The Iandra Methodist Rural Centre was at Iandra Castle at Greenthorpe, near Cowra. It was a training farm for boys aged 15 to 18 years who were first offenders and opened in 1956. In the first five years, over 50 young men lived there. Iandra was run by the Methodist Church's Department of Christian Citizenship from Sydney. It closed in 1974.
Iandra Methodist Rural Centre was established on the Iandra estate, using a concrete 'castle' that had been built over the top of an earlier brick homestead building in 1908. This 57-room Edwardian castle was the centrepiece of GH Greene's pastoral estate, and the 60 share farms and agricultural businesses that grew up around it were the basis for the development of the village of Greenethorpe. Greene died in 1911 and the property passed through the l'Anson family before it was bought by the Methodist Church in the 1950s and converted to a home for 'delinquent boys'.
The object of Iandra was to provide a home and mixed farm training for boys aged fifteen to eighteen years, who were from underprivileged homes or who had appeared before the Children's Court for whatever reason. The site used by the Church was 800 acres and it was run as a dairy and poultry farm and supervised by a committee of Methodist locals.
Reverend Harry Herbert, of UnitingCare ACT/NSW has acknowledged the high levels of institutionalisation and the unsatisfactory and sometimes abusive treatment of children at Iandra and other homes run by the Methodist Department of Christian Citizenship. Herbert credits Gordon Trickett, the head of the Methodist Department of Christian Citizenship, with overcoming the dehumanising institutionalisation of Methodist Homes. Trickett closed Iandra in 1974. Residents were transferred to Sydney to the new Iandra Lodge in Burwood, but that too was closed by Trickett, then the head of the Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility, in the late 1970s.
Iandra Castle was sold to private owners in the 1970s and has been restored. It is officially called Mt Oriel Homestead and Pastoral Estate and is listed on the State Heritage Register because of its grand Federation Romanesque style, its unique concrete construction and outstanding gardens, outbuildings and grounds. The owners hold regular open days.
1956 - 1974 Iandra Methodist Rural Centre
1975 - c. 1979 Iandra Lodge
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Iandra Homestead Pastoral Estate', in State Heritage Register, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2005, https://www.hms.heritage.nsw.gov.au/App/Item/ViewItem?itemId=5051843; Herbert, Harry (Rev), Address to Uniting Church Historical Society, UnitingCare NSW/ACT, n.d. ; Stubbs, Ben, 'Wonder of the wheat belt', The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 2010, https://web.archive.org/web/20121107101205/http://www.smh.com.au/travel/wonder-of-the-wheat-belt-20101022-16wyg.html; 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://insideblog.nma.gov.au/2011/02/11/connecting-kin/; 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