Norma Parker Correctional Centre | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Norma Parker Correctional Centre

Item details

Name of item: Norma Parker Correctional Centre
Other name/s: Parramatta Girls Industrial School, Roman Catholic Orphan School; Parramatta Girls Home, Parramatta North Historic Sites
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Gaol/Lock-up
Location: Lat: -33.8049352482 Long: 151.0005916850
Primary address: 1 Fleet Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Local govt. area: Parramatta
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Hectares (approx): 1.15
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP862127
LOT2 DP862127
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Fleet StreetParramattaParramatta  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Corrective Services NSWState Government06 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

The Roman Catholic Orphan School is significant as: a rare example of an institutional building, dating from the 1840s that has undergone little changes in use; an indication of nineteenth century philosophies regarding the care of orphans and the rehabilitation of young offenders; a significant part of one of the few remaining building complexes to be constructed with convict labour; providing an indication of the role of women in Victorian society.
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Henry Ginn
Construction years: 1841-1841
Physical description: The curtilage includes all inner and outer grounds, courtyard and landscaping.

Perimeter walls:
The complex is walled, with a low sandstone and iron picket/pallisade fence to Fleet Street (its 'front'), high brick walls to north, west and southern sides, walling in its rear compound.

A section of western wall, beside the Parramatta River, was damaged by overland flow in the 1980s flood and has been rebuilt in brick.

Much of the complex's detailed gardens have gone, but there remain lawn areas to the front, and in the rear courtyard.
Also remaining and locally prominent are towering significant mature tree plantings, particularly trees such as Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria excelsa), two Bunya pines (A.bidwillii), a hoop pine (A.cunninghamii), jacaranda (J.mimosifolia), fiddlewood (Citharexylon quadrangulare) and others, including shrubs. Between the western-most wing of the rear courtyard and the laundry building is a large old Persian ironwood (Parrottia persica), an uncommon small tree (Stuart Read, 5/6/2018).

Building:
The main building is a three storey sandstone building designed by Henry Ginn in the late nineteenth century. Significant additions were made to this building with a series of wings, iron verandahs facing Fleet Street and walkways added to the rear, forming enclosed informal courtyards. The central walkway in the rear courtyard has a corrugated iron roof over it, and open sides to the courtyard.
Further information: Norma Parker consisted of three separate accommodation areas: Winmill Cottage, Morgan House, and a section located above the facility's offices for women on Work Release. This facility had previously been the Parramatta Girls' Home, housing 'delinquent' young women.
Current use: vacant
Former use: Orphan School, Industrial School, Jail, Correctional Centre

History

Historical notes: Orphan School (1841-86):
The earliest building was commissioned by Governor Bourke, designed by Henry Ginn, built from locally-quarried sandstone using convict labour, to accommodate up to 150 children. It was built in 1841 as Australia's first purpose-built orphanage for Catholic children (PFFP, 2017). The school operated between 1844 and 1886, during which time the wings adjacent and to the rear of the original buildings were built.

By the 1850s it was overcrowded and a building programme saw construction of a West range of buildings, a Chapel, laundry building (further west) and, by 1880, wings added to the main (original 1841) building. After 1859 the institution was known as the Roman Catholic Orphan School (ibid, 2017). Verandahs and iron balustrading were added to the original central building's east side, changing its original severe facade.

The government-owned orphanage was managed by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan (Good Shepherd) from 1859 until it closed in 1886. It admitted boys and girls up to the age of 12 years; in many cases entire families, either because of the death or imprisonment of one or both parents; or as might relieve the distress of a large family; or who had been found living with viciuos or immoral parents. Children were given basic schooling and trained in domestic duties or farmwork and on reaching 12, if not reunited with their parents, were apprenticed out (ibid, 2017).

Girls' Industrial School / Parramatta Girls' Home (1887-1974):
The Roman Catholic Orphan School closed in 1886, and after the erection of a high brick perimeter wall, opened as the Parramatta Girls' Industrial School, taking girls transferred from Biloela (Cockatoo Island) Girls' Industrial School, where it catered for children from 18 months to 16 years of age. This was the principal child welfare institution for girls in New South Wales (ibid, 2017).

