Woodlands Home, at Wallsend, was opened as a children's home in 1944 by the United Protestant Association. After 1945, the girls were moved to Ellimatta at East Maitland and Woodlands became a boys' home. The home was closed in July 1981 and converted to a community centre by the United Protestant Association head office.
Woodlands was a historic house on eight acres at Wallsend.
In 2013, Joanne McCarthy published an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, stating that former residents of Woodlands had given distressing testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and stated that an organised ring of paedophiles, including members of the Anglican and Catholic clergy, had sexually abused boys during a Christian programme held on Sundays at Woodlands in the 1970s. Additionally, a girl from Ellimatta was allegedly abused by a gardener.
In the article, the UPA issued an unreserved apology to children abused while they were living in the Woodlands and Ellimatta Homes, and acknowledged it had paid compensation to victims.
The UPA Board has since issued a further and full apology stating:
We sought to be trusted by children, parents, and the State, but we freely acknowledge that in many of our homes we failed to provide the safe and nurturing environment that children need to thrive. Emotional, physical and sexual abuse did occur in those homes. We are ashamed of those failures and offer our sincere and deep apology for the harm caused.
Sources used to compile this entry: Agst, Thomas Urich [with Robert J Martin], The UPA Story, United Protestant Association of NSW Ltd, Wahroonga, n.d., 67 pp; McCarthy, Joanne, 'Paedophile ring used boys home', The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2013, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/paedophile-ring-used-boys-home-20130922-2u7w6.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://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf; UPA Board, 'The Board of the UPA of NSW has issued the following apology', in UPA of NSW Ltd website, United Protestant Association of NSW Ltd, 2018, https://www.upa.org.au/former-children-upa-care/apology/.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 22 March 2011, Last modified: 21 June 2021