Taldree was opened in 1974 by the Department of Youth and Community Services in Parramatta. It was located in new buildings on part of the site of the Parramatta Girls' Training School, which was officially closed in 1975. Taldree was a remand centre that took in up to 60 boys under 16 years for about two weeks at a time, including boys from Minda Remand Centre in Lidcombe. When Taldree closed in 1980 the boys were transferred to Werrington Park. The Taldree section was then renamed Kamballa.
Taldree was officially opened on 10 December, 1974 as a remand centre for junior boys, having admitted its first residents in July 1974. The Centre was located in new buildings on part of the site of the former Parramatta Girls' Training School in Fleet Street, Parramatta. Parramatta had been the subject of a strong public campaign for more compassionate treatment of children in the child welfare and juvenile detention systems and the creation of Taldree and Kamballa (an institution for girls located on the same site) were a direct response to that by the government.
According to press at the time it was announced, "Taldree" was the "Aboriginal word" for "young man", although the language used and cultural group it was from were not identified ("Child detention centres to close", Sydney Morning Herald 5 July 1974, p1).
Taldree provided residential accommodation for up to 60 boys at one time. A school building was added, to provide basic skills education, because many of the boys were educationally disadvantaged. The average length of stay at Taldree was two weeks. The school accommodation was shared with the girls from Kamballa but neither classes nor playgrounds were mixed. The two homes also shared administrative staff. The complex was sometimes referred to as the Kamballa and Taldree Children's Shelter.
When Taldree closed in May 1980, girls from the Kamballa side were moved into the buildings. From 1983 they were used by the Department of Youth and Community Services as administrative buildings. This use continued until 2009, under the Department of Community Services.
The buildings used for Taldree are part of the Parramatta Female Factories and Institutions Precinct. In November 2017, the Precinct was added to the National Heritage List. It has also been listed (as The Girls Training School Precinct) on the Register of the National Estate since 21 March 1978.
Sources used to compile this entry: Child detention centres to close, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July 1974, 1 pp; Djuric, Bonney, Abandon All Hope: a history of Parramatta Industrial School, Chargan, Georges Terrace, 2008, 238 pp; 'Girls Training School Precinct, 1 Fleet St, Parramatta, NSW, Australia [Register of the National Estate]', in Australian Heritage Database, Department of the Environment, Australian Government Department of the Environment, http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=3028; 'Kamballa', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/460; 'Minda', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/575; Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, 2006-, http://www.parragirls.org.au/; 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.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 23 March 2011, Last modified: 3 February 2023