Though there were several changes of name, the institution operated for virtually the same purpose till the late twentieth century.

Until 1911 boys up to 7 years of age were also kept at Parramatta and after 1975, boys 11 to 15 years old were sent here when operating as Taldree Childrens' Shelter. With the introduction of new childrens' 'Homes' after 1910, Parramatta limited its intake to girls aged 10 to 18 years (ibid, 2017).

Conditions within this institution were draconian and punitive with an emphasis on training girls for domestic service. 19th century routines and discipline remained in place until its closure in the 1970s. Riots were frequent with inquiries recommending its closure never acted upon; rather more stringent measures were introduced, culminating in the establishment of a maximum security annex at Hay (Gaol) in 1961 for girls considered in need of extra 'training' (ibid, 2017).

There was little change to the buildings on the site until construction of a new hospital in the 1930s and new school rooms in the 1960s. Several small early buildings were demolished in the 1960s.

Following protests by the Womens' Movement in 1973-74 the institution ceased operating as the Parramatta Girls' Home and was re-established as Kamballa (Girls) and Taldree (Boys) Children's Shelter (ibid, 2017).

In 1980 the old 'home' main section, West range and Laundry was acquired by Department of Corrective Services and established as the Norma Parker Detention Centre for females (ibid, 2017), a women's prison. Norma Parker was a highly-regarded social worker. In 1984 major alterations were carried out to the main block of the Centre to upgrade fire egress.

The remaining southern portion continued from 1980 as Kamballa - serving as administrative offices for the Department of Community Services until 2010 (ibid, 2017).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Parramatta River-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Aboriginal Culture-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Irish religious practices - Catholicism-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Controlling ethnicity through detention and imprisonment-
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 of institutions - productive and ornamental-
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 demonstrating styles in landscape design-
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 parklands of distinctive styles-
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. Accommodating prisoners and internees-
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. Accommodating students in boarding schools-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal 1820s-1850s land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Alienating Crown Lands for religious purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th century suburban developments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Subdivision of rural estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in suburban settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Institutions-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Supporting women with domestic work-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Vocational training as a form of social rehabilitation-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working at enforced labour-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in the Justice System-Includes work practices and organised labour.
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Education associated with Welfare institutions-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private education-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private (religious) schooling-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Catholic school-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Educating people in suburban locations-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Industry training and education-
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. Colonial 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 - administering the justice system-
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 - jailing prisoners-
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 Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes (none)-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes The rule of law-
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 Incarcerating prisoners-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Corrective services-
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 Destitute and alone-
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-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations rehabilitation of female offenders-
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 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 first time male offenders-
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. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an historical society or heritage organisation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Participating in women's organisations-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing and maintaining a local museum-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The group of buildings built between 1841 and 1882, making up the Roman Catholic Orphanage, were home to generations of young children aged from 3 to 18, from 1844 until its forced closure in 1886.

The site is a key element in an important historic precinct of Parramatta, that extends from the former Government House and domain at one end to the Parramatta Gaol at the other, with the Parramatta River as the common boundary and government/institutional use as the common theme.

The founding of the Roman Catholic Orphanage was a direct result of the reforms of Governor Sir Richard Bourke, whose Church Act of 1836 broke the monopoly which the Church of England had enjoyed on government support. It was also a key factor in the rationalisation of the orphanage system, whereby these institutions became denominational rather than gender specific; the former Female Orphanage at Rydalmere becoming a Protestant Orphanage in 1850.

The development of the orphanage documents a history of tension and recrimination between the Catholic Church and the State over finances and administration, climaxing in the closure of the school and a bitter dispute between Bishop Moran and the Government over the ownership of the property.

The question of the role of church and state in welfare would continue to be a divisive issue in Australian politics until well into the 20th century.

