Berry Training Farm was established in 1934 by the Department of Child Welfare on the former Berry State Farm. It was a farm training school. At the time it was started it received boys aged between 14 and 18 from Turner or Suttor Cottages, Brougham, Yarra Bay, Weroona or May Villa. By the 1950s it mostly housed children who were state wards and defined as intellectually disabled. Berry Training Farm closed in 1977.
Berry Training Farm was initially a training home, organised on the cottage system, which was originally intended for boys aged between 14 and 18 years.
In the mid-1960s there was a large-scale building programme at Berry, by which time there were two houses accommodating a total of 60 boys, who were thought by the Department to be incapable of proceeding to school certificate level. There was an internal school for the younger boys. According to the 1965 Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department, 40 of these boys were between 12 and 15, and 'the remainder [were] receiving dairy and farm training in preparation for rural placement'.
A former resident of Berry Training Farm, who attended from 1972 until 1977, told Find & Connect he believed the institution began holding boys who were as young as 12 in the 1960s. According to him, boys were placed in the training farm for five year sentences.
In 1977 the Berry Training Farm, by then known as the Berry Boys Home, closed. The site was converted to the Berry Sport and Recreation Centre. In 2009 a new hall, designed by Allen Jack + Cottier architects won first prize in the sport category at the world architecture festival in Barcelona.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'New Parents for "Nobody's Child"', The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 1939. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17609288; Report of the Department of Youth and Community Services for the year ended 30 June …, 1974-1979/80. Also available at http://library.sl.nsw.gov.au/record=b1398428~S2; 'N.S.W. Report: Reforms sought in child protection', The Canberra Times, 21 December 1974, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110793580; Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, 1955/1956-1969/1970; Child Welfare Training Farm, Berry - the football teams [Image], Date: August 1938; Honner, John, 'Stars point to brighter future for Forgotten Australians', Eureka Street, vol. 19, no. 22, 20 November 2009; McLean, Donald, Children In Need: An account of the administration and functions of the Child Welfare Department, New South Wales, Australia: with an examination of the principles involved in helping deprived and wayward children, Government Printer, Sydney, 1955, 173 pp; 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://www.community.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/319256/connectkin_guide.pdf; Information from Lotus Place reporting recollections of former resident of Berry Training Farm, 12 May 2014.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Liam Hogan
Created: 23 March 2011, Last modified: 2 June 2014