Heighway House was a Methodist Church project that provided hostels for adolescent girls. The first hostel was established in 1960 in Drummoyne and provided accommodation for seven girls aged 15 to 18. It then moved to Duffy Avenue, Thornleigh and became a hostel for 12 working age girls. In 1969 Bailey Cottage, in Coogee, was added to the project and the Thornleigh property was renamed Elsie Cook Cottage. The project ended around 1979.
The Heighway House Project was conducted by the Methodist Church through the Department of Social Responsibility (later known as the Department of Christian Citizenship), and named after Miss Dorothy Heighway, a Methodist deaconess closely involved with the Children's Courts.
In 1960 the Drummoyne facility was opened with support and funding from the Methodist Women's Christian Citizenship Council. The need for larger premises resulted in the sale of the Drummoyne property and the purchase of new premises at 15-17 Duffy Avenue, Thornleigh, in Sydney's north west. The Thornleigh property provided hostel accommodation for 12 working age girls.
In 1969, the Heighway House Project was further extended to premises at 39 Carr Street, Coogee which accommodated nine girls in need of intensive counselling and guidance, the majority being wards of the state. The Coogee cottage was provided by the Youth Welfare Association and was named Bailey Cottage. The oldest of the Hopewood children were placed there.
Following the opening of Bailey Cottage, the Thornleigh house was renamed Elsie Cook Cottage in recognition of Mrs Cook's long service to the Heighway House Project. Elsie Cook Cottage accepted girls who had previously resided at Bailey Cottage, as well as some from Westwood at Bowral who were thought capable of independent living.
The Heighway House Project facilities came under the control of the Uniting Church in New South Wales in 1977 at the time of the union between the Methodist, Congregational and some Presbyterian Churches. Residential programmes for young people were terminated, in favour of programs for adults with mild intellectual disabilities. Reverend Harry Herbert, executive director of UnitingCare NSW/ACT, gives Gordon Trickett, the general secretary of the board for social responsibility for the Uniting Church, credit for this process of deinstitutionalisation.
1960 - 1979? Heighway House Project
c. 1969 - 1977? Elsie Cook Cottage
Sources used to compile this entry: Hanson, Dallas, Why are they in children's homes: report of the ACOSS children's home intake survey, Australian Department of Social Services: Australian Council of Social Services, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1979, 83 pp; Herbert, Harry (Rev), Address to Uniting Church Historical Society, UnitingCare NSW/ACT, n.d. ; 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, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf; Trop, Jack Dunn, A Gift of Love: The Hopewood story, 1971.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 10 March 2011, Last modified: 12 November 2018