Ginkgo Tree frames historic Female Orphan Institute at Parramatta, NSW

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Comments (3)

stevejm on January 26, 2008

This has been inaccurately taged. The photo is actually of Marsden House, it stands on the grounds of the former Rydalmere psychiatric hospital, it was built to house 'orphan' boys, not girls. As someone who worked at the hospital its history was familiar to us all. I have seen the original ledger of admissions from its very first orphan and there were no girls.

Ian Stehbens on January 26, 2008

Dear Steve,

Thanks for sharing your expereince and knowledge. If you are willing, I think we may learn together, some more of the history of this building.

As you are someone who worked there, it will be good to learn from your experience and your perceptions. I am sure that what you say has truth. I am not an authority on this building, though I have read some of the historical papers.

Currently the eastern and western wings of this building are undergoing restoration, the centre section that has been photographed was restored a few years ago. I am sure you would enjoy a visit if you haven't already been there recently.

The building was built as a "Female Orphan Institution. Erected under the superintendence of the Revd S Marsden. 1814. L Macquarie Governor". [I am quoting from the founders' plaque on the building.]

To help you in this discussion, my understanding is that the orphan boys were provided for at The Orphan School on Orphan School Creek, Cabramatta. When that was closed, boys then took up residency at the Female Orphan Institution which, I believe, was renamed Marsden House.

There is a local historian who is an authority on this history, and she may be identified through, say, Parramatta Heritage Centre in Church Street.

I do not believe that very much if any of the early registers exist. What you may have seen is the orignal register of Marsden House.

May I therefore suggest that there may be a whole layer of history before that to which you validly refer.

May we leave these communications here for a while in the hope that it becomes a forum in which more of this remarkable building's history is revealed.



PS: A photograph of the founders plaque is available in my folio: this is simply a copy of the engraved stone work on the apex of the building's facade.

Ian Stehbens on November 17, 2008


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 11, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens