357 Glebe Point Road
1858 – 60. Architect Edmund Blacket. Classified by The National Trust
This handsome villa was the home of Edmund Blacket while he was designing the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. The walls are of handmade bricks, rendered to gve the appearance of stone coursing. It has an attached single-storey verandah of decorative cast iron.
NSW State Records show that the NSW Government purchased the property in about 1920, “to be used as a depot for State Children. By 1939 Bidura housed boys up to 6 yrs of age and girls up to 18 yrs, with an attached school operated by a governess. Bidura operated as a receiving home where children were temporarily accommodated awaiting placement in foster homes or awaiting transfer to other establishments.” It ceased functioning as a children’s home in February 1977, when it was planned to build the Metropolitan Remand Centre and Bidura Childrens Court at the rear.
Bidura was restored by NSW Public Works in the 1980s. It has a fine ballroom located separately to the right of the main building. Bidura House has been occupied since about 2000 by the DoCS Centre for Parenting and Research.
Bidura can be visited on the Glebe Early Architects Walk.
If you are a former resident of Bidura and need support, contact CLAN.
137 comments. Please add yours.
My dad, brother Ron and sisters June, Dulcie and (?), surname Finn, late 1930s, 1940s, Bidura and brothers ended up at Royleston. According to my dad Kevin Finn (deceased), all suffered sexualising and other abuse at Bidura and brothers at Royleston. My Dad kept running away from Royleston and told police of the sexualising abuse he and his brother received at the hands of at least one of his ‘carer’ staff, by the name of Butts or name si.ilar to that. Royleston eventually gave up with my dad and sent him to some kind of farm, NSW South Coast….Berry ? He ran away from there and given a choice of a permanent ‘reallocation’ to a farm on the south coast or to a sheep station near Booligal, south west NSW. He chose the latter and remained there for many years years.
Does anyone know about this abuser, Burt’s and what ended up happening to him? My Dad and his siblings, all dead now, passed away before the conclusion of the Royal Commission and he and his siblings never received even so much as an apology for the treatment and abuse they received at the hands of the state.
If there is anyone who went through the humiliating medical by ‘Doctor Fingers’ at Minda Detention Centre, could you please contact me email@example.com. I am a former ward who survived the brutality of Bidura and Lynwood Hall. Thankyou.
Hello..i was placed here with my sister in 1953 and was fostered out 1954..i was wondering if there are any photos taken during this period..i dont have much recollection of my time there..thank you.
Think I was in this shelter anyone remember a large laundry attached at the back Barb wire around worked long hours in there.
Has anyone started a class action against BIDURA as a state ward, punishment was unacceptable, and the government should be held responsible???
I’ve been doing some family history, and I have discovered my mother, Sandra Mayhew, was deputy matron of Bidura, for sure in 1968 but perhaps before and after then. If you have information you’d like to share about that time, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forgot to mention – it was in the early 50’s and it is comment 46 not 45
I am responding to comment 45. Comment by milena on March 17, 2013 at 4:16 am:
My Mum was in Bidura at about the same time as you. Can you please contact me.
My Nan’s name is Betty welsh she was born in 1938 from Newtown.her mums name was ruby welsh but her dad is unknown,she had a sister named qwen welsh not sure if that’s the correct spelling but she never spoke about her past and now are trying to find her history,she passed away about two years ago but Me and my mum are curious about her history and her family. Please if anybody’s know anything about her or her sister please email me email@example.com much appreciated
Hallo to so many children displaced from family for or from better or worse either way we were abducted and inducted into P.O.M.E holdings. Black-white- brindle “State Wards” me I became so in September 1952, a displaced Italian born ISTRIAN, age 16-arrived to Australia December 1949 with father, in 1952 I became orphaned (I had mother and younger sister in ex home village which became Yugoslav in 1946 War acquisition.) no other relative in Australia that I knew of, I didn’t know mothers address and as I was a stateless minor I become State Ward till age 21. I was sent to one domestic job at Darling Point stayed 2 months, the house lady was so mean with food, I was allowed one strawberry sandwich at lunch while feeding her 2 small children with one slice of same each, one occasion lady purchased 6 sausages (she used to make curry once per week to entertain one couple) she went shopping for something else- and left me to feed children, I took one sausage-fried it- and had a beaut snag sanga , well did I get a talking to how dare I? that evening after putting children to bed etc wait for guests to leave do washing up and cleaning dining room finish about 11pm pretend to go to bed I started packing my suitcase, 7am in the morning a Saturday I took the regular morning tea to her bedroom (and husband) and told them I was leaving at once, wow what a stir she phoned matron at Bidura also I with suitcase went out the door and a few feet to a phone box rang matron with my complaint she said wait there I will send a taxi to bring you home.. I had no other. at 18 I was placed to work at the Lewisham Hospital live- in wardsmaid was happy there with other girls my age called in to Bidura on fortnightly day off and was always welcome at 19 I got engaged, had to get department of child welfare signed document permission to get married and my fiancée had to be interviewed, w e married 5 months later. 1958 we sponsored my mom and sister to join me in AUS it was a happy reunion after 12 years. Staff at Bidura was good to me, though the system failed me as my mother did write letters to me during my stay at B but the address was withheld from me I was only given the letter to innocently translate into English as best I could and not allowed to keep letter. Yugoslav consulate traced my moms address as I become wiser. I would dearly love to be contacted by a B resident of my time or their children as I have lots of photos. happy new year. Am Milena I have 5 mixed up aboriginal great grandchildren from 2 such grandchildren, love em and am loved.
