Yasmar Shelter, also called Yasmar Child Welfare Home and Ashfield Remand Home, was established at Haberfield in the grounds of Yasmar Children's Court by the Child Welfare Department in 1946. It was a remand home for boys. Various additions were made to the buildings over the years. Yasmar Shelter closed in 1994.
Yasmar was located in a historic house built by the Ramsay family. The name is Ramsay, spelled backwards. It was bought by the New South Wales Government in 1944. In 1946 it became a centre for juvenile justice. Timber buildings were erected on the former tennis and croquet lawns to house delinquent boys. The grand reception rooms of the house became a children's court and others served as magistrates' rooms.
Two boys escaped from Yasmar in January 1950. They had been arrested after they had run away from home and gone on a destructive rampage through two public schools, including one at Riverstone. The boys, aged 12 and 13, were in Yasmar on charges of being 'uncontrollable' and stealing, but made off over the school fence before police returned to question them.
In 1981 the estate was turned into a Juvenile Detention Centre. New buildings were designed by government architects, guided by the New South Wales Heritage Office, to ensure original features and the garden were maintained. The facilities were named Dobroyde and Waratah and the Sunning Hill Education and Training Unit opened for its inmates. A drawing of Yasmar House was used as its logo and carried over to the new Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre.
In 1990 a youth committed suicide in the Yasmar Detention Centre. Christine Howlett writes that a coroner found that staff were poorly trained, particularly in resuscitation, and that grilles and hanging points should be removed from all juvenile detention centres. The Department of Youth and Community Services, which ran the centre at the time, instituted a system of regular night checks in its centres the wake of the death of this boy.
In 2013 it was still owned by the New South Wales Government and was being used by the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Sources used to compile this entry: Ashfield Remand Home - "Yasmar" - New South Wales [Image], Date: 23 March 1950; Howlett, Christine, Deaths in Custody Australia: No. 3 Deaths in Juvenile Detention, 1980-1992, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 1993, https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/dic/dic3; Jackson-Stepowski, Sue, 'Yasmar', in Dictionary of Sydney, Dictionary of Sydney Trust, 2008, http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/yasmar; Main entrance to Yasmar. This building houses the Administrative Section and the Ashfield Children's Court [Image], Date: c. 1968; 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: 30 April 2014