The NSW government subsequently used the buildings as an industrial school for girls. In this capacity, the Parramatta institution was the major institution for delinquent girls in NSW during the 19th and 20th centuries.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The central wing of the main building built 1841-43 is the work of Henry Ginn, of the Colonial Engineers, later to become the first Colonial Architect of Victoria. Ginn was also responsible for the design of the Garrison Church at The Rocks and was the protégé of Col. George Barney.

It was a plain rather austere colonial Georgian structure of the barracks style, built using convict labour in ashlar sandstone with a well-proportioned façade of three stories, divided into a three-part "Palladian" composition by a string course moulding at first floor level and a clever variation in window openings between floors. Ground floor windows have arched heads and splayed reveals. The classically-inspired entrance portico is the main architectural feature of what is a very basic, utilitarian building with the closing in of the portico and the addition of verandahs at the two upper levels, very little of the original façade can still be appreciated.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Roman Catholic orphanage at Parramatta superseded an earlier Catholic Orphanage at Waverley established in 1837 after a vote of 600 pounds per annum was given the previous year by the Legislative Council.

In its design and planning, the Roman Catholic Orphanage Society reflects current social attitudes to such institutions. Its development over a period of 42 years chronicles the changes in such attitudes.

The need for such orphanages arose from the social problems of early Colonial NSW; broken families through imprisonment of either parent; reunion of emancipated convicts with their British families; abandonment of illegitimate children, incarceration of the mother in the nearby Female Factory; and, in the 1850s, the desertion of fathers to the goldfields.

Following the occupation of the orphanage in 1844, additional land was granted to the trustees in 1849, 1853 and 1864-65. All of this land was previously part of the Governor's Domain, Parramatta, which was progressively reduced in size, following the compaction of the new Government House, Sydney in 1845.

The number of children in the orphanage grew from 113 in 1844 to 331 in 1873, at which time there was accommodation for only 250. The constant battle for funds to maintain the institution and expand to meet growing demands, led to overcrowding and buildings in a poor state of repair. This, combined with more stringent government regulation ultimately led to the demise of the orphanage in 1886.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Ginn Building displays evidence of early colonial construction and engineering techniques.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Norma Parker is the oldest surviving purpose built Catholic Orphanage in NSW; the only surviving example of the secular work of Henry Ginn in NSW; and the only surviving example of a 19th century Industrial School in NSW.
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.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementConsolidated Conservation Management Plan Parramatta North Historic Sites - Cumberland District Hospital Group/ Norma Parker Correctional Centre/ Parramatta Correctional Centre  
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementCMP for North Parramatta Government Sites adopted with revisions Heritage Council State Heritage Register Committee endorsed the CMP subject to revisions to the satisfaction of the Director, Heritage Office, for a period of 5 years (expires 18/5/2005). May 18 2000
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 0081102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental PlanParramatta Girls’ Training School (Norma Parker CoI00811   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Department of Corrective Services: Interim Heritage and Conservation Register1995039State Projects Heritage Group  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBosworth, Tony2017'Heritage Precinct sold for just $1 - land transferred to UrbanGrowth as apartment development looms'
WrittenDepartment of Public Works and Services1985Roman Catholic Orphan School Conservation Study
WrittenGeoffrey Britton & Colleen Morris1999North Parramatta Government Sites Landscape Conservation Plan
WrittenHeritage Group, Department of Public Works and Services1997Norma Parker Centre, Parramatta Conservation Plan
WrittenHeritage Group, Design Services, Department of Public Works & Services2000North Parramatta Government Sites Conservation Management Plan
WrittenParramatta Female Factory Project2013Parramatta Female Factory Memory Project View detail
WrittenParramatta Female Factory Project / Parragirls2017Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Historic Core
WrittenPerumal Murphy Alessi, Edward Higginbotham & Associates, Geoffrey Britton, Terry Kass2010Cumberland Hospital East Campus & Wistaria Gardens, CMP & Archaeological Management Plan
WrittenState Projects Heritage Group1995Department of Corrective Service: Interim Heritage and Conservation Register

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: 5012148
File number: 09/2787; H98/242; H00/112


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