Wednesday 21 August 2013

A Chronological History of the Parramatta Female Orphan School

Female orphan School, Parramatta, 1870-1875, photographer American & Australasian Photographic Company

1791    60 acres allotted to Surgeon Thomas Arndell on north bank of Parramatta River, 
             east of Rose Hill (Parramatta).

1810  150 acres set aside for an Orphan School at Arthur’s Hill encompassing the former Arndell estate.

1813    Tenders for timber and bricks were called.

1813    September 24th Governor Macquarie formally lays Orphanage Foundation stone.

1814    Brickwork and roofing nearly completed on main building.

1816    Mrs Macquarie appointed Orphanage Patroness.

1817    School stated to be complete.

1818   30th June Government boats deliver 70 girls, and Matron and Master to Orphan School.  Governor limits number of girl residents to 100.  First extension of east and west wing commenced.

1819    Site still requires out buildings, bakery and stables.

1820  Plan of improvements corrected and approved; Francis Greenway to advertise for contracts to construct Matron’s room and school room.

1821    Mrs Macquarie requests extra improvements including projecting outside caps for school room windows, hut and gardener, and workman’s hut.

1822  Very little work done on buildings, Watkin to be sued and Mr Smith to estimate cost of completion.  Greenway’s services to be dispensed with, and painting and glazing tenders requested.

1823    Smith presents bill for his completed work.  Buildings to be “whitewashed”.

1825  Insufficient supply of water noted, poor drainage and brick arches said to be dangerous.  Pine joinery decaying.  Room in east wing adapted to laundry, store converted to washing house and brick wall built in playground.  December work said to have “considerably progressed”.

1826  Payments were made for 2180 ft. of chiselled flagging, the veranda in the rear of the main building, brickwork in the servants’ rooms, stables and corn house, window sills and carpenters’ work.

1827    Engine House plans prepared by Busby and Brown.  Fire in chimney damages roof.

1828   The “new building” intended to house male and female orphan schools, although the co-educational scheme was not proceeded with.

1829    Tender for new kitchen and three cells adjoining submitted.

1830  Repairs to boat house and a tender for a wharf called for.  Extensions to the east and west wings were made.

1831    Dam completed on site. Repairs to cesspool, drain and gutters completed.

1833    Building referred to as “hansom and commodious”.

1840    Whitewashing completed on main building.

1850    Male Orphan School at Cabramatta closes and boys are moved to the Female Orphan School at Parramatta.

1854    Orphan School Hospital and sheds erected.

1865    Drill Master’s residence likely to have been built.

1870    Plans for additions to hospital veranda, bathroom and school rooms submitted.

1877    Roof stated to be in “bad repair”.

1880    Master’s residence constructed.

1882    forty bed dormitory added to west wing.

1888  Buildings handed over to department of Lunacy, and become the Parramatta Hospital for the Insane.

1892    Stable for Medical Superintendent (wooden) shingled and terra-cotta erected.

1893    Survey of site completed.

1894    Front porch rebuilt on main building.

1895    Boat shed and landing area constructed.

1904    Balustrade added to wings to make two levels.  Second storey added to school block.

1905   Additions to Central block – back stairs added, connecting passageways to both wings.

1907    Water closet and enclosed veranda to orphan school buildings.

1931    Second floor added to block adjoining east wing.

1938    Verandas enclosed.

1954   Additional level to back stairs block on centre wing to allow for hot water system boiler in shed at its base added.

1975    The School was listed by the National Trust

1980    The psychiatric hospital vacates premises.

1995    The building were formally re-opened as the University of Western Sydney

2012    Fund the restoration of the East Wing of the Female Orphan School at the University of Western Sydney


·    Parramatta Correctional Centre its past development and future care. Kerr, J. DPCS, Sydney, 1995
·     Out of Sight, out of Mind - Australia's places of confinement, 1788-1988, Kerr, J. S.H. Ervin Gallery,Sydney, 1988
·   With Just but relentless discipline - a social history of Corrective Services in New South Wales, Ramsland, J. Kangaroo, Kenthurst, 1996
·     A Merciless Place - the story of Britain's convict disaster in Africa and how it led to the settlement of Australia. Christopher, E. Allen & Unwin 2010

·     Parramatta A Past Revealed. Terry Kass et al, Parramatta City Council, 1996

Neera Sahni, Local Studies leader, Parramatta Heritage Centre, Parramatta Council, 2013

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