Children's Homes were not run directly by the Anglican Church, but by a committee of people from Burwood and surrounding suburbs. The President of the Committee of the Homes from 1922 to his death in 1935 was AW Green, who had been president of the State Children's Relief Department and was also involved with Dr Barnardo's Homes and the Mason's children's homes.
Other Board members included Mrs Stone-Wigg, the widow of the founder of the committee for the Church of England Orphanage and Mrs EC Smithers, whose husband was an inspector with the Aborigines Welfare Board and who arranged places for some Aboriginal children in the home, with the consent of parents. The history of this home shows how interconnected children's welfare institutions could be.
In 1939, in order to honour the founder of the Homes, the late Bishop Stone-Wigg, and to distinguish them from other Church of England homes in Sydney (those run by Church of England Homes), the words 'Bishop Stone-Wigg Memorial' were added to the title. A new complex, the Katie Julia Thompson Memorial Home was opened in May 1968. Reflecting a change in attitudes towards child care, the home evolved into a family group home in the late 1970s.
From around 1980 this home was known as the Weldon Centre. Wyatt Lodge was converted to a residential care unit in the early 1980s. The Weldon Centre closed in 1993.
In 2012 the Weldon Centre was operating Before, After and Vacation Care Programs, a Helping Early Leaver's Program, a Family Support Program, a Youth Development Officer and Occasional Care.
In 2012 a former youth worker at the Weldon Centre contacted the NSW State-Based Historian to donate a collection of 100 photographs, taken in 1981. These colour snapshots, which feature excursions and events within the home, have the names of children and workers written on the back. They have been deposited with the National Orphanage Museum (Care Leavers Australia Network).
Please note, Anglicare does not hold the records of the Church of England Children's Homes, Burwood. These are held by the Weldon Centre.
1893 - 1927 Church of England Orphanage
1927 - 1993 Church of England Children's Homes, Burwood
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual Report of the Church of England Children's Homes, Burwood, Shipping Newspapers, Sydney, 1916-1967; Annual report of the Council of the Church of England Children's Home Burwood., The Home: Church of England Children's Home (Burwood, N.S.W.). Council., Burwood, 1927-1967. Also available at http://library.sl.nsw.gov.au/record=b1162177~S2; 'Where children receive their natural heritage', The Australian Women's Weekly, 2 September 1933, p. 5, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48074745; 'Mr. A.W. Green: Cricket President's Death.', The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 1935, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17184543; Langmore, Diane, 'Stone-Wigg, Montagu John (1861-1918)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Melbourne University Press, 1990, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ardill-george-edward-5048; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp, http://hdl.handle.net/1959.4/40786; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, https://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 4 March 2011, Last modified: 28 November 2014