As i read all the comments about Bidura ant to some extent Royalston i feel sorry for all those that say they were abused or have unhappy memories.I was at Royalstone along with my brother my sister was at Bidura.Our younger brother was not there with us and dont know where he was think he could have been the St Anthony’s home at Ashfield not to sure. cant remember exactly when would have been in the mid 60’s (im 63 now brother would be about 62 sister would be about 56) the same time and don t know her but i have good memories being at Royalstone.
We were both treated well never had any issues and to this only have good memories.
Hi all …Royalston was an early starting point to my life of many childrens homes & abusive foster homes.
I was a resident in 1973 – 74 aged around 3-4 …
There were 5 siblings and they split us all up ..Tore my family from me and left me with nothing …Such was the story with most ..Fed , clothed but never shown love ..How many young lives did this place destroy in the guise of saving us ….???
This place among others still haunts my nightmares .But Im a survivor ..xx
I had my children removed into my mother’s care at bidura childrens cour. it was a team effort by docs and my own mother to remove them from me and put them in kindship care. I am still fighting for my kids in a court in the north coast. I grew up in glebe and heard stories about bidura and always felt the vibe of sadness in the area. My great grandmother lived there my grandmother and mother and myself and I still have so called family there. The system has not changed just morphed into a more disguised and chameleon like version of itself still removing children and hurting families. The stories I have read on this thread have been horific real life horror that’s why it’s so hard to digest because it’s real. The government would certainly be bankrupt if it payed compensation to the children chewed up in it’s system. I am getting files from docs myself but I know even in this day and age the difficulties in retrieving your own documents can be hard going.
No amount of compensation would ever be enough for the souls that suffered in these places of horror.
People who survive these injustices in Australia have a story to tell if the memory permits. I will tell the truth about my story so that I can be free of the chains of a past that devastated my life that and my childrens and kept us bound and gagged to a crooked system. Thank you for letting me see your stories I look at Australia in s completely different way now with total compassion for those who have lived and suffered on it’s land.
Bidura Children Court should be listed as Heritage Item as well, as It was not a good memory but only memory, Which will alert us think how to ensure Australian Chrildren to be protected and be raised in correct way.
I’m a survivor of Minda, Bidura and Winbin orphanages. I was taken from a bad situation to a worse one in Dec 1972 aged 3 years 11 months and finally fostered in 1974. I too have terrible memories and nightmares of these places and I believe all were as bad as the next. I have my Docs files which has a lot blacked out. I had the horrible internal examination as I believe I was already abuse. I had many nightmares for many years of men peeing or worse on me whilst having something metal which I thought were utensils of some sort hurting me. I told these dreams to my foster mother who was horrified of the things I came out with. I am now writing my story and hope that ti publish one day. To the writer Debbie Day the poem you wrote bought back so many memories for me. http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/2010/01/20/bidura-memory-she-was-only-6/
I was born 1953 went to bidura glebe orphanage have no recollection of what I looked like as a child i am now 64 my name was annette Armstrong it would be wonderful to show my children and grandchildren what I used to look like
Did you’s know that the boy’s from Roylston boys home at 270 Glebe point road use to go bidura to see a dentist…..that was September 1971
I think I was a resident of the girls home in 1972-73. I’m trying to put the pieces of my past together. Is there any records of the girls how stayed?
I’ve just read further on in your website that the planning approval notice is in relation to the buildings BEHIND the old building, and that is is heritage listed . . Thank God! By the way . . what is is used for now? Is there public access?
And its now been bought by property developers and now has a planning approval notice on it stating that x2 7 storey housing blocks are to be built. Does anyone care about History or Heritage in Sydney? Arent buildings like this listed for protection?
I have just found this site … I would ha been 16 or 17 the time I was put into Bidura … I had ran away from home and was charged with EMD. .. I remember being stripped and having to scrub my self ( in front of a guard) then the kero in hair .. Then horrid clothes I was made to wear . Vomiting from the food .. Put in a solitary locked room as i could not get my chores down tight and would not co- operate with the longer time residents… Then in the freezing cold being sent out to manually break up the coal for furnace …this would be sixty three or four and I did go to the shelter or was it all part of one
I remember the vaginal examination and yes if not a virgin EMD charge as well ( raped about 2 years before) which Ryde police ignored when I went into the station still bleeding have walked from Nth Ryde drive in to station
I believe all the institutions should be demolished not restored …
Making a building pretty does not destroy abuse and bad vibes of the building
I spent some time there around late 66/early 67 before being sent to King George at Newcastle, my brother was sent to Royalston. Luckily I don’t remember much (dissocitive) but i remember having my clothes taken from me and given other clothes, and then seeing another girl wearing the dress my grandmother had made for me. I remember being held down and having cabbage stuffed into my mouth because i refused to eat it. I then threw up on the person holding me. There were other things that i won’t bother with, but I was certainly glad when I was transferred, as the home in Newcastle was a little better. It probably wasn’t the most traumatic time in my childhood, but it certainly continued it. My thoughts are woth those of yo uwho went through worse than what i can remember. Stay Safe, Stay Strong. Zoe
Hallo Rosemary, within the 112 comments from ex Bidura detainees you and I must have been the lucky two,maybe we had decent moral human carers,I was there from September 1951 to October 53 then sent to work at Lewisham Hospital.As I did not have family in Aus.I kept in touch with several of the carers within Bidura and welcomed in their home on my off days from work.Two ladies stayed in my life for many years, Mrs Pascoe was Godmother to my 3rd son,sadly she passed on in ’86 but Sister Alex, who became Matron later (we both attended Paco’s funeral)kept in touch til 2007.past on. In my stay at Bidura the food was good- dresses were individual choices,I had some of my own,discipline was equal for all,daily duties rostered,and previledges earned for good behaviour. School age children had class on premises,and if senior girls wanted to get extra tuition toward Intermediate status teacher would allocate time,a few of us did. When were you in Bidura? I do so simpatize with so many much younger children separated from each other, I have many photos of various children,I had my own camera and played my guitar to entertain the kids. I wasn’t always perfect,had a few hair pulling sessions and got extra floor scrubbing but who didn’t even in normal parent homes.Ciao am Milena.
