The premises located on Glebe Point Road and known as "Bidura" was built in the mid 19th Century, probably designed by Edmund Thomas Blacket the Colonial Architect to be his family home.(1) In the State Children Relief Board Report for 1920, it was noted that Ministerial approval had been given for the purchase of the premises at Glebe Point, to be utilised as a depot for State Children. It was anticipated that this would relieve the congestion at Ormond House.(2)
By 1939 Bidura housed boys up to 6 years of age and girls up to 18 years, with an attached school operated by a governess. From 1945 appointments from other Institutions were made, and in 1954 the appointment of an Education Officer allowed the commencement of twice weekly evening classes. In 1958 a new two room school building was completed, with an Education Department Headmistress assisted by an Education Officer as the teaching staff.(3)
Bidura operated as a receiving home where children were temporarily accommodated awaiting placement in foster homes or awaiting transfer to other establishments - in transit from foster homes to hospitals or other foster homes.(4) Due to high numbers and subsequent overcrowding at Bidura, "Thornbury Lodge" at Baulkham Hills had been acquired by June 1958, with the purpose of increasing reception facilities. (5)
Bidura was closed in February 1977 (6), with sketch plans completed for the Metropolitan Remand Centre - to include a court, a clinic, educational, residential, and segregation facilites, to replace the existing resources on the site.(7)
1. Brian Boyle, The Child Welfare Schools: recollections of these unique schools and the men and women who taught in them often under considerable difficulty. Unpublished typescript, 1996 (held by State Records Library), p.346.
2. Parliamentary Papers 1920, 2nd Session, Vol 2, State Children Relief Board, Report of the President, Alfred William Green, for the year ended 5 April 1920, p.890.
3. Boyle, op. cit. p.346.
4. Parliamentary Papers 1958, 4th Session, Vol 1, Child Welfare Department, Report for the year ended 30 June 1958, p.343.
5. ibid., p.338.
6. Parliamentary Papers 1978-79, Vol 5, Report of the Department of Youth and Community Services for the year ended 30 June 1978, p.1371.
7. ibid., p.1332.