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New South Wales - Organisation

Thornbury Lodge (c. 1958 - c. 1990)

  • Future Citizens - Thornbury Lodge

    Future Citizens - "Thornbury Lodge", c. 1958, courtesy of New South Wales government.
    Details

From
c. 1958
To
c. 1990
Categories
Babies' Home, Children's Home, Government-run, Home, Receiving Home and Temporary Care

Thornbury Lodge was a children's and infants' home established at Baulkham Hills in 1958 or 1959, by the Child Welfare Department. It was a receiving home, and was set up to increase facilities for children in transit from foster homes to hospitals, institutions or other placements as Bidura had become too crowded. Thornbury Lodge housed 30 preschool-aged children, initially just girls but by the 1970s housed both sexes. It had closed by 1990.

Details

The NSW State Records Archives Investigator site states that Thornbury Lodge was established to ease overcrowding at Bidura, in Glebe, by increasing reception facilities. It appears to have served the same function as Bidura, which was temporary accommodation for children in transit from foster homes to hospital or other establishments, and between Children's Court appearances.

Thornbury Lodge was established in a historic house on Seven Hills Road, Baulkham Hills. According to a 1990 archaeological study by Wendy Thorp, the land was first granted in 1802 to James Pye but the house is thought to have been built in the 1870s or 1880s, possibly by the Best family. The house passed through many hands until 1957, when it was transferred to the government, for use by the Child Welfare Department.

The Child Welfare Department carried out major works in the gardens and house. Thorp describes it as opening as a 'Foster Home' in 1959, but the Child Welfare Department's Annual Reports describe it as 'a new home for preschool children' in the previous year, 1958. It is clear from photographs of the time that school-aged girls were also housed there.

The 1959 Child Welfare Department Annual Report notes that the building required extensive renovation and building work before it could be used as a children's home. As a supplement to Bidura, it was originally a girls' home, but at some point in the late 1960s began to admit both boys and girls. There was space for 30 boys and girls in the home.
By the 1970s Thornbury Lodge seems to have changed into use as a 'Family Group Home', a form of accommodation for children in 'community style homes under the care of a Housemother', and in which children attended local schools.

By 1990 the house was disused, but was still in the ownership of what was then called the Department of Family and Community Services.

Thornbury Lodge was listed as a heritage item on The Hills Shire Council's Local Environment Plan (LEP) 2012. It appears the land around the building has been subdivided, and a new street created at the rear of the property, Owen Avenue. In 2012 the address recorded by the Council for the property was 9-13 Owen Avenue, although the house is still visible from Seven Hills Road.

Location

c. 1958 - c. 1990
Address - Thornbury Lodge was situated at 38 Seven Hills Road, Baulkham Hills. Location: Baulkham Hills

Publications

Reports

  • 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. Details
  • 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

Title
"Thornbury Lodge": A new home for Pre-school children
Type
Image
Date
c. 1958
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Future Citizens -
Title
Future Citizens - "Thornbury Lodge"
Type
Image
Date
c. 1958
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Thornbury Lodge
Title
Thornbury Lodge
Type
Image
Date
1958? - 1970?
Source
Care Leavers Australaisa Network (CLAN)

Details

At work on a school project at Thornbury Lodge
Title
At work on a school project at Thornbury Lodge
Type
Image
Date
c. 1961
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Ballet at Thornbury Lodge
Title
Ballet at Thornbury Lodge
Type
Image
Date
c. 1968
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Thornbury Lodge girls come home from school
Title
Thornbury Lodge girls come home from school
Type
Image
Date
c. 1968
Publisher
New South Wales government

Details

Best's Thornbury Lodge, Seven Hills Road, 1980
Title
Best's Thornbury Lodge, Seven Hills Road, 1980
Type
Image
Date
1980
Publisher
The Hills Shire Council

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; The Hills Local Environmental Plan (LEP), The Hills Shire Council, 2012, 112 pp, http://www.thehills.nsw.gov.au/Building/Planning-Guidelines/Local-Environmental-Plan-2012; 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; Heimans, Frank, 'Baulkham Hills: Part One: Elizabeth Porter', in Hills Voices Online, The Hills Shire Council, 3 July 2006, https://www.thehills.nsw.gov.au/Library/Library-e-Resources/Hills-Voices-Online/Changing-Suburbs/Baulkham-Hills-Elizabeth-Porter; 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; "Thornbury Lodge": A new home for Pre-school children [Image], Date: c. 1958; Thorp, Wendy, Historical Context Report and Archaeological Assessment: "Thornbury Lodge". [Baulkham Hills], Jackson Teece Chesterman and Willis : Department of Family and Community Services, Sydney University NSW Archaeology Online : Grey Literature Archive, 1990, http://nswaol.library.usyd.edu.au//data/pdfs/13481_ID_Thorp1990ThornburyLodgeBaulkhamHillsHistoricalRpt.pdf.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry