Bidura House Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Bidura House Group

Item details

Name of item: Bidura House Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.876366 Long: 151.184708
Primary address: 357 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW 2037
Parish: St Andrew
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1  64069

Boundary:

The south eastern portion of the legal allotment, including Bidura House, annex, ballroom and remnant landscape.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
357 Glebe Point RoadGlebeSydneySt AndrewCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The Bidura House Group is of state heritage significance as a key point in a broader network of places associated with child welfare and juvenile justice in NSW. It functioned from 1920-1977 as the NSW receiving home, under various names. It is of state historical significance as during this period all wards of the state came to Bidura House before being fostered out or transferred to other institutions. It also functioned between 1920 and the 1940s as accommodation for children on remand awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Children’s Court. It is therefore historically and socially significant for its impact on children and their families who were affected by child welfare and juvenile justice systems including the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations for a period of almost sixty years. Bidura House Group is also of state significance aesthetically as a good example of Victorian regency design, and via its strong association with prominent NSW architect Edmund Blacket.
Date significance updated: 10 Mar 17
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Edmund Thomas Blacket
Construction years: 1860-
Physical description: The following description has been summarised from the 2015 Conservation Management Plan by Graham Books and Associates Pty Ltd.

Landscape
The street frontage is delineated by a timber picket fence. The landscaped area at the front of the Bidura House group is a notable feature of the site, where the early carriageway alignment, garden layout, lawns, and stone retaining wall form a fine urban setting for the early residence.
There are several mature trees located near the street frontage and to the immediate rear of the residence.

Bidura House Exterior
The front and rear facades of this three-storey Victorian Regency house feature the symmetry characteristic of the style, as evident in the overall rectangular form, the hipped roof and the arrangement of chimneys, windows, doors and verandas. On both sides, however, the addition of windows has produced a less symmetrical appearance.
The external walls are of rendered, coursed and painted brick. The double-hung windows are timber, with external timber louvred shutters. The roof is clad in slate with decorative eaves brackets and patinated copper gutters, and features a central valley which appears to spill into a rainwater head on the north-western facade.
On either side of the house stand two tall chimneys with corbelled cornices and metal chimney pots.

Bidura House Interior
On the ground floor a wide partly glazed front door with sidelights and highlights opens into a central entrance hall with a marble and slate floor and a secondary hall with polished non-original timber flooring beyond. Off the main hall lie a square room on the north-west side and a larger rectangular room on the south-east. Off the second hall is another square room to the north-west and a rectangular room to the south-east.
At the north-west end of the second hall is the main timber staircase, with simple timber balusters and a timber handrail.
The rooms have plastered walls and chimney breasts and, excepting the front north-west room where the chimney has been bricked up, metal fireplaces with marble mantels and slate hearths. All have ornate cornices, picture rails, high skirting boards with moulded tops, wide architraves and four-panel doors. Although high ceilings with ornate ceiling roses are found in every room, the ceilings themselves are contemporary and plain, with inset downlights. The western corner room has a non-original polished timber floor; the other three rooms are carpeted.
The current colour scheme uses shades in the pink-orange spectrum for detailing as well as green in the cornices, with a softer beige for the walls.
The first floor features three square rooms and, in the southern corner, a larger rectangular room echoing that below. To the north-east of the central landing are a toilet and handwashing area fitted and tiled in relatively contemporary style, while the parallel area to the south-west is occupied by a storeroom. The four main rooms are fitted as on the ground floor; in this case it is the large southern corner room whose chimney breast has been bricked up rather than featuring a fireplace. The south-western wall of the stairwell shows patching from removal of the stairs once leading up to the 'Matron's WC'.
The current colour scheme is generally more muted than that of the ground floor.
The lower ground or basement level, once comprised mainly of working areas, has square areas in three corners and a larger rectangular room in the eastern corner, echoing that on the ground floor. These have been divided to create a passage to the Annexe, two toilets and cleaner's store. The wall originally dividing the larger area into two rooms (scullery and perhaps pantry) has been largely removed to form one room. At the bottom of the stairwell is a possibly original tongue and groove timber door with long strap hinges, leading to the outside. Opposite the stairs across the central hallway is a narrow contemporary kitchen and between the southern and western corner rooms is a narrow storeroom.
Walls are painted brick, except the larger eastern corner room which is plastered. Some original doorways are flat-arched. Cornices and other details are absent and the contemporary, plain ceilings are notably lower than in upper storeys. A variety of contemporary services have been fixed to walls and ceilings and in some places penetrate brick walls. One pane of a window on the north-west side has been removed to accommodate computer cabling. Floors are mostly vinyl or carpet; the WC and cleaner's store is ceramic-tiled.
The current colour scheme is a relatively simply one based on cream and green.
Annex Exterior
The annex is a one-storey rectangular structure at basement level with double hung windows and a hipped slate roof. A front veranda with timber posts and striped corrugated metal roof opens onto small grassed courtyard to the south-west. The external walls are rendered, coursed and painted brick. The outlines of a bricked up archway in the south-western wall are evident.
Annex Interior

The interior consists of one large room.Timber architraves, skirting, etc are simple and contemporary, as are the ceiling and cornices. Exterior doors are partly glazed. Lighting is contemporary, as are the ceiling fans. The floors are carpeted and the colour scheme simple and muted.

Ballroom Exterior

The Ballroom is a separate Victorian Italianate building connected to the main residence by a covered way roofed in striped, vaulted corrugated metal. The external walls are coursed, rendered and painted brick featuring ornate cornices at ceiling and roof height and parapet walls castellated at the north-western and southwestern sides.
At the front (south-western) facade is a Vestibule annex with double timber panelled entrance doors at the north-west and two double-hung windows to the south-west. The main building has two (original) pairs of double-hung windows to the north-west and four (non-original) double-hung windows and a small highly-placed central window to the north-east.
Behind the parapet walls, Ballroom and Vestibule have metal butterfly roofs falling to a shared central box gutter spilling into a large rainwater head located on the northern external wall. The truncated remains of a chimney on the south-eastern wall are visible from above.

Ballroom Interior
The Ballroom interior consists of a large single space with a high, timbered and decorated ceiling including an ornate ceiling rose and highly ornate cornices. The walls are plastered and painted, with a simple picture rail and double-height skirting boards with moulded tops. The fireplace in the chimney breast on the south-eastern wall has been bricked up. Timber floors may be partly original and have been carpeted.
The Vestibule has been treated similarly, though the floor finish is vinyl. Two tall arches between the Vestibule and Ballroom spaces have cornices at springing point. Some original ventilation grilles are evident.
Modifications and dates: -c. 1860 Construction of existing residence, probably including side annex, by Edmund Thomas Blacket.
-1870-1876 Probable addition of Ballroom by Robert Fitz Stubbs
-By 1876 Addition of the Ballroom and its vestibule, connected to residence by covered way, and (in rear addition) a billiardroom, day nursery and bedroom, detached kitchen, scullery, servants' hall, store, servants' bedroom, laundry and ironing room and 2 servants' bedrooms, and at the rear of the property, a workshop, tool house, two bedrooms, garden-house, carriage house, gighouse, stables, horse-boxes, hay-room, and several out-buildings.
-By 1889 Construction of apparent semi-detached houses in northern corner of site. Formal subdivision took place in 1904.
-Early 1920s Adaptation of c.1860 buildings for use as Depot for State Children, including conversion of bedrooms to dormitories, conversion of ballroom to school room, conversion of ballroom rear addition to store; and partial infill of residence front veranda (north end) for office.
-1925 Likely demolition of stables. Construction of the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter.
-1930s-40s Demolition of rear addition to onetime ballroom.
-1940s Construction of new Store and Air Raid Shelter.
-Late 1950s Construction of School building. Alterations to residence, including: division of Dining Room into bathroom and passage, internal fitout of bathroom, conversion of store to bathroom and bathroom to store, conversion of sitting room to locker room; infill of back veranda, conversion to WCs, blocking up of window and opening, conversion of window to door, removal of internal annex walls to create one space, new windows to side and rear of annex, division of Matron's bedroom into staff dining room with new window and medical room with new sink; conversion of dining room to dormitory with new windows to south-east wall, conversion of ballroom/school to dormitory with new windows to south-east wall, new WC in south corner, vestibule converted to dental examination room with sink, new external door in south-west wall with hood over, modification of doors and partitions at stairs, modifications to existing Matron's WC on stair landing, including installation of shower, division of large dormitory into two staff bedrooms with new window to south-east wall.
-1960s Conversion of Store to children's and staff dining facilities.
-Early 1970s Construction of new classroom building.
-By 1978 Demolition of all site buildings except residence, annex and ballroom.
-1980-1983 Construction of Metropolitan Remand Centre building. Restoration of Bidura House and Ballroom.
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, private home, orphanage, girls shelter, offices

History

Historical notes: The following historical overview has been summarised from the 2015 Conservation Management Plan by Graham Books and Associates Pty Ltd.

Phase 1: Eora Nation
-The original inhabitants of the Sydney city region are the Gadigal people.
-Despite the destructive impact of first contact, Gadigal culture and connections in Glebe endure.
-In addition to the Gadigal, Aboriginal people from elsewhere gradually moved into Glebe as it developed into an inner Sydney suburb.

