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 an institution 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.
The school at Mittagong Training School for Boys was originally called the 'Lower Mittagong School' but eventually its name was changed to 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.
In 1954, the Training School comprised 8 cottages, housing from 22 to 32 boys each, and one hospital home. According to the Department's annual report:
Each home is in charge of a married couple and inmates are allocated to the various cottages according to religion, age, physique and maturity, results of clinical examination and previous history.
In his new home each boy is provided with opportunities for development of character, the eradication of undesirable traits and the formation of habits of industry and cooperation. Each boy is taught to care for his clothing and to attend to his own personal cleanliness.
In 1962, there were 180 boys at Mittagong Training School, aged up to 15.
By 1971, the Department's approach to 'delinquents' was changing, and there was a new emphasis on maintaining the boys' relationships with their families. According to that year's annual report:
Every effort is made to actively involve the families of inmates of training schools in their rehabilitation. District Officers regularly visit inmates' families to discuss progress and to offer assistance and advice in the preparations for the child or young person's return on completion of the training period.
Visiting by parents is encouraged, and although distance presents a problem in some cases, many parents undertake quite lengthy journeys to maintain contact with their children. Special arrangements exist for the issue of rail warrants to parents in necessitous circumstances who would otherwise be unable to maintain contact with inmates.
To further facilitate family contacts with younger delinquents the number of visiting days at Mittagong Training School for boys has been increased during the year, and consideration is being given to the introduction of home leave for selected inmates at this institution. (Home leave is granted as a special privilege to selected inmates of other training schools.)
The educational needs of these younger delinquents are catered for at Toombong School, a special school conducted and staffed by the Department of Education on the Mittagong property. The school programme here is specially designed to provide realistic goals, and rewards for achieving them, for individual inmates, who in many cases are considerably retarded from an educational point of view.
In 1973, the Department reported that DeLauret cottage had been demolished and rebuilt to house 24 boys from the Training School 'in the younger age bracket and the design of the building should permit a standard of care which has not formerly been possible'.
That year, a new system of home leave had been introduced at Mittagong, 'which was used extensively with very promising results'.
The Mittagong Training School was closed in August 1976.
At this time, the entire complex of cottages at Mittagong (for state wards and for convicted boys) was renamed Renwick, which had originally only been the name of one of the individual buildings.
1906 - 1947 Mittagong Farm Home for Boys
1947 - 1976 Mittagong Training School For Boys
Sources used to compile this entry: Official Renwick (Mittagong Farm Home For Boys) web site, Official Renwick Association: Renwick Association Incorporated, 2011; 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; 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.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Liam Hogan
Created: 13 May 2011, Last modified: 21 September 2018