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.
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
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.
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, https://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.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, https://digital.library.sydney.edu.au/nodes/view/9757.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 23 March 2011, Last modified: 19 November 2018