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New South Wales - Organisation

Bethcar Children's Home (1969 - 1989)

Foster Care, Government-run and Home
Alternative Names
  • BethCar (also known as)

Bethcar Children's Home was a state-run foster care facility, located near Brewarrina. Bethcar was established in 1969, and was run by the Department of Youth and Community Services (which had assumed responsibility for Aboriginal children in 1969). In 1986 Bethcar moved from Brewarrina to Orange. Bethcar closed in 1989.


In his poem "Mission Breed", David Nolan remembered his time as a resident of Bethcar:

With baggy pants around my waist
From Bourke they took me far
Away from all I knew and loved,
To a kids home called Bethcar

100 kay north-east of Bourke
'Bout seven mile out of Bre
Were 30 odd lil' Koori kids,
They all looked just like me

In 1978, Bethcar was described in the NSW Legislative Assembly as a "special aboriginal service", caring for "24 disadvantaged aboriginal children".

In the 1970s, Bethcar Children's Home was run by husband and wife Bert and Edith Gordon. Their son-in-law took over management of Bethcar in the 1980s (he was later jailed for two aggravated sexual assaults committed at the Home).

Fifteen former residents of Bethcar brought civil proceedings against the NSW government between 2008 and 2013, for sexual and physical abuse committed by carers at Bethcar.

In September 2014, the Royal Commission into Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse announced a Case Study into Bethcar Children's Home, to be held in Sydney in October 2014. The findings of the Royal Commission investigation into Bethcar were published in Report of Case Study No. 19.


1969 - 1986
Location - Bethcar Children's Home was located at Brewarrina. Location: Brewarrina
1986 - 1989
Location - Bethcar Children's Home was located in Orange.. Location: Orange



Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Legislative Assembly, Tuesday 21 November 1978', in Hansard: NSW Legislative Assembly by date, NSW Government, 1978, p.551.; Davies, Lisa, 'Abused for years - sex victims' legal action for their childhood of terror', The Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2011,; Nolan, David, 'Mission Breed [poem]', The Koori Mail, no. 334, 8 September 2004, p. 25,

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill