Parramatta Girls Home was established in the former premises of the Roman Catholic Orphan School and was the third in a succession of child-welfare institutions for girls. Australia's first industrial school for girls was established in 1867 in the former military barracks at Newcastle and was known as the "Newcastle Industrial School and Reformatory for Girls". In 1871, the Newcastle school closed and the remaining inmates were transferred to a new facility established on Cockatoo Island known as the "Biloela Industrial School". It operated until 1887.
The Parramatta Girls Home served the dual purpose of both a reformatory and training school, with girls committed to the institution on "complaints" under the Child Welfare Act 1939 (NSW) as "delinquent" — uncontrollable, absconding from proper custody, breached probation; "neglected" — exposed to moral danger, no fixed place of abode and destitute, improper guardianship, truant; or "offences juvenile offenders, Crimes Act" — stealing, assaults, robbery, murder, sex offences, malicious damage.
"Kamballa Reserve" on which the Orphanage stands listed at the Upper House Crown Land Inquiry of Crown Land 2016 Inara Molinari says this:
"Lot 2 DP862127 subject to the proposal is in fact Crown Land – the Kamballa Reserve Trust (No: D1002899) [Annexure B, Title Search, herein after referred to as Kamballa]. The Executive Summary exhibited by the Department of Planning for UGNSW in 2014 purported to identify the landowners (p.29). Unlike
Parramatta Park, this Lot was not described as Crown Land. (Annexure C, Table of Legal Description and Land Ownership) • Only by searching the Government Gazettes, did I learn that Kamballa was dedicated in 1907 as an Industrial School AND that management of Kamballa is through the Land Administration Ministerial
Corporation, a statutory body representing the Crown AND further o that the Officers in the Crown Lands Office could only tell me that the last known/recorded lease was in 2007 to “Children’s Services”. • I am personally aware that certain buildings on this Lot are currently leased (sub-‐let?) to the Parramatta Men’s Shed and Parra Girls/Memory Project. As to whether this was put to public tender I am not aware. Transparent details are lacking regarding the term of these leases".
Photograph courtesy Gregory Davis