The Department of Christian Citizenship was an agency of the Methodist Church and replaced the Department of Social Services in 1965. It auspiced Westwood, a residential education centre at Bowral, and ran Iandra Methodist Rural Centre, St Andrews at Leppington and the Heighway House Project. When the Uniting Church formed in 1977 the Department of Christian Citizenship was replaced by the Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility, which took over the management of Methodist homes.
Reverend Harry Herbert, the Executive Director of UnitingCare NSW/ACT, has said that the level of institutionalisation in Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist children's homes was too high, and particularly shocking at Westwood, where up to 90 girls and women were housed in 1968.
Gordon Trickett was head of the Department of Christian Citizenship in the 1970s and moved on to be head of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Uniting Church when the Uniting Church was created. He was opposed to the dehumanising institutionalisation of the sick, aged, disabled and incarcerated. He closed Westwood, Tahmoor, Iandra and Heighway House during the 1970s.
Reverend Herbert says these closures, and the closure of the 'unsuitable model' at St Andrew's Leppington, were 'a necessary course of action', and that, since the Senate Enquiry into the Forgotten Australians he has personality dealt with cases from all these homes, including sexual assault.
c. 1943 - 1965 Methodist Department of Social Services
1965 - 1977 Methodist Department of Christian Citizenship
1977 - Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility
Sources used to compile this entry: 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; Trickett, Graeme, 'Great Depression shaped life devoted to social justice: Gordon Trickett 1925-2011', The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 January 2011, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/great-depression-shaped-life-devoted-to-social-justice-20110130-1a9kf.html.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 16 March 2011, Last modified: 30 August 2013