Mittagong Training School For Boys, run by the Child Welfare Department, was the new name given in 1947 to what had been the Mittagong Farm School for Boys. It was part of the Mittagong Cottage Homes, and was for boys aged 8 to 17 convicted in the Children's Courts. Some children were transferred from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and placed in this Home. In 1976 Mittagong Training School ceased operating and the boys were transferred to Ormond House, Thornleigh. Mittagong Cottage Homes also closed in 1976, and Renwick, a Home for dependent children, opened on the site.
Mittagong Farm Home for Boys was a cottage home opened on 17 October 1906 as a government-run Probationary Training Home for boys aged 8 to 17 convicted in the Children's Courts. The Home was situated on land already used as cottage style accommodation for state children who were sick or invalid. From 1947 a section of the Institution became known as Mittagong Training School for Boys.
A school was built at the site in 1959, originally to be called the 'Lower Mittagong School' but eventually called Toombong School. The Department admitted in its Annual Report of that year that it wanted to avoid any connotation that the school was 'lower' than any of the other local schools. Another school, called Southwood School, was built later and became the Child Welfare Department's first co-educational school in 1970. At different times, some children in some of the homes went to this Department school, while others went 'out' to the local primary school in Mittagong.
A number of cottages existed at the site in the post-war era, with different names, which housed children of different ages with different needs. Many of these cottages housed children with moderate to severe intellectual and physical disabilities, though it is very unclear, in the reports of the Department, as to which Homes housed which children. Some were:
Linden's bedrooms accommodate four children in each room which is divided by wardrobe/dressing table units so giving each girl her own private corner ... The Home is staffed by a married couple, (Housemaster and Matron), three Assistant Matrons, and a Domestic Assistant. This staff group which is larger than that for the boys is considered necessary to provide adequate female supervision and to provide efficient care for the large building without expecting the girls to do more than a reasonable share of domestic tasks.
Sources used to compile this entry: Official Renwick (Mittagong Farm Home For Boys) web site, Official Renwick Association: Renwick Association Incorporated, 2011; Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, 1955/1956-1969/1970.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Liam Hogan
Created: 13 May 2011, Last modified: 19 March 2015