Mowbray Park was a farm training school for child and youth migrants run by Dr Barnardo's Homes (Australia Branch) at Picton. The school was initially for boys and girls aged six to fifteen years, but was later used only for boys. Around 200 children could be accommodated within the 6 cottages that were built at Mowbray Park. It closed in 1959, and was replaced by a smaller farm school at Scone on the Upper Hunter River.
Mowbray Park had been the country home of Sir Frederick and Lady Waley and was used by the Red Cross Society during World War II before being purchased for a Barnardo's Home in 1928. The home was organised by AW Green, who was a committee member of Dr Barnardo's Homes and had been the last president of the State Children's Relief Department. Green was also president of the Church of England Children's Homes and was involved with the Masonic Welfare Hostel at Lewisham and the Masonic School at Baulkham Hills.
The Home was officially opened in November 1929 by the Governor of New South Wales, though 41 boys from England had already been in residence for some time.
When Mowbray Park opened children split their time between the school built on the property, and practical work, learning farm skills if boys or domestic service if girls. Later on children attended a larger central school in a nearby town.
Some time in the 1930s the home was named Harry Cuzens House, in memory of a previous treasurer of Dr Barnardo's who had served as an honorary inspector.
The Home was for children under the age of 16. Once boys reached the age of 16 they became farm trainees for six months and then were placed out as labourers on farms. Girls were transferred to Dr Barnardos Girls' Home, Burwood once they reached the post-primary standard in education at the local state school. In 1931 Mowbray Park held 75 boys under the age of 15. While in 1938, 32 young girls were in residence.
Until Mowbray Park closed, reunions were held every year at farm school for people who had lived in Barnardos' Homes as children.
Mowbray Park closed in 1959, and was sold by Dr Barnardos Homes (Australia branch) in 1960. In 2012 Mowbray Park was in private ownership and was being used as a farm stay accommodation venue.
1929 - 1959 Mowbray Park
c. 1959 - 1982 Scone Farm School
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Barnardo Boys - Training Home Opened', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 16 November 1929, p. 21, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16602373; '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; 'New Training Home at Burwood - Barnardo Metropolitan Centre', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 29 June 1939, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17609955; 'Child migration', in Barnardos Australia: We Believe in Children: History, Barnardos Australia, c. 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20210411042005/https://www.barnardos.org.au/about-us/history/child-migration-program/; 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; Immigration Museum, Stolen childhoods, Museum Victoria, 2011-2012, https://museumsvictoria.com.au/article/stolen-childhoods/; Remmer, Clifford, Nardy Old Boys & Girls Reunion Club, The Remmers, 2005, http://www.nardyaustralia.com/; 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; Wallace, Natasha, 'Weekend Away Picton: Back to basics, kids', Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20121117035802/http://www.smh.com.au:80/travel/holiday-type/weekends-away/back-to-basics-kids-20121018-27smd.html.
Prepared by: Melissa Downing, Naomi Parry and Nicola Laurent
Created: 17 March 2011, Last modified: 25 October 2017