Ormond House, the oldest surviving mansion in Sydney, was a significant building in the history of the State Children's Relief Board and many children who were state wards or moving through the court system passed through its doors from 1884 until 1923. Effectively, it was a transit point for children who were moving from one place to another, but some children, particularly older girls, spent years there.
Ormond was first established as a depot in 1884 and was called Central Home. Children were taken there when they were removed from the Roman Catholic and Protestant Orphanages, the Benevolent Asylum or the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children. From Ormond House they were issued with a set of clothing and boarded out (placed with foster guardians). Children being returned from boarding out placements were sent back to Ormond House, and some older girls lived there semi-permanently, caring for smaller children and sewing their clothes. From 1890 Ormond House was commonly called the Central Depot but it was also a children's home. In 1904 the girls from Shaftesbury Reformatory were moved to Ormond House, and Ormond House seems to have been used as a place to send female state wards who were difficult to manage.
In 1905 the Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act created the Children's Court and, while the State Children's Relief Board waited for a new Children's Court to be built at Albion Street the court hearings took place at Ormond House. The house served as a shelter and receiving home for children who were waiting for court hearings or for transfer to boarding out or an institution until 1911, when the boys were moved to the Metropolitan Boys' Shelter at the Albion Street Children's Court. Ormond House was then designated the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter.
The 1908 State Children's Relief Board Annual Report states that 2,395 children passed through Ormond House in that year. Of these, 1,435 were wards of the State Children's Relief Board and 960 were children dealt with by the Children's Court. The figures the previous year had been similar.
Ormond House remained the Central Depot and served as the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter until 1923. In that year the State Children's Relief Board was replaced by the Child Welfare Department and the girls were moved to Bidura in Glebe. The Child Welfare Department relinquished Ormond in the same year.
Ormond House dates from 1823-1826 and is the oldest building in Paddington and the oldest surviving mansion in New South Wales. It was built by Robert Cooper as Juniper Hall, but renamed in the 1840s as Ormond House. After World War II it was renamed Juniper Hall.
The property has been owned by the National Trust since 1984. The Trust demolished a row of terraces that had been built on the front lawn and restored the house and its gardens. In the early 1990s it was the Museum of Australian Childhood. An artists' community also used the site.
In September 2012 the National Trust sold the propert to the Moran family, of Moran Healthcare. The Morans have ancestral connections with Robert Cooper and, according to the National Trust, intend to convert the property to an art gallery for the Moran Prizes. In 2013 Juniper Hall was opened as a gallery.
06 May 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE01063
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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