Hi my name is Robert. I was in Bidura in 1961. Me and my brother Jim had our heads held under water by the staff until we went blue in the face. The female staff member said “oh their nothing but niggers anyway.
I was finally released from state care when I turned eighteen so yeah I was long term.
That memory haunts me.
The old Bidura building is safe because it is a Heritage Item. The controversial part of the DA involves the proposed new building behind Bidura. Although Council required the height of any new development to be no greater than the height of the current Remand Centre (15 m), the State Govt changed that limit, before selling the site, to allow an extra two storeys to be built. Amongst other concerns, the Glebe Society argues in its objection to the development that because the site is in a Conservation Area and includes a Heritage Item, the original Council height control should apply. This objection has also been sent to the National Trust. The Society’s letter can be viewed at:
The Society also organised a Q&A session before the final date for objections last year. The session was well attended.
I support the Loud Fence campaign, in honour of victims and survivors of the abuse of children in institutional care. No More Silence. I am shocked to see that the ribbons tied to the front fence of Bidura on Saturday 12 March were cut down by someone overnight, probably in early hours of Monday 14 March. The ribbons were left lying on the footpath. This is another act, by some coward, to try to silence the voices of victims and survivors and their relatives. (I am a concerned neighbour, I’ve lived in the same house in Glebe for 30 years and counting; and I’m a member of The Glebe Society)
Why is the Glebe Society doing more to protect this historical building in the wake of the proposed DA for the towers?
I am interested to hear from the President of Glebe Society on such a critical Glebe matter.
Hello to all my fellow abused souls….Love to all…..I was born in 1966 and dropped off at Bidura with an older sister. One of my brothers was taken to Rylston, the other two brothers were taken up the coast. t 16 I was engaged. I had gone out with this fella on and off for three years. His father asked me not to marry, not sure but gut instinct. Found out he was my cousin, his father my uncle!!!! And that I was adopted. At 25 with two children I remembered my adoptive brothers abuse. I only found out yesterday that I was at in Bidura….I have recently found a brother who informed me of this…………WOW……..What a hell hole!!!! My adoptive mother has said I used to bang my head on the wall constantly! Separation anxiety perhaps.At times I’m a mess & commend my husband for putting up with my outburst, to this day I wake him up grinding my teeth uncontrollably. My adoptive mothers answer to being told her son abused me was, your husband did it to your daughter, cold biatch!!!! My gut would of led me elsewhere and I know that for a fact….I’m in the process of dealing with the English family. I intend to bring my adoptive brother back from the Philippines n charge him. This needs to leave my life. I;m on medication to help me cope, hopefully this will make for happier days for my immediate family. My name was Julianne, my sister Kathleen, we were sims/Williams. WHY???? Animals got better treatment than most of us!! Government you will answer to these actions…xoxox Thinking of you al.Tunsa love from Jenny..xoxo
I am so sorry to hear all your sad, terrible stories. My grandmother passed last year and it is only now that we are discovering the truth of her likely traumatic childhood at Bidura, around 1932 (not sure how long she was there). She never spoke a word of it. Does anyone know if Bidura is being included in the Royal Commission hearings? Strength and courage to you all xxxx
My self and younger brother were at Royalstone and my younger sister was at Bidura in the mid 60’s and i dont remember any names altho i do remember the head master as we called him had this tattoo on one arm cant remember which one a tattoo of what looked liked Popye the sailor man and to be honest i loved being there with lots of things to do.I got to work in the kitchen and one of the best jobs i had was when i was made table boy wh got to sit at the head of the tableafter setting places and bringing meals out the leading my table in saying grace both before and after eating.
We got to go to the glebe shops once a month to spend out pocket momey we earned.
My mother would visit us every second weekend and we allowed to take the walk up to Bidura to see my sister for a couple of hours.
Also remember there was a chineese bulidild of some sort and we called it the chinnese joss house dont know why but we did.
We eventually left Royalston and went to Yarra Bay at Laparouse for some time.
I have no regrets about being at Royalstone and offten take a drive past there and the fond memories come flooding back.
I was taken to Bidura in 1975. I was 6 and already traumatised after welfare and police physically removed me from my mum’s house and took me to court (I think Albion St Surry Hills) I was carried up the court internal staircase to a room above the court, I was kicking my legs and screaming for my Mum. There was an older girl who read a story to me to calm me down. We were both then driven in a red car, she was crying but not making a sound, I will never forget that. She got out at another place and then I was taken to Bidura, it wss terrifying. I had my clothes stripped off me and dumped in one of those concrete baths along the wall downstairs and scrubbed really hard. I slept in one of those cots while older girls at the other end of the room yelled out stuff like big green men with holes in their hands were going to climb the walls and kill us and that we don’t live forever we are going to die. One night a lady came in the room and took me out because I was crying…the matron came past and told her to ‘put me back’. I was spat at by the older girls. No tooth fairy at Bidura..the nurse just chucked your tooth in the bin and gave me a tissue and said ‘off you go’ There is alot that my brain has shut out, probably for the best. Just a disgusting and cruel experience which set the tone for the next eleven years as a state ward being placed in foster care with 2 pedophiles and alot of physical abuse and no love.
