Brush Farm Home was established on the grounds of Brush Farm House in 1922 by the State Children's Relief Department. It housed up to 60 girls who were then described as being 'feeble minded'. Over the next 60 years Brush Farm Home housed many girls with intellectual and other disabilities, and from the 1970s housed boys. Brush Farm Home closed in 1988.
Brush Farm House dates back to 1820 in Eastwood. It was leased then purchased by the New South Wales Government and had been used as a children's institution since 1894, housing the Carpentarian Reformatory for Boys, Brush Farm and Eastwood Home for Mothers and Babies prior to its conversion to Brush Farm Home.
Brush Farm Home used Montessori and Kindergarten principles to provide some degree of schooling and vocational training. Housed up to 60 girls. In the 1960s cottages were added but the older dormitory-style accommodation was retained, despite its age and unsuitability, due to the increasing rate of intellectually handicapped girls in care. In this period it appears to have included a facility called Brush Farm Reform School for Girls, or Thorbery Lodge. From 1968 Brush Farm Infants' Home was located on the site, in a separate building. Boys were admitted to Brush Farm Home in 1978.
From August 1980 Brush Farm provided temporary residential care of disabled children, mainly for respite care when parents or foster parents needed a break or a holiday, as a temporary placement centre pending long term care or during family crises, and also for behaviour training.
Brush Farm Home closed in 1988. The estate was purchased by the Department of Corrective Services, who re-opened it as the Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy on 1 May 1989. The property was been sold to Ryde Council, but in 2012 Corrective Services retained use.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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; McLean, Donald, Children In Need: An account of the administration and functions of the Child Welfare Department, New South Wales, Australia: with an examination of the principles involved in helping deprived and wayward children, Government Printer, Sydney, 1955, 173 pp; 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://insideblog.nma.gov.au/2011/02/11/connecting-kin/.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 10 April 2012, Last modified: 7 November 2017