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New South Wales - Organisation

Renwick (1976 - 1994)

  • Time for change: Children work in the garden at Renwick State Ward Home

    Time for change: Children work in the garden at Renwick State Ward Home, c. 1970
    Details

From
1976
To
1994
Categories
Children's Home, Cottage Care, Government-run and Home
Alternative Names
  • Renwick Child Welfare Home (also known as)
  • Renwick State Ward Home (also known as)

Renwick was established by Department of Community Services in 1976, using the buildings and land that had been occupied by the Mittagong Cottage Homes and Mittagong Training School for Boys. Renwick was a home for dependent children (state wards) of all ages and both sexes. It closed in 1994 and was sold to developers. The site has been subdivided and many of the cottages have since been demolished. Challoner Cottage was heritage listed in 2014.

Details

Renwick was formed from the buildings that had been Mittagong Cottage Homes (for state wards) and the Training Home (for convicted boys). The name Renwick honoured Sir Arthur Renwick, the first President of the State Children's Relief Board, who had established the Mittagong Cottage Homes in the late 1880s. Renwick was a complex of cottages, solely for 'dependent children', as state wards were often described as in the 1970s.

Each cottage home had house parents living in with the children. The 9 cottages were:

  • Challoner - for around 20 boys
  • Delauret - for around 24 boys
  • Garran - for around 24 boys and girls
  • Goodlet - for around
  • Linden - for around 24 boys and girls
  • Rotherwood - for 24 boys and girls
  • Rowe - for around 16 boys
  • Suttor - for around 20 boys
  • Turner- for around 17 boys
  • Waverley - for around 15 girls

Many of the children attended the local schools in Mittagong, while the remainder went to school on the premises.

In 1980, the Department's annual report remarked upon the flexibility of the multi-cottage system at Renwick, and that it enabled sibling groups to be kept together. That year, there were a total of 163 boys and girls living at Renwick. By 1984 the average weekly population at Renwick was 65.

Renwick was closed in 1994.

In 2005, plans were announced for subdivision and development on the former site of Renwick, which had been sold by the New South Wales Government. Many former residents and members of the Mittagong community were concerned about the loss of heritage that would result from the destruction of buildings.

The Renwick Association was formed in 2011. Its members include former residents of Renwick and the institutions that preceded it, former workers and house parents, as well as family members and local people who are interested in the history of this institution. Former residents of Mittagong often refer to themselves as 'Govos'. The Renwick Association campaigned for heritage protection of the site after it was sold by the New South Wales government and there were plans to subdivide and redevelop the area, resulting in substantial loss of buildings. The Renwick Association hosts reunions at the site.

In 2014 members of the Mittagong community and former wards were trying to preserve surviving buildings for use as a children's museum and youth centre.

Challoner Cottage was heritage listed in 2014.

Location

1976 - 1994
Location - Renwick was situated on Bong Bong Road, Mittagong. Location: Mittagong

Publications

Reports

Resources

Online Resources

Photos

Heffernan [Mittagong Homes]
Title
Heffernan [Mittagong Homes]
Type
Image
Date
c. 1948
Source
Leonie Knapman

Details

Facing the starter at Waverley Cottage, Mittagong
Title
Facing the starter at Waverley Cottage, Mittagong
Type
Image
Date
c. 1959
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Turner Cottage. Attractive spacious grounds are a feature of the ward cottages at Mittagong
Title
Turner Cottage. Attractive spacious grounds are a feature of the ward cottages at Mittagong
Type
Image
Date
c. 1963
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Turner Cottage boys returning home from school (Mittagong Cottage Homes)
Title
Turner Cottage boys returning home from school (Mittagong Cottage Homes)
Type
Image
Date
c. 1966
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Houseparents and boys at
Title
Houseparents and boys at "Rowe", the newest of the cottages at the Training School for Boys, Mittagong
Type
Image
Date
c. 1967
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Linden Dormitory [Mittagong Cottages]
Title
Linden Dormitory [Mittagong Cottages]
Type
Image
Date
1968
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

The dining room at Linden Cottage [Mittagong]
Title
The dining room at Linden Cottage [Mittagong]
Type
Image
Date
1968
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

The spacious hallway in Linden Cottage is designed as a sun trap [Mittagong]
Title
The spacious hallway in Linden Cottage is designed as a sun trap [Mittagong]
Type
Image
Date
1968
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

A pleasant recreation room at Rotherwood
Title
A pleasant recreation room at Rotherwood
Type
Image
Date
c. 1969
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Children from Garran, Rotherwood, Suttor and Renwick Cottages benefit from co-education at Southwood School, Mittagong
Title
Children from Garran, Rotherwood, Suttor and Renwick Cottages benefit from co-education at Southwood School, Mittagong
Type
Image
Date
c. 1970
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Houseparents at Garran and other cottages share hobbies and other interests with the children in a warm family atmosphere (Mittagong Cottage Homes)
Title
Houseparents at Garran and other cottages share hobbies and other interests with the children in a warm family atmosphere (Mittagong Cottage Homes)
Type
Image
Date
c. 1970
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Time for change: Children work in the garden at Renwick State Ward Home
Title
Time for change: Children work in the garden at Renwick State Ward Home
Type
Image
Date
c. 1970

Details

Recreation activities outdoors at Garran Cottage play an important part in the girls' social development (Mittagong Cottage Homes)
Title
Recreation activities outdoors at Garran Cottage play an important part in the girls' social development (Mittagong Cottage Homes)
Type
Image
Date
c. 1970
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Suttor Cottage
Title
Suttor Cottage
Type
Image
Date
c. 1991
Creator
JRC Planning
Publisher
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Details

Goodlet Cottage: Mittagong Training Centre Group
Title
Goodlet Cottage: Mittagong Training Centre Group
Type
Image
Date
1991
Creator
JRC Planning
Publisher
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Details

Rowe Cottage
Title
Rowe Cottage
Type
Image
Date
c. 1991
Creator
JRC Planning
Publisher
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Details

Challoner Cottage viewed from Bong Bong Road
Title
Challoner Cottage viewed from Bong Bong Road
Type
Image
Date
c. 2012
Creator
Thom, Louise
Publisher
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the Department of Youth and Community Services for the year ended 30 June, New South Wales government, 1976-1988. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main; Official Renwick (Mittagong Farm Home For Boys) web site, Official Renwick Association: Renwick Association Incorporated, 2011; Renwick (Mittagong Farm Home for Boys) web site, http://web.archive.org/web/20130410184643/http://www.renwick.com.au/smf/index.php; 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; Mittagong Farm Homes: Renwick Mittagong NSW: Caring for disadvantaged and delinquent children 1885-1994, http://www.talktome.bigpondhosting.com/renwick.htm; Needham, Kirsty, 'Renwick State Ward Home at the centre of feuding between the government and community group over plans for the site', The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 April 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/renwick-state-ward-home-at-the-centre-of-fueding-between-the-government-and-community-group-over-plans-for-the-site-20140405-365r6.html#ixzz2yGZgFCP6; 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; Email from Kathie Bezer, 9 October 2012.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Cate O'Neill