6 relatives were inmates at both Bidura & Royleston; 3 uncles, 2 aunts and my Mother, from 1938.
Their mother died while birthing a 7th child, with that child dying also. My Mum was ten years old at that time, and had 2 older and 3 younger. siblings
Their father was a demon drunkard and wife basher, and was caught in ‘the act’ with another woman within a few weeks of his wife dying, by my Mum. This, she kept silent for 65 years. A very short period after Mum witnessed this devastation, all 6 kids – the youngest, my aunt Dorothy, being 3 years, were given away to ‘the state’, and became ‘wards’ of the state – cared for by the State Government. Possibly only being homeless was worse, but no-one will ever be able to compare. Mum was nick-named ‘The Little Mother’, because even at ten years young, she had a natural affinity to caring for, firstly, her siblings, and any of the other kids in need.
Occasionally, they were ‘adopted’ by ‘foster parents’. One woman, at Dulwich Hill, threw a half brick at my Mum, who was protecting her siblings from the woman’s neurotic/psychotic ways. Luckily Mum had/has quick reflexes and ducked under the flying half brick – as the old woman was a crack shot. Very obviously, this woman was so nuts, that the State Government did zero investigation as to foster carer’s psychological health.
My 3 uncles served 5, 10 & 12 years at Royleston. My aunts served 3 and 15 years, Mum serving 8 years.
Sometimes, the fostering happened with all 6 at the one foster house, including Carlingford and some great times at Picton with a family who became life long friends and allies. However, due to extreme hardship from poverty, all returned to Bidura & Royleston until they turned 18 years of age. 3 are still alive.
Shame, embarrassment, guilt and threats via standover tactics from the people in charge, prevented any of the 6 from divulging much detail, so engrained were the threats that even as elderly people, none talked openly, and resorted to a code like way between each other when ever any of the 6’s children would ask questions. Successfully, the secrets of the abuse will perish when all have died.
That a ‘care facility’ was so despicable, so uncaring, so abusive, so unloving, so unforgiving, so mind warping, so debilitating, so disloyal – you can add your own here – is totally inexcusable. There is nothing – and at the expense of sounding like a politician – I will repeat that; there is nothing that can be said or actions taken which will excuse any of the perverse treatment that happened – or for that matter happens – at any care facility in charge of caring for children.
Do you know why?
Because every person who abused
DID SO KNOWINGLY.
I was in bidura late 50s and cant remember names of anyone. I do remember having nit emulsion put on my head then covered with white bonnet i was 5 years old. I also hate porridge now as i was forced to eat it. One girl ran away while i was there and i have never forgotten her but unsure of name.
Hello everyone, after reading your memories, I am heartbroken for those who suffered during their time at Bidura and the other homes mentioned.
I am currently helping my Grandmother find where she is from. She was adopted out at birth (1927), put into care by Edith Sutton and her husband from early 1928- late 1929) before being placed in Bidura from 1930-1936, then being adopted by a loving family in 1936 aged 9.
Her memory is starting to fail her (possibly, after reading your comments, for the better), but would there possibly be anyone that would have been at Bidura the same time as my Nan? Are there any photographs from back then? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if that would be more private way to communicate..
Love to you all xxxx
Is it true The Liberal Government has sold Bidura to Chinese high rise developers???
I remember Bidura ,it was just down the street from Royalston ,in 1967 my 2 little sisters Christine 4 and Katherine(REAY )an assumed surname were placed there by the authorities ,and myself,Gary(REAY )cas placed in Royalston 12 yo ,,for the 3or 4 months I was in that stinking hole,they would not let me visit these 2 little girls who would have been out of their minds with fear as I had been their only source of love and compassion since they were born.My mother was an alcoholic witch whose partners were sadistic cruel pedophiles .i lost complete contact with these little angels until just recentley ,the elder one committed suicide 3 years ago before I got to reunite wit her,the younger one and my self have made contact,she was too young to remember Bidura,but they both suffered horrendous sexual abuse at the hands of their foster parents sons.At this very moment I’m trying to convince Catherine to go to the Royal Commission ,with the help of Kelso Lawyers.I urge any other victims of this system to do the same,these people are getting older and need justice,just as the perpetrators are getting older and net to be held responsible for these crimes against helpless innocent children.My real name is Gary Searles.
Why is there no information about Royalston available ? I was in that hell hole in 1967 so I know it existed,is someone trying to protect these bastards?
