Werrington Park was established at Werrington, near St Marys, by the Child Welfare Department in 1954. It was originally a home for boys defined as intellectually disabled and taught farming and basic life skills. Starting with 12 boys, the home held 120 by the 1970s. In 1978 Cobham Children's Court and Remand Centre were built on the corner of the estate. When Taldree closed in 1980 the boys were sent to Werrington Park. Werrington Park had closed by 1988 and is now part of the University of Western Sydney.
The main building, originally called Frogmore, dates from 1806 and was built for Governor Bligh's daughter. It was named Werrington Park in 1935 and acquired by the Child Welfare Department in 1954.
According to the Annual Reports of the Child Welfare Department, in 1962-3 to add to the original building, there were two new 'cottages' or dormitory buildings opened at Werrington Park, Coallee and Dunhevid, each accommodating 30 boys. By 1966 there were four cottages holding a total of 96 boys. Each was run by a married couple, with a Superintendent in charge of the overall home. There was an on-site school, with some of the older boys having training in some semi-rural activities, and others engaging in work in a sheltered workshop. A separate residence, Claremont, was also added.
In 1964 the Child Welfare Department Annual Report described the home as caring for 120 'retarded boy wards, aged from 10 to 18'. Werrington Park had a substantial sheltered workshop, for older boys.
In 1970, the Child Welfare Department produced a black and white 16mm film about Werrington Park, The Long Climb. It was a promotional film to introduce the home to people unfamiliar with disability education and as a training film for new employees to the Department. It shows a boy first arriving at Werrington Park, the dormitories, some of the activities and education the boys took part in, and ends with a young man leaving the home finding a job and a place to live. At that stage, the home held 120 boys.
By 1976, according to the Youth and Community Services Department's Annual Report, the four cottages housed children from the age of 10 up, all of whom attended school until at least 16.
A Children's Court and remand centre - Cobham - was built on a corner of the estate in 1978. The site became part of the lands allocated by the New South Wales government for the development of the University of Western Sydney. Werrington Park had closed as a child welfare institution by 1988.
The main building of Werrington Park has since been restored and renamed Frogmore and is now part of the University of Western Sydney's Werrington North campus.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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; A classroom shop at Werrington Park - a practical lesson in money sums for intellectually handicapped lads [original caption] [Image], Date: c. 1966; "Coallee", the new cottage at Werrington Park [Image], Date: c. 1962; Keen, A, The Long Climb, 1 film reel (30 min.) : sd., bw. ; 16 mm. A copy of this film is at the State Library of New South Wales., New South Wales Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare, 1970; 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; A scene from the Department's film, "The Long Climb", illustrates the variety of tasks in which training is provided at the sheltered workshop at Werrington Park [Image], Date: c. 1970; 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; Werrington North [The History of UWS], University of Western Sydney, http://www.uws.edu.au/uws25/25_year_history/places/werrington_north.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 23 March 2011, Last modified: 17 July 2023