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New South Wales - Organisation

Burnside Homes for Children (1978 - 1986)

  • Burnside Orphanage, Parramatta

    Burnside Orphanage, Parramatta, August 1920, courtesy of State Library of New South Wales.

Children's Home, Cottage Care, Foster Care, Home, Orphanage, Presbyterian, Protestant and Uniting Church
Alternative Names
  • Burnside
  • Burnside Homes

The Burnside Homes for Children was the new name for Burnside Presbyterian Homes for Children. The name change occurred when the Uniting Church in Australia was formed and the Uniting Church Board of Responsibility took control of the Burnside Homes. From 1978 to 1986 residential care at the Burnside site in North Parramatta was wound up. In 1986 all residential care for children and young people had moved offsite and the organisation changed its name to Burnside.


The way children are cared for by Burnside has changed considerably over the years reflecting changes in child care theories. Originally, children were housed on the North Parramatta site, in the cottage homes, which housed 20-30 children.

In the 1960s the capacity of the homes, originally designed to accommodate 30 children, was reduced to house twelve to fifteen. Also in the 1960s, Burnside began to establish group homes in the suburbs which were designed to care for around six children at a time. In the 1970s, a comprehensive and successful system of foster care was established by Burnside social workers.

From the late 1970s the children's cottages on the Burnside site were progressive closed down. In the 1980s Burnside Homes for Children began leasing properties in Fairfield and Cabramatta to provide accommodation for refugee children from Cambodia. Other family group homes were also established in this period.

From 1986 Burnside Homes for Children stopped running children's homes on the North Parramatta site. It became known simply as Burnside.


1978 - 1986
Location - Burnside Homes for Children was situated at Pennant Hills Road, North Parramatta. Location: North Parramatta


 1911 - 1955 Burnside Presbyterian Orphan Homes
       1955 - 1978 Burnside Presbyterian Homes for Children
             1978 - 1986 Burnside Homes for Children
                   1986 - 2000 Burnside
                         2000 - Uniting Burnside

Run By

Provided 'Care' At

Related Archival Collections

Related Events

Related Organisations

  • Presbyterian Church of Australia (1803 - )

    The Presbyterian Church was supportive of Burnside Homes for Children, and the land on which the homes stood was vested in the Church. However, the Presbyterian Church was not directly involved in the management of the homes. In 1977 Burnside Homes for Children moved to the management of the Uniting Church of Australia.

    Date: 1976 - 1977



  • Keen, Susan, Burnside: 75 years of caring, Burnside Homes for Children, 1986. Details
  • Shayler, Kate, The Long Way Home: The Story of a Homes Kid, Random House, Milsons Point, N.S.W., 2001. Details
  • Shayler, Kate, Burnished: Burnside Life Stories, MoshPit Publishing, Hazelbrook, NSW, 2011, 280 pp. Details

Online Resources


Burnside Orphanage, Parramatta
Burnside Orphanage, Parramatta
August 1920
State Library of New South Wales


Burnside Primary School
Burnside Primary School
c. 2013


Sources used to compile this entry: Fernandes, Andrea, 'Leaving Cambodia: stories of Sydney's Pol Pot survivors - Buntha Nhem's migration memories', in Migration Heritage Centre New South Wales, Migration Heritage Centre New South Wales, NSW Government, 2010,; 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,

Prepared by: Naomi Parry