I have recently moved to Glebe and as with everywhere I go, I decided to look into the local history. To say I am appalled to read these stories occurred is an understatement. I was completely shocked to hear of such atrocities happening to innocent children. I am ashamed to discover that our country has allowed such disgusting treatment of young children, and for it to remain relatively unknown. My heart goes out to those of you who had to endure these events and I admire those of you who have shared your memories. I sat reading every single comment with a tear in my eye and a horrible feeling within. I’d like to hear from any of you survivors if possible as I believe that the truth must be known. email@example.com
Hey Karen, I was in Bidura from 1962 – 1964 and I remember the the big Veranda as well although there were no boys just girls. I can remember being lined up and forced to take 1 teaspoon of Malt every Friday! To this day I can’t handle the tast of Malt. I was only 3yrs old and all the memories I have of Bidura are bad ones. I was abused there and I recall no privacy at bath time we all had to line up and as one got our of the bath another got in and then we would go over to our pigeon hole that held our pajamas and get Johnsons Baby Powder poured all over us. I was sent to a foster home when I was 5 and was so pleased to get out of Bidura!
I was in bidura in 1971 at the age of 10 and my sister who was 11. I remember all the young children and babies. I was scared and I didn’t know of anything or what would become of me. all I know is that I was taken away from parents who were very bad and violent. I never recover from my past life and was permantly scraded
I was in Bidura in late 50’s or early 60’s aged around 3-4 years old. Sent to several foster trials but returned to Bidura for a number of reasons, before getting lucky and going to a family who took care of me.
Can anyone remember living on a big verandah with lots of stretchers both boys and girls? Visitors in the night by the teacher who taught us during the day? Being force fed fish oil if you did not eat your food?
Please share your experiences as I am sure the memories I have locked in my head are not unique to me and the world needs to know how we were treated.
The famous gothic architect Edmund Blacket built Bidura for his family home his wife and children appear to have loved the Glebe and Balmain area. Blacket was also involved with the local Glebe Council. When they died they were buried at the Balmain Cemetery on Norton Street Leichhardt. Years ago they removed all the headstones and turned it from a cemetery to a park. The Blacket headstone was removed to a church he designed, St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Church Street Newtown. The Blacket headstone is not far from the rear entrance.
I was lucky to be there for only a few days aged 14. I don’t remember most of it. I remember being terrified and upset. I’d been picked up by the policy whilst on the beach talking to a friend. The police questioned me for hours about my friends, who the police said were druggies. I told them they weren’t, but they wouldn’t believe me. There was no-one there to support me. The police said my mother was too busy to come. I was sent to Glebe because the police said that my ‘mother thought it would be good for me’. I’m too afraid to ask if that’s true.
I remember having to strip in front of adults and being inspected for lice. I was shy. This was humiliating. I remember having to have a bath in front of a big scary female guard and being watched as I washed myself according to the instructions of the guard. I was told not to make a fuss. I was embarrassed. I’d never exposed my body to anyone like that before. I was shy but terrified enough to do it.
I recall the harsh green fabric of the tunic that itched, as well as the shoes that were too small and hurt, but I had to wear them anyway as that was the uniform. I remember being afraid and told of the terrible things that happened to girls there. I didn’t know what to believe, but knew that I had to do everything I was told to avoid violent responses.
I was taken to the doctor where I was given an internal examination. I was told it was a virginity test, because I’d been seen talking to a boy. He was a friend and not even a close one. There was nothing between us except conversation. We were fully clothed. However, I was told that the test showed I was not a virgin and I would be charged with EMD – Exposure to Moral Danger. I’d done nothing wrong, but was subjected to 18mths supervision by the Department from then on, with constant fear of being returned to Glebe, or being sent somewhere else. Prior to this I trusted authority figures and saw them as people to respect. I learned how mistaken I was.
Hi I was actually after photos of what was know as Federal Art a building located at the end of Glebe Point Rd I think it was there up to 1989.
I was also after any pics of the Barragoola which was also moored in Blackwater Bay at the end of the 80’s. I actually lived on the Barragoola.
I am currently writing an article on a lady that was a ward of the state when she was three years old. She was at Bidura House for a short time before being adopted out.
I was hoping that someone may allow me to use their experience, as I want to show the sad and tragic side of Bidura House that many people are not aware of.
If anyone is interested I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi everyone, this is an amazing thread of stories and memories. Those of you looking for information might find what you need through this page: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/ref/nsw/biogs/NE00405b.htm – click on the link to the full page and you can access advice about how to approach the Department of Community Services.
The Find & Connect web resource has a lot of information about other homes too – do take a look.
how do I get information on how long I was in the bidura home when I was a child
Hello all survivors of Bidura,
My grandmother Eileen Kilborn worked at Bidura as a nurse/matron/supervisor after her husband, Edward Kilborn died I think in 1954. Does anyone remember this woman? She lived in 97 Edith St, Leichardt, and as far as I can remember worked there at least until the 1960’s. Any information about her would be hugely appreciated. My e mail address is email@example.com
Hi my name is Michael Moffatt and I was taken to bidura when I was a baby and moved to a boys home down the road when I got to old for bidura
Hi. I was placed into Bidura when I was 4 years old in 1966 or 67. I do not remember anything. I was there with my 2 older sisters an older brother and 2 younger brothers. We all got split up and by reading some of these stories I am very lucky that I went to a Foster Family that didn’t abuse me. I was placed into Glebe shelter when I was 14 and that place was horrible!! The doctor there took away something he shouldn’t have but at the time there was no one to tell. I was near the orphanage today and I just stared trying to remember anything but there was nothing. It was a haunting sort of feeling I felt though. Thankyou all for sharing
OMG, this bought tears to my eyes reading some of these stories! I was in Bidura in early 1973, I was 21mths old. By the sounds of it I was lucky to only be in there for just over a month. I am trying to understand deep issues I have had all my life and after reading this they may be from my time in Bidura. I hate to think what may have happened to me while there but my Mother (adoptive) tells me when I first went to live with them, directly after my time at Bidura, she noticed a scar on the top of my foot that she believe looked like a cigarette burn.
