The Dhurringile Rural Training Farm in Tatura was established by the Presbyterian Church in 1951. It was purchased to accommodate child migrant boys aged 8 to 14 sent out from the United Kingdom by the Church of Scotland. Dhurringile was also set up to take in local orphans or homeless boys. It housed 50 children in the 1950s, but numbers reduced in the early 1960s. The facility closed in 1964.
The Presbyterian Church launched an appeal in January 1949 to raise funds to establish an institution for child migrants from the United Kingdom. The Church had purchased a 100 acre property in Tatura, in rural Victoria, known as Dhurringile. This mansion had formerly housed German prisoners of war.
In February 1949 that year, the Church outlined its aims for the institution at Tatura. Dhurringile would house 100 boys, between 8 and 14 years of age. The institution would be a training farm, but its residents would also have the opportunity to attend local schools.
The Dhurringile Rural Training Farm was officially opened in June 1951. Initially, there were 30 boys in residence, who were child migrants from the UK. According to historian Barry Coldrey, the residents of Dhurringile were 'sought from the welfare services of the Church of Scotland and the Quarrier Homes at Bridge-of-Weir near Glasgow. Quarrier had sent many children to Canada before World War I and during the 1920s.'
Newspaper articles from 1951 reported that the first group of 'lads' at Dhurringile would attend local schools in Shepparton, and would not commence farm training until they had completed their studies. At the official opening on 9 June 1951, the Superintendent of the Church's Social Services Department, Rev A.G. Harrison, said that the number of boys at Dhurringile would soon rise to 60.
Coldrey's publication Good British stock states that the number of boys at Dhurringile peaked at 50, and dropped rapidly thereafter. The venture at Dhurringile was wrapped up in 1964.
Sources used to compile this entry: '12 appeals this year', The Argus, 14 January 1949, p. 5; Churches care for migrant orphans, The Argus, 5 February 1949, 15 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22695737; Plan to settle UK lads at Tatura, The Argus, 11 June 1949, 7 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22734264; British orphans as new Australians: churches open new homes for boy migrants, The Argus, 9 June 1951, 17 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23069564; Orphans will live and learn in old colonial mansion, The Argus, 15 June 1951, 3 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23070562; Coldrey, Barry, Good British stock: child and youth migration to Australia, National Archives of Australia, 1999, https://www.naa.gov.au/help-your-research/research-guides/good-british-stock-child-and-youth-migration-australia.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 6 March 2009, Last modified: 25 October 2018