Winbin, in Strathfield, sometimes referred to as Winbin Depot, was purchased by the Child Welfare Department in 1954 and converted to a children's home. It provided short-term care for around 20 preschool-aged boys and girls. It was, at first, a disability institution. It had a kindergarten teacher on site. From 1974 four female wards lived in and assisted in the running of the home. Winbin closed as a preschool in 1975. The same building was later reopened as a hostel for working-age female wards and pregnant wards.
Winbin was a private home that had been built in 1914 by Ernest Laurence, a solicitor, and had originally been called 'Bellevue'. Alfred Heine bought the property in 1936, subdividing surrounding grounds. The house was bought by the Child Welfare Department in 1952, renamed Winbin and proclaimed as a home for the reception and maintenance of children or young persons admitted to State control on 6 October 1954.
In 1955 a review of the Child Welfare Department described the home as caring for mentally and physically disabled children, aged three to six years of age, who were judged unsuitable for adoption or placement with foster parents but could not be cared for by their birth parents. The home held up to 20 children.
The Care Leavers Australia Network website records that a descendant of Alfred Heine's, Fred Heine, stated Winbin's terracotta fountain had come from the Paris Exhibition of 1913. The CLAN site states that previous owners of a neighbouring property, the McKenzies, recall children moving in lines, two by two, wearing pinafores, around the fountain, which was planted in lavender and that the Child Welfare Department expanded the west wing of the property, adding a dormitory for 20.
According to State Records, Winbin catered for 20 children who stayed only for short periods. The older children were taught by trained kindergarten teachers. In 1974 four female wards receiving domestic training lived in and assisted with the daily domestic duties. In 1975 Winbin closed as a pre-school unit.
According to research done by the staff of the Northern Territory Department of Health, it was a place where children from the Northern Territory were sent, after time in Bidura.
1954 - 1975 Winbin
1975 - 1992 Winbin
Sources used to compile this entry: Jones, Cathy, ''Bellevue' 81- Victoria Street, Strathfield', in Strathfield Heritage, 2012, http://strathfieldheritage.org/houses/federation-housing-in-strathfield/bellevue-victoria-street-strathfield/; Winbin, State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016. Also available at https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/571; Communication from Find & Connect South Australian team about research by staff of the Northern Territory Department of Health into institutions where children from the Northern Territory were sent, dated 10 April 2012.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 7 December 2011, Last modified: 15 May 2017