It is important to piece together life events, so thank you to all who have shared your stories.
I have been trying to piece together where I was that I have these aweful memories of from so long ago. I was around 16 or 17 when I finally decided to run away from my violent & oppressive home with two alcoholic parents. It was some where between 1971 -1973, I,m not exactly sure but I found my way to Kings Cross & was living in squats with other runaways except I actually had a job. I was sitting at the Alamein Fountain on my lunch break when the police rounded us up & took me via Darlinghurst Police station to a place called Glebe Shelter supposedly for being exposed to moral danger (I got into trouble for being smart & making a remark about the moral danger at ‘home’). I was there for I don’t kno how long – could be a few weeks I hav no idea we were not allowed to know what day it was, we wore something like a green school uniform & spent our days in a hut at the rear sewing – sanitary belts or something. I remember being told iI was there for punishment & being made to scrub the concrete floor in the bath room repeatedly, we all slept in a dormatory room & overall treated very coldly. I met Aboriginal girls there from Redfurn & developed a life long compassion for the experiences of Aboriginal people especially the stolen generation refugees like many of you in the entry’s above. My parents paid for me to be sent back to Tasmania, which in some ways I appreciate as I knew that there was no safety or compassoin to be had in the so called child protection syste. There were no boys or children where I was so it must have been the building attatched on the back that Dianna & Kathy Kang refer to xxxxxxxxx to you all
I would like to get contact from bidura resident girls between 1952/3 I was a senior girl placed in bidura due to having become parentless in australia,( I did have a mother and younger sister in Italy whome many years later I sponsored to join me here) I have many photos of various bidura children some 8 sets of twins groups of younger siblings, staff members etc.most names on back of photos. I was rostered to assist working in kitchin, laundry,,sewing room bootmaker room and taking over the tasks when the boss didnt turn up. I was reliable capable totaly bussy but unpaid, senior girls saved the govrnment a lot of wages.we used to sing a bidura anthem,does anyone remember more words….Oh bidura girls are happy and so we ought to be we never fight or quarrel we never disagree one day as I ran through the gate a copper grabed me and said.. if u belong to bidura home u better come with me…He took me by the collar and draged me– it was a sad place so many little kids
Today i discovered this site & all i could do was cry like a baby as I read the stories. I am a survivor of Bidura having been placed there at the age of 12. I did three stints there and was sent to thirteen different foster families over a five year period as well courtesy of the Child Welfare Dept. I am scarred and bitter about my stolen childhood, full of rage about the physical, emotional & sexual abuse I was subjected to from the day I walked in the front door of the place. Dr Finger and his trusty nurse, the Butcher (dentist). I too remember the cold porridge, having food shoved down my throat until I vomited, having kerosene poured on my head just in case i had nits. I remember the linen cupboard where i was locked for hours at night in the dark and I remember the green room. The guards helping themselves to the bodies of those they were paid to protect, and some of the older girls who were raging lesbians who bashed my face into the floor for not accepting their advances. You speak of the clothes we were handed to wear most of which were rags but do you remember being given decent clothing to put on whenever a "visitor" was coming. All these things and so much more I remember and will to my dying day and no I dont want an apology – words are cheap. I want our story told publicly, loudly and truthfully. No amount of words or compensation can give me back what was taken from my childhood and my youth by those in positions of trust. I hope these commissioners sitting in this upcoming enquiry have the strength needed to listen not only with their ears but also with their hearts, because i'm sure they will be appalled and shocked when the truth comes out at last.
I was a Charlton boy and recall the Saturday night dances when Bidura girls were brought along for the dances. nice girls they were. like us they were controlled by sexual paedophiles roaming the dormitories and unlike us were not allowed out. we were often taken out by paedophiles. the home was nothing but a paedophiles paradise.
Never be ashamed of what they did to you, speak out now and tell the world especially in this year of a Royal Commission. Join CLAN at Bankstown they will help you get a fair go.
Hi, I have been reading some of your reply's, but I had to stop because the horrific memories came flooding back. I was placed in Bidura when I was probably 7 years old. My parents neglected and abused me, so I was made a ward of the state. I remember that place was big. I remember the porriage. I remember I had to make my bed and if I didn't get the hospital corners right, the older kids would pull my bed apart and I would have to start again. I also remember sharing a bed with someone else. It was a terrible place, I can't believe children were treated like this. Like we didn't matter, like we weren't important. It was a very sad, and lonely time in my childhood.
I never worked there while it was a home. I only heard by a friend about some of the things that happened there, while she was a resident.
It just angers me to hear that people did this to children, while in their care and it still contiues to happen.
There is no excuse for this to happen to any child, or any human being.
And the abusers dont care that when a child is violated in this way, it effects their whole life,relationships, physical and emotional development.
I too was sent to abusive foster parents in Newcastle after I left Bidura. I can tell you, my foster parents were far worse than this home could ever be. I remember the dentist there too. Yes. He was a butcher. I still have problems with going to the dentist for my own teeth, as I still have the memories of the dentist there who extracted several teeth without an anesthetic, while several staff held me down, I was told to "stop that behavior"!
