Situated on part of the Dobroyde Estate in Haberfield, Yasmar was designed by architect John Bibb for the Learmonth family, with construction completed in 1858. In 1944 the New South Wales government resumed the property, (1) and on 12 April 1946 under the provisions of the Child Welfare Act, 1939 Yasmar was established as a Shelter for the reception and temporary detention and maintenance of children or young persons.
From January 1981 the Education Department assumed responsibility for the school facilities at Yasmar. In 1983 all staff and resident boys were transferred to Bidura Juvenile Justice Centre while a new administration building, new classrooms, and new residential quarters were built, returning to Yasmar in 1985. (5)
In 1993 the Dobroyde Unit of Yasmar was closed, with Yasmar itself marked for eventual closure. (6) During this year a review of services for young women in custody suggested consideration be given to placing a young women’s unit at a juvenile justice centre specialising in providing services for young female offenders. (7) In 1994 a specialist programme for young women in custody was developed (8) with Yasmar chosen as the site to house up to 34 residents (9), up to 21 in the Remand group, resident in the Ramsay Unit, and up to 13 in the Committal group, resident in the Dobroyde Unit. (10)
By 2003 work had commenced on a new Young Women’s Centre at Lidcombe to replace the facility at Yasmar, with the completed centre expected to be commissioned in 2005. (11) A new facility at Lidcombe, Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre was opened from 1 August 2005 to replace Yasmar Juvenile Justice Centre in Haberfield. (12)
Due to the historic significance of Yasmar as an example of the architect John Bibb’s work, the building and its surrounding gardens and entrance gates was placed on the Register of the National Estate on 21 March 1978 (12), and on 18 February 2000 Yasmar, the land and property, was placed on the NSW State Heritage Register. (13)
On 30 September 2005 the Yasmar Juvenile Justice Centre ceased to be listed as a juvenile justice centre under the Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987. (14)
The former Yasmar Juvenile Justice Centre was converted to a staff training facility which opened in July 2006. (15)
Note regarding the name Yasmar
The building on the site when purchased by the government was known as 'Yasmar'. The name 'Yasmar' is a reversal of the name 'Ramsay' commemorating Dr David Ramsay, a previous owner of the land.
(1) The Register of the National Estate, www.ahc.gov.au/register/ (accessed 2 December 2004).
(2) NSW Government Gazette, 12 April 1946, p.946.
(3) NSW Government Gazette, 26 April 1946, p.998.
(4) The Child Welfare Schools, Brian Boyle, pp.369-70.
(5) ibid., p.370.
(6) Report of the Office of Juvenile Justice for the year ended 30 June 1993, p.20.
(7) ibid., p.4.
(8) Report of the Department of Juvenile Justice for the year ended 30 June 1994, p.5.
(9) ibid., p.56.
(10) The Child Welfare Schools, op. cit., p.371.
(11) Department of Juvenile Justice, Annual Report 2002-03, p.34.
(12) The Register of the National Estate, www.ahc.gov.au/register/ (accessed 2 December 2004); Children (Detention Centres) Amendment Order 2005 in NSW Government Gazette No.86, 8 July 2005, p.3613.
(13) NSW Government Gazette, 18 February 2000, p.1277.
(14) Children (Detention Centres) Order 2005 Sch. 1 in NSW Government Gazette No.120, 30 September 2005, p.7907 which repealed the Children (Detention Centres) Order 2001 in NSW Government Gazette No.67, 12 April 2001, p.1883.
(15) Department of Juvenile Justice, Annual Report, 2006-07, p.57.