Phase 2: European Land Grants and Subdivision
-The subject site is on land that was part of a 1790 grant of 400 acres (162 hectares) by Governor Phillip to the Church of England, officially named St Phillip's Glebe but known as 'the Glebe'.
-When the church reserve was subdivided into 27 allotments in 1828, Lots 3 and 4 of the subdivision were purchased by William Dumaresq, a captain in the Royal Staff Corps.
-Dumaresq first subdivided his land as the 'Boissier Estate' in 1840 with Lots 1 and 2 purchased by businessman Stuart Alexander Donaldson in 1841.

Phase 3: Victorian Residence 1858-1920
-The property was purchased by prominent colonial architect, Edmund Blacket, as family home while he was working on the University of Sydney in 1857. The landscape was still largely covered in dense bush at this time and Blacket is recorded to have "found it necessary to have four men to escort him home through the heavy timber after a day's work at his city office", along the track that became Ferry Road.
-Blackett built the two storey house and single storey annex c1860.
-Sketches of the building, dating from 1865, and likely drawn by his daughter Edith label the building "Our House".
-Blacket sold the house following the death of his wife Sarah in 1870.
-Ballroom constructed by subsequent owner, Robert Fitz Stubbs, in the 1870s.
-The extensive rear garden contained a number of outbuildings including a detached kitchen, scullery, servants' hall, store, servant's bedrooms, laundry and ironing room, workshop, tool house, two bedrooms, garden-house, carriage house, stables, and horse-boxes.
-In 1904, the northern corner of the property was subdivided and sold by subsequent owner, Frederick John Perks.

Phase 4: Joint welfare and judicial role 1920-1925
-In 1920 the site purchased by the NSW Government for use as accommodation for wards of the state. Children lived and were schooled on site.
-Originally called the Depot for State Children, but also known as Bidura Orphanage or Glebe Girls Home.
-The site originally had two functions:
1.as a receiving home: all wards of the state come to Bidura for processing after they had been removed from their families
2.as a remand facility: it also housed children awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Children's Court.
-At the time, under this dual function a common 'child saving' objective saw children who had committed crimes, those who were neglected or abandoned, those who were from single parent families, or had Aboriginal parents, and those who were simply poor processed in the same way.
-The site was the central point of child welfare in NSW, being the first place most children saw after they were taken from their families and the transit point for their referral to other institutions or programs. As a result, this was the place many members of the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations entered 'care'.

Phase 5: Development of the Metropolitan Girls Shelter 1925-1940s.
-From 1925, the two functions began to be separated when the NSW Government reorganised its approach to child justice institutions.
-The government moved the Children's Court from Paddington to Surry Hills, and established two designated sites to house children awaiting trial-a nearby property, Royleston, was designated for use as the Metropolitan Boys shelter and a new building, the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter, was constructed fronting Avon Street at the rear of Bidura House.
-Both Bidura and the Girls Shelter operated on the subject site under the same administration and appear to have shared facilities for the first few decades, with the entire site known as the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter until the 1940s.
-The site as a whole was notoriously known as a place where cruelty and abuse were an everyday occurrence. This has caused significant ongoing distress and associated health and social problems for the former residents and their families, as specifically recognised in the Forgotten Australian's report of 2004.

Phase 6: Separation of Bidura and Metropolitan Girls Shelter 1940-1977.
-By 1943 the Victorian house group was simply known as Bidura and appears to have been both administratively and physically separated from the Metropolitan Girls Shelter fronting Avon Street.
-The site was subject to protests by Women's Liberationists in the 1970s for the plight of female residents.
-Adaptation of all buildings and erection of additional outbuildings was undertaken in line with shifts in thinking, for example changing of open dormitories to single rooms, and adaptation of the ballroom for use as a school.

Phase 7: Establishment of Offices late 1970s-present.
-Bidura closed as a residential facility in 1976/77 and the house was restored by the Department of Public Works and used as office space for what is now known as the Department of Family and Community Services.
-Restoration works included demolition of the rear veranda and construction of a new one, removal of non-original internal partitioning and repartitioning of some areas for new purposes, reinstatement of some infilled openings and bricking up of others, replacement or removal of bathroom and kitchen fitouts, replacement of timber windows and doors, installation of new electrical, lighting and ventilation services.
-The site was sold into private ownership in 2014, with the Department of Justice planned to vacate in 2017.

