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 the United Protestant Association 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 apology was issued in a Sydney Morning Herald article by Joanne McCarthy, published on 28 September 2013:
The United Protestant Association was "fully supportive of every effort to bring to light what is clearly a shameful and disgusting part of Australia's recent history", general manager Steve Walkerden said.
The UPA "unreservedly" apologised on Friday to children harmed while in its care and detailed its knowledge of appalling abuse of children at the Woodlands and Ellimatta homes over nearly four decades. The abuse of children as young as four and the lifelong impacts of that abuse were a tragedy, Mr Walkerden said.
"We unreservedly apologise to those who were harmed as a result of the time spent in a UPA home," he said. "We are committed to open communication with any former children who lived at Woodlands or any other home run by UPA.
"We have a dedicated after care worker who is able to offer access to records. UPA is willing to make reparation payments to those who were abused. We have reported all known matters to police and work co-operatively with them."
UPA received the first abuse allegations at Woodlands in 1998, and has paid reparation to some victims.
McCarthy's article stated that former residents of Woodlands have 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. A girl from Ellimatta was allegedly abused by a gardener.
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, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 22 March 2011, Last modified: 19 March 2015