I did not start this blog to defend the establishment. I did want to remember some of the staff there who were human and often very compassionate. One in particular…Nurse Heap. She was an angel from heaven. She often took ten girls to the pictures on a Saturday and to church on a Sunday. She would read a story to us in the evening and was very kind indeed. I often think of her in a very loving way. I am sure "100%" that this person was the reason I ended up able to adjust to living a normal life within a community. That's not to say I am without my scars. I have plenty but none of them were caused by any of the staff here. (With the exception of the dentist.)
For those who were abused…It's time you did something about it. Time to speak out. You will never heal until you do.
Kelly Smith. Can you please tell us what year/s you worked at Bidura?
I work at Bidura from time to time, and you can still feel the lost souls in the building. I think there should be a plaque put up in memory os the Bidura surviers. But when is someone going to be held accountable for it. And the careers are to blame, when you are given the job to care for these poor lost souls, who have already been through enough, and you abuse them you should be made ACCOUNTABLE and PUNISHED. Im so sick of the way society has gone where they blame others. So to the poor resident who i admire for your strength to come forward, take some more steps and make it more public, and make the terrible people accountable for their actions.
i am a Bidura girl of 1951/52 matron Lilian Alexandra was in charge mrs Pascoe was the cook all nursing staff kind to those that behaved,senior girls (14 plus) had their duties, laundry kitchen cleaning etc. juniors went to school. behaviour points earned previlidges..going to pictures or dances at Charlton anglican boys home near by special occasion panthmimes for most children and denominational church attendance.Matron and cook stayed my friends for 40/50 years,girls moreen loraine maud jaroslava(shirly Laska) Paula Tardi were my special friends. i have many photos of BIdura children during my stay. I was happy there.the room to the right was lounge, corridor led to a verrandah dormitory 20 beds dining etc downstears. i was 16 now 76 .
Hi my mum spent time in Bidura and several other institutions I live in the inner-west now and pass the old place a lot I was wondering is there an official Bidura survivors group? I have worked closely for many years with Stolen Generations and fostered adopted people in several different capacities and there has just recently been a 100yr centenary celebration at Cootamundra for the Coota Girls I would love to make contact with others on behalf of my mother who struggles with a lot of this but if anyone else is interested in joining up to form a group as has been done by others to support each other Ill be in it and able to help you out with advice etc on organisations to tap into. I am not only talking about Aboriginal kids in Bidura I think this should be a Bidura kids thing if interested happy to chat and you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if there is already a formal group I would love to chat and maybe pass on information to my mother. Cheers
Hi Everyone, My mother was always a bit of a mystery to me while I was growing up. I always felt as though there was something not quite right but could not get a handle on it, now after coming across this site and reading through the blogs I finally get it. Like so many people on this site Mum was a victim of the harshness and cruelty of that terrible place. She was placed there when she was only 10yrs old and finally got to leave when she turned 18yrs. I have only recently discovered this information about her after doing some family research after Mum passed away. She was there from mid 1930's to 1942. Would love to hear from anyone who may have been there during that time period. Her first name was Kathleen and she had long black hair.
Hi Thank you fro sharing all your stories, so much sadness. My dad and brother were sent to Royston in 1930 to 1934. My dad was Roy Somerfield and his brother William. Dad was 11 and Willaim 8. Dad was sent to a foster family in Glebe but Willaim died in a Mental Hospital In Newcastle in 1934 aged 12. Dad never spoke of his time there. I would love to know more. Is there anyone out there who may remember them I know it getting a long time ago now. I hope to get their files. Thank you again for sharing your stories. Laura.
hi there all ,its wonderful to see so many wonderful survivers who have found a safe place, someone to talk too and share their experiences with and feeling safe too talk about your pain too !!
we started with two comments, we now have 75! share this site with other survivers out there tell all,
god bless you all talk to yous soon
ps: i feel like i have family thank yous.
I too survived bidura was 10 I also have terrible memories of that dreaded place. I was lucky to have been fostered by a great family that supported me through the terrible memories of that place NO ONE had the right to treat us the way they did. I applied for my file a couple of years back but it depressed me so much reading it . I as you people am a survivor of that place have done well and living a wonderfull life now at the age of 54 but the sad thing is those scares and terrible memories will never go away .
Ps..I caught Chicken Pox and went to hospital and for the first time knew what affection and care was from the nurses..I idolised Nurses ever since and work in a hospital ..actuaallu I was there 71-72
I and my sister remember Bidura..I went back there to film "Find My Family" I couldnt believe my emotional response or physical// I shook and remebered how were were savagley punished for bed wetting..there was so little real concern for you as a child..you were just a number…..there was however some nice individuals…I never forgot being examined in the front room by potential foster parents..a cattle call…when I cried for my mother thay told me that she would visit if I shut up..I found out that she was never given permission..I spent many lonely hours waiting for her on the step…just one genuine cuddle would of helped a kid who lost all her family! Not Good Enough
I seem to have lost my comment from earlier session on internet. I was at Bidura Sept 1972 and around January 1974 with my little sister Tanya, brother Michael (promptly taken to Royleston once we arrived at Bidura), aged 9 and little brother Reg aged 4. Scary experience. Remember the dentist 'the butcher' and a girl coming back from visiting him with purple mercurachrome on her lip, applied there by the dentist assistant after he slapped her when she tried to move his hand away and she got the drill on the lip. from then on i remember being extremely scared of going to the dentist and way too frightened to make a fuss even when there was no aneaesthetic before the drill.