This institutional history of Bidura has been recognised by Federal and State governments through a series of reports. The National Museum of Australia's Inside exhibition, (promised in the National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants delivered by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 16 November 2009 in Canberra) notes that three Senate reports (The Bringing Them Home report of 1998, the Lost Innocents report of 2001, and the Forgotten Australians report of 2004) were undertaken following pressure from interest groups for the government to put on record the histories that had been hidden or unrecognised. The reports acknowledged that children had experienced systems of 'care' and social attitudes that had utterly failed to protect them. It also notes that the places associated with these Australians, like the Bidura House Group, despite being adaptively reused for other purposes, or left derelict or demolished, continue to be repositories of these historic events and connections.

In 2016 local heritage groups pushed to save Bidura, which led to the NSW Land & Environment Court rejecting a refusal of a DA by Sydney City Council for a proposed $43m redevelopment of the rear or the property, involving the five-storey 1983 Brutalist style court building as well as Bidura house and garden. Two apartment blocks were proposed, up to 8 storeys high, behind (east of) the villa, which was proposed for retail and office use. In early 2017 the developer lodged an amended $29m DA proposing one seven-storey apartment building, which is now before the court for hearing in November, or full hearing in February 2018 (O'Rourke, 2017, 22).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and gardens of domestic accommodation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. housing (suburbs)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Gentlemens Villas-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing townsfolk - urban villas-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing professional people-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Adapted heritage building or structure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Architectural design-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing public servants and officials-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing famous families-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - caring for orphans-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - providing community facilities-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes court house-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Administration of justice-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Detaining young offenders-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Detaining young offenders-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Children in need-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Children in need-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Providing a home for disadvantaged children-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Rehabilitation of truants from schools-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Rehabilitation of juvenile offenders-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Providing training for destitute boys-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Federation period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to climate - verandahs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Regency Revival-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Victorian gardenesque style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in suburbia-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a new house-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edmund Blacket, Government Architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Bidura House Group is of historical significance at a state level as a key point in a broader network of places associated with child welfare and juvenile justice in NSW.
It functioned from 1920-1977 as child accommodation. During this period all wards of the state came to Bidura House before being fostered out or transferred to other institutions. It also functioned between 1920 and the 1940s as accommodation for children on remand awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Children’s Court.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The building is associated with prominent colonial architect Edmund Thomas Blacket who purchased the site in 1857, built the regency-style residence, Bidura, c.1860 and lived there with his family until 1870.

The site has been occupied by various government child welfare and juvenile justice institutions, including the Depot for State Children, Glebe Girls’ Home, Glebe Orphanage, Metropolitan Shelter for Girls, and the Department of Family and Community Services over a period of 96 years. As the first place most children were housed after being removed from their families before their referral to other institutions, this was the place many members of the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations entered 'care'. As such, Bidura has strong associations with these groups.

The site is also associated with mid-20th century feminist movement. In the 1970s, Bidura House, along with Parramatta Girls' Home and Hay Institution for Girls, were targeted by Bessie Guthrie and activists from the Women's Liberation movement for abuses against young women.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The precinct is socially significant for its impact on NSW children and their families who were affected by the juvenile justice system including the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations. Its importance is indicated by attention given to the site in publications such as the Forgotten Australians Report, the Find & Connect web resource on institutional ‘care’ in Australia, the National Library of Australia’s Forgotten Australians and former child migrants oral history project and the Sydney Barani website. It continues to be a focal point for campaigns recognising the history of abuse in child institutions such as the ‘Loud Fence’ Campaign in 2016.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site is of potential technical significance at a state level as its fabric provides evidence of the conditions experienced in children's homes and remand facilities from the 1920s to the 1980s. The buildings together with descriptions of their former use, provide an insight into the processing, domestic routine and methods employed in the treatment of NSW minors in the state system. Many of the oral histories of former residents describe the routine at these institutions. Evidence of the various alterations and additions undertaken over time reflect changing philosophies and practises such as partitions which show the shift from open dormitories to single rooms at Bidura house.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The site is rare within NSW as a State children’s welfare facility which operated continuously from the 1920s to the late 1970s, showing, through its modifications, changing philosophies of child welfare over time.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Though modest in its detailing, the form, design and main elements of Bidura House make it a good example of upper-middle-class Victorian Regency residential architecture. The Ballroom is a simple example of the Victorian Italianate style.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0199428 Aug 17 2017-954586

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGraham Brooks and Associates Pty Ltd2015Conservation Management Plan - 357 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
ElectronicNSW Government Gazette2017NSW Government Gazette View detail
WrittenO'Rourke, Jim2017'Heritage Protection for Bidura - children's court left out of listing'

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5063601
File number: EF16/2939


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