The Protestant Orphan School was established in Parramatta in 1850 by the New South Wales Colonial Government. It replaced, and brought together, what had been the Female Orphan School and the Male Orphan School. The Protestant Orphan School housed hundreds of children at a time. It was closed in 1881, after the boarding out system was introduced.
Orphan schools were established in Sydney in the early 1800s, and the Female Orphan School had been moved to Parramatta in 1818. It was run by a committee and funded by the New South Wales Colonial Government.
In 1850, the Male and Female Orphan Schools were amalgamated to form the Protestant Orphan School. This continued in the same buildings in Parramatta that had been used by the Female Orphan School. The Protestant Orphan School, like the Roman Catholic Orphan School and the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children, massed many hundreds of children into dormitory-style accommodation. In the 1870s this form of caring for dependent children became increasingly unpopular with reformers.
The Protestant Orphan School was closed in 1886, after the State Children's Relief Board introduced boarding out and took children from large institutions and placed them in the boarding out system (foster care).
The Orphan School buildings were converted to the Rydalmere Hospital for the Insane in 1886. In 1995 the hospital closed and the New South Wales Government gave the buildings to the University of Western Sydney.
1819 - 1850 Male Orphan School
1850 - 1886 Protestant Orphan School
Sources used to compile this entry: Orphan schools, State Library of New South Wales, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20160201172256/http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/discover_collections/history_nation/religion/charity/opphan_schools.html.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 26 April 2012, Last modified: 30 April 2014