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New South Wales - Organisation

Bidura (1920 - 1977)

  • Bidura House

    Bidura House, 13 March 2010, by Adam, J.W.C., courtesy of Adam, J.W.C., Wikimedia Commons.
    Details

From
1920
To
1977
Categories
Babies' Home, Children's Home, Government-run, Home and Receiving Home
Alternative Names
  • Bidura Depot (also known as)
  • Bidura Home (also known as)
  • Bidura Receiving Home (also known as)
  • Burdura (sometimes spelled as)
  • The Depot (also known as)
  • Glebe Depot (also known as)
  • Metropolitan Girls' Shelter (also known as)

Bidura in Glebe was a historic house that was acquired by the New South Wales Government in 1920. It was converted to a depot and receiving home, holding children while they awaited foster placements, children's court hearings or transfer to other establishments. Many children stayed for extended periods. In 1923 it was named the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter, although this moved to a separate building on the same site. Bidura closed as a children's home in 1977.

Details

Bidura was used as a depot for children involved in hearings in the Children's Court, which was located at Albion Street in Surry Hills. Bidura housed children prior to children's court hearings and held those who had been committed to state care and were awaiting placement in foster care or institutions, or were returning from placements.

In 1923 Bidura was designated the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter, but this seems to have moved to a separate building, that was entered from Avon Street, by 1936.

By 1939 Bidura housed boys up to six years of age and girls up to 18 years, with an attached school operated by a governess. The school was required because residents of Glebe opposed the attendance of state children in local schools. Bidura was also, until at least the 1950s, the site of the Child Welfare Department's clothing store.

Bidura is one of the finest houses in Glebe. It was designed by Edward Blacket and built between 1858 and 1860. However, by the time it was used by the Child Welfare Department it was aging and, as early as the 1930s, reports into the operations of the Department questioned whether it was appropriate for the accommodation of children.

Many female state wards and children attending court in the Sydney area passed through Bidura a number of times. The submissions to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Inquiry into Institutional Care record degrading experiences, such as having their hair doused in kerosene and bound in rags, and that girls were submitted to humiliating internal examinations, that would be repeated at the next institution they were sent to. They also report much sadness at being separated from their male siblings.

According to research done by the staff of the Northern Territory Department of Health, it was a place where children from the Northern Territory were sent, prior to being placed at Winbin in Strathfield.

Bidura was restored by New South Wales Public Works in the 1980s and is currently occupied by the Department of Community Services' Centre for Parenting and Research. The property is classified by the National Trust.

Location

1920 - 1977
Address - Bidura was situated at 357 Glebe Point Road, Glebe. Location: Glebe

Related Archival Series

Related Organisations

Related Places

  • Ormond House (1824 - )

    The functions of depot and shelter moved from Ormond House to Bidura when the Child Welfare Department was created in 1923.

    Date: 1923

Publications

Books

  • Davey, J. Michael, Journey of Hope: a remarkable true story, Ark House Press, Mona Vale, 2011, 246 pp. Details
  • 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. Details

Newspaper Articles

Reports

  • Boyle, Brian, The Child Welfare Schools: Recollections of these unique schools and the men and women who taught in them often under considerable difficulty, unpublished typescript, (618 pp. : ill., ports ; 32 cm), 1996. Details
  • Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, New South Wales government, 1923-1970. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main. Details

Resource Sections

Online Resources

Photos

School building at Bidura
Title
School building at Bidura
Type
Image
Date
c. 1959
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Bidura Receiving Home
Title
Bidura Receiving Home
Type
Image
Date
c. 1959
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Lessons in the sun at Bidura School
Title
Lessons in the sun at Bidura School
Type
Image
Date
c. 1963
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

The Dining Room - Bidura
Title
The Dining Room - Bidura
Type
Image
Date
c. 1968
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

International Women's Day, 1974. Women's liberationists storm the roof at the Bidura Shelter for Girls in Glebe
Title
International Women's Day, 1974. Women's liberationists storm the roof at the Bidura Shelter for Girls in Glebe
Type
Image
Date
1974
Source
Australian History Museum, Macquarie University

Details

Bidura House
Title
Bidura House
Type
Image
Date
13 March 2010
Creator
Adam, J.W.C.
Source
Adam, J.W.C., Wikimedia Commons

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Catholic Women's Association: Hospital Visitors' Activities', The Catholic Press, 10 September 1936, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/106380489; 'Submission 8', in Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care - Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 2005, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist; Bidura, State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016. Also available at https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/4154; Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, New South Wales government, 1923-1970. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main; Durant (nee Green), Carmel, 'Our Story', in Inside: Children's Homes, National Museum of Australia, Australian Government, 2010, https://web.archive.org/web/20180306142238/http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/2010/03/05/our-story/; 'Heritage Buildings: Bidura, 357 Glebe Point Road', in The Glebe Society, The Glebe Society, http://www.glebesociety.org.au/wordpress/?buildings=bidura; 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://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf; Communication from Find & Connect South Australian team about research by staff of the Northern Territory Department of Health into institutions where children from the Northern Territory were sent, dated 10 April 2012.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry