The Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children was established in October 1887. The Society was founded by George Edward Ardill who was later to found the Sydney Rescue Work Society. It ran babies and children's homes. In the 1970s the Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children converted its children's homes to child care centres, most of which are still operating in 2013.
The lines between the Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children and the Sydney Rescue Work Society were frequently blurred, making it hard to tell at times exactly which organisation is managing a home. They were non-denominational, but distinctly Christian in character, and founded on the principles and teaching of the New Testament. The Society was created by Ardill because, according to his annual reports:
There are young children, waifs and strays, without friends to sustain or direct them, and who, from the helplessness, sickness, imprisonment or desertion of their parents are practically homeless, destitute and neglected. Others are companions of thieves and prostitutes.
The Society's first home was established in 1887 when Mr Frederick Kingston Olliver donated a house and land at Liverpool for use as a home for orphaned or neglected children. This became Our Children's Home. The Society also operated a home at Camden, south west of Sydney, which was donated by Walter H. Paling, of Paling's Music Store, for use as Our Boys' Home. In the 1890s Ardill established crèches in Macquarie Street in Sydney, and in 1892 he founded Our Babies Home, which had premises in Enmore, before moving to Newtown and then Camperdown. A property at Rockdale was purchased in 1904, becoming Rockdale Babies Home.
In 1936 the property at Liverpool was sold and a property was acquired at 132 Davidson Avenue, North Strathfield (Concord), which was named Ardill House. Confusingly, this institution was also called Our Children's Home Concord. In 1945 the Camden property was also sold. Ardill died that year and his son George Edward Junior became executive director of the society until his death in 1964.
As society changed in the 1960s and 1970s the numbers of children in out of home care declined. In the mid-1970s the Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children and the Sydney Rescue Work Society decided to stop providing residential care for children. Its premises were converted to long day care, preschool and family day care services.
In 2000 the Sydney Rescue Work Society changed its name to Communicare and in 2011 to Integricare. The Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children remains separate and operates Integricare Ardill House, North Strathfield.
Sources used to compile this entry: Integricare History, Integricare, Burwood, 2012, 4 pp; Radi, Heather, ''Ardill, George Edward (1857-1945)'', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Melbourne University Press, 1979, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ardill-george-edward-5048; 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; Thornton, Bruce, George Edward Ardill and the Sydney Rescue Work Society (now Communicare Sydney) [also titled "Haste to the Rescue"], Baptist Historical Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008, 118 pp.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 21 March 2011, Last modified: 11 November 2020