The Burnside Presbyterian Homes for Children was formally known as Burnside Presbyterian Orphan Homes. The name change occurred in 1955. Originally a complex of cottage homes, Burnside began to provide foster care and other sorts of care in the 1960s and 1970s. It changed its name to Burnside Homes for Children when the Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility assumed control of it in 1978.
By 1955 the Burnside site included its own school with a gymnasium and swimming pool, a hall, a hospital, playing fields, and a farm, dairy and vegetable garden. There was also staff accommodation. Although closely linked to the Presbyterian Church, Burnside was independent of the Church hierarchy. The Burnside Homes were established and maintained entirely by private donations.
The way children were cared for by Burnside changed considerably over the years reflecting changes in child care theories. In the 1960s the capacity of the homes, originally designed for 30 children, was reduced to house 12-15 children. At that time Burnside began to establish group homes in the suburbs, designed to care for around six children at a time. In the 1970s Burnside commenced a comprehensive and successful system of foster care that was still running - and expanded - in 2013.
In 1972, Burnside also became responsible for St Andrew's Boys' Home at Leppington.
In 1977, the Uniting Church in Australia was formed, made up of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches of Australia. It was decided that the Burnside Homes should pass to the Uniting Church Board of Social Responsibility. This occurred in 1978 and the organisation became known as Burnside Homes for Children.
Sources used to compile this entry: Keen, Susan, Burnside: 75 years of caring, Burnside Homes for Children, 1986; 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://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 17 March 2011, Last modified: 6 December 2013