Dr Barnardo's Homes (Australia Branch) began in 1883 when eight boys travelled from Dr Barnardo's Stepney Home, London, to Australia. From 1920 to 1965 Barnardos ran an official Immigration Scheme under which many children migrated to Australia. In the post-World War Two period, Barnardo's established family group homes in New South Wales. Its child migration program had ceased by 1964 and the organisation then offered a range of children's and family services. In 1966 the name of the agency changed to Dr Barnardos in Australia.
Dr Barnardo's Homes has been operating since 1883 when a party of eight boys left Dr Barnardo's Stepney Home to start a new life in Australia. Barnardo's 'official' immigration scheme began in 1920, with the first party of 47 boys leaving the United Kingdom for Australia in 1921. The first hostel for the reception of children in New South Wales was a former Red Cross Hospital at Botany Bay. This building was not suitable and a home was eventually purchased in Ashfield. Housing up to 60 boys, this house was used as a place of temporary residence and as a convalescent home.
The first party of girls arrived in 1924. They were allowed to come to Australia on the condition they worked as domestic staff for at least two years after their arrival. Dr Barnardo's was originally located at Scarborough House, Kogarah but in 1924 moved to a mansion called Melrose at Ashfield. That house was renamed Barnardo House. It was a receiving home and served as a home for boys and girls who were on holidays, in between employment or convalescing from illness. By 1937 was referred to as a Training Home and was for girls only.
According to an April 1924 advertisement, from Barnardo House girls were 'drafted into selected good homes for domestic duties.' Boys were 'placed in the country for training in rural pursuits.'
In 1929, the Barnardo's farm training school at Mowbray Park, Picton was opened. The school was initially for boys and girls aged six to fifteen years, but was later used entirely for boys. It closed in 1959, and was replaced by a smaller farm school at Scone on the Upper Hunter River, which trained boys aged fifteen to sixteen years in farming skills. The school took migrant children, and later admitted Australian children. It closed in 1982.
In its first 10 years 1,000 children came to Australia with Dr Barnardo's and by 1938, 2340 children had arrived in Australia. The first children were aged over 14, but by 1937 a number of younger children had been sent to Australia, with the smallest being aged six. Many were aged between 8 and 14, an action The Sydney Morning Herald reported had been taken by Dr Barnardo's to relieve 'congestion' in the boarding out scheme it operated in Britain.
No children arrived during the World War II years (1939-45). In 1944, the first Australian girl was admitted to Barnardo's care. After the war, Barnardos continued to send children to Australia on a diminishing scale. Child migration ceased in 1964.
In 1955, foster care was introduced followed by a Holiday Home Scheme which allowed children in homes to be boarded with families during the school holidays. In 1964, Barnardo's House in Canberra was opened. This was the first residential children's home for permanent care to be opened in the Australian Capital Territory. The Boarding Out Family Grant Scheme was also introduced in 1964 to help widowed or deserted mothers.
The post-war years saw a number of family group homes opened: Greenwood (1951-1968); Tarana at Belmont South (1959-1977); Hartwell House Kiama (1960-1970); Atherstone House Cronulla (1962-1977); Rickard House West Ryde (1962-1982); Illawong at Keiraville (1962-1975); Ladd House and Fairfax House at Normanhurst (1966-1976) and Karingal House, Lindfield (1960-1984).
In 1964, Barnardo's House in Canberra was opened. This was the first residential children's home for permanent care to be opened in the Australian Capital Territory. The Boarding Out Family Grant Scheme was also introduced to help widowed or deserted mothers.
In 1966 Dr Barnardo's Homes (Australia Branch) changed its name to Dr Barnardos in Australia.
Barnardos Australia controls the records of Dr Barnardos Homes and Dr Barnardos in Australia. Some client records are lodged with the State Library of New South Wales (Mitchell Library).
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Dr Barnardo's Homes', The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 June 1931, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16789261; 'Mr. A.W. Green: Cricket President's Death.', The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 1935, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17184543; The history of Barnardo's, Barnardo's UK, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20120923020350/http://www.barnardos.org.uk:80/what_we_do/who_we_are/history.htm; 'Oranges and Sunshine', in Barnardos Australia: We Believe in Children: History, Barnardos Australia, 2013, http://web.archive.org/web/20130430050808/https://www.barnardos.org.au/barnardos/html/oranges_and_sunshine.cfm; 'Child migration', in Barnardos Australia: We Believe in Children: History, Barnardos Australia, c. 2014, http://www.barnardos.org.au/about-us/history/child-migration-program/; 'History', in Barnardos Australia: We Believe in Children, Barnardos Australia, c. 2014, http://www.barnardos.org.au/about-us/history/; Barnardos Australia: We Belive in Children, Barnardos Australia, c.2014, http://www.barnardos.org.au/; 'Barnardos work with local children', in Barnardos Australia: We Believe in Children: History, Barnardos Australia, c.2014, http://www.barnardos.org.au/about-us/history/barnardos-work-with-local-children/; Coldrey, Barry, Good British stock: child and youth migration to Australia, This is a research guide published by the National Archives of Australia. It contains detailed historical information about Australia's immigration policy and child and youth migration to Australia. It also has information about relevant archival records in Australia and overseas relating to child and youth migration., National Archives of Australia, 1999, https://www.naa.gov.au/help-your-research/research-guides/good-british-stock-child-and-youth-migration-australia; Dallen, Robert A, 'Dr Barnardo's Homes. Founder's Day.', 24 June 1937, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17384147; 'Dr Barnardo's Homes NSW Appeal for Funds', The Sydney Morning Herald [Advertisement], 12 April 1924, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16145216; LLS, 'Barnardo House. An Ashfield Mansion.', The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 14 May 1924, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16135986; Matthews, Bernie, Mick's story, Online Opinion, 17 August 2007, http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6235; 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/.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 17 March 2011, Last modified: 12 April 2019