HI everyone, I have a similar story to many of you. I was in Bidura September 1972 (aged 10) with my sister Tanya (8), little brother Reg (4) who stayed with us there. However, my brother Michael (aged 9) was transferred 'down the road' to Royalston that night, no explanation given. Mainly I wanted to let you know you may be able to find some of your friends or 'inmates' if you search for a group called "I Survived Bidura" on Facebook. There's a few of us on there exchanging photos etc. You may also want to join the Renwick-Guvo-s Mittagong group or King Edward Girls Home Newcastle group which are on Facebook. I'll give more of my story later.
Many thanks Kathy and especially for taking the trouble to give detailed information about the Girl's Shelter. I too live in Glebe and, although the memory's weren't positive, I still wanted to locate the Shelter. I had a hunch it had been demolished though. Best thing with a place like that frankly. And yes I know these places form part of Australia's history etc but what went on in these places caused such problems for people to carry with them right througout their lives. But now I finally know.
What a good idea about the space at the back of Bidura. A plaque in that space would be ideal.
All the best.
Andrew, the word 'bidura' in Bengali means 'a remote place.'
The name Bidura was chosen by the Fitz-Stubbs family, who bought the house from the architect Edmund Blacket. It's possible that the name was suggested by someone in their family who had served in the British army or the British colonial administration in Bengal.
Your stories as survivors of Bidura are very moving. I admire your courage in sharing, speaking out.
Even before reading your stories, I have long felt that the childhood tears and despair of those earlier times form an aura that hovers over Bidura. (For the past 20 odd years, I've lived in a house just across the lane at the back of Bidura House.)
Dianna, the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter, Glebe, was in a building behind Bidura House, and its entrance was from Avon Street. It was closed in September 1978, and the building was demolished to make way for the big concrete building that is now a juvenile justice centre, right behind Bidura House.
In the early 1970s, women held a number of protests at the Girls' Shelter. (On the Macquarie Uni website there is a photo of women storming the Shelter in 1974, see http://www.austhistmuseum.mq.edu.au/resources/hist245.htm — you need to scroll right down to item with ID 42000127 to see this picture.)
As of now, there is a small and neglected public space at the back of Bidura, on the corner of Ferry Lane and Avon St. I wish that the space was looked after, and that there was a plaque there, and one at the front of Bidura House, to honour the survivors.
Am I doing research on Bidura House for a University paper and have found these stories very sad and eye opening about how young children were treated back in the mid 1900's.
I would love to know if anyone has any information on the actual name 'Bidura', I have tried researching on the internet to no luck – Anything at all would be very helpful.
Thank-you for sharing your stories.
I was put in Bidura 1970 with my sister, I just turn 10. Taken away from parents who were alcoholic and violent. I dont beleive i would be alive today if I was not place in Bidura. I remember alot of young babies a few months old. It was a sad place to go, there was no love, affection or kindness, only rules and punishment. I turn 51 this year and still I dwell from the past,not knowing who I am or where my home is. When I look back, possibly the biggest issue with Bidura was getting the right treatment and not being place in other Children Homes and Foster Care.
Dear Bidura Survivors,
I've been writing a book about another of Edmund Blacket's buildings. Sounds like someone should write the real story of Bidura. Your comments are so deeply sad and disturbing, yet they are helpful in bringing confirmation to others that their memories have not been exaggerated over time- it really was that bad. Have any of you sought legal advice? This sounds like a case for compensation if ever I heard one. Edmund Blacket would be horrified to know what became of his beloved home. Keep sharing & healing x x Tracey
After stumbling onto this website, I found much solace to read all your brave stories. I too am a 'graduate' of Bidura, (May-July,1972), after being abandoned by my mother,(no father). I remember sleeping on a mattress on the floor & pushing it under other beds in the mornings. Also going to school in the 'backyard' school they had there & being told by someone that I was going to be sent to a family in the country & how 'very lucky I was because at 9 yrs old I was almost too old to be fostered, as everyone wants babies'! I was told 'not to ruin my new chance'. Well I went to Lismore to the family and my supposedly 'new life'… my foster bro (15yrs) began sexually abusing me, and the whole family were completely devoid of any 'normality'.With the words of warning from Bidura social worker ringing in my ears, I was always terrified of being sent back to the home. Now almost 40 yrs later, I am still on the recieving end of psychological abuse by them…. My question to you all is, how many of 'us' just were sent to abuse foster families? And why can't we sue DOCS for this misery we suffered (and still suffer). People talk about the stolen generation, well I am bitter my life & possible happiness was stolen from me….where's MY/OUR apology!
I have just sat and read all your blogs and have had so many cries,my Mother was in Bidura with her 3 sisters and youngest brother,her 5 other brother's were sent Royleston just down the road.Their father died in 1942 and their mother in 1944,they were sent there for fostering.My mum has never spoke about her time there,but she has always had a sadness about her and she has always found it very had to express herself.Now I feel that her children may have a better understanding of her young life.
Mum is now in her 80's and would like her records,so I am glad that there is information on here.Thankyou for your stories,you are all so brave and strong.
Sending Love and Light
I too am a survivour of Birdura I was in and out of there from foster home to foster home and back again between 1964 aged 4 to 1970, 9 and a half I arrived with 3 sisters one older the other 2 younger. I agree with all the comments that have been posted here, the place was a cold cruel place, I remember having to eat prunes and being sick in the bowl as I could not get this food down our long hair cropped so short my doll my father had given me taken away, I was labeled a rebel as I protected my baby sister who had learning difficulties, when she wet the bed I would help cover it up for her, and took the blame when found out, I got into fights with the other girls as , for this I was beaten and punished