Royal Far West, also referred to as Royal Far West Scheme and Drummond Far West Home, was set up in Manly in 1924 to enable children from far western New South Wales to escape the conditions of the outback by holidaying by the sea. Over the years it has evolved to take children for convalescence and respite care and since 1970 it has been called Royal Far West.
The scheme was founded by Reverend Sydney Drummond, the superintendent of the Methodist Far West Mission at Cobar, and his wife Lucy. It began taking children in the 1920s.
Far West Home was a popular charity, and in 1933 Sir Charles Kingsford Smith donated the funds he had been given to recognise his air services to build the new centre on Wentworth Street.
After much fundraising the scheme purchased land in Wentworth Street Manly and opened Drummond Far West Children's Home in 1935. It developed medical, dental and eye services and became a major convalescent hospital for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children from remote areas, caring for some children for more than 12 months. It also provided outreach services, touring specialist doctors and dentists to remote towns. It later expanded to take over the South Steyne frontage, on the corner of Wentworth Street.
The Far West Home developed to provide convalescent care and respite for sick children and specialist medical care, including eye care. The Aborigines Protection Board and Aborigines Welfare Board sent Aboriginal children to the home.
By the 1930s the Education Department had appointed a teacher to the home, as some children stayed up to 12 months at a time. By the 1950s the Home had its own school, in Wentworth Street Manly. By that time, many children at the home were victims of the polio epidemic, and the Home provided specialist services fitting splints and providing orthopaedic boots for children with leg deformities.
In 1953 a children's party at Royal Far West formed part of the broadcast of the Queen's speech.
The scheme became 'Royal Far West' in 1970, when Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne visited.
Royal Far West provided aged care for a period in the 1980s, but has since stopped. It developed a range of health care services, including telehealth clinics, at the Manly site in the late 20th century.
In 2012, Royal Far West provides specialist medical, paediatric, telehealth, allied health, psychological and behavioural care and advice to children aged from birth to 12 years of age, from rural, regional and remote New South Wales. It runs respite care for children with special needs, including a retreat called Eagles' Nest.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'TREATMENT OF CHILDREN.', The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 1932, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16908885; 'A NOBLE GIFT. KINGSFORD SMITH'S GENEROSITY.', The Brisbane Courier, 22 July 1933, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22197831; 'CHILD OF THE FAR WEST. FIRST VISIT TO THE ZOO', The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 January 1938, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17444799; 'Royal Far West exhibition celebrates history of much-loved Manly hospital for country kids', in Media Releases, Manly Council, 5 August 2010, http://web.archive.org/web/20110329064317/http://www.manly.nsw.gov.au/council/news/media-releases/530/; 'Health Team Pulled 1,125 Teeth', The Sunday Herald, 15 July 1951, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18500564; 'Our History', in Royal Far West: Caring for Country Kids, Royal Far West, 2012, https://www.royalfarwest.org.au/about-us/our-history/.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 7 December 2011, Last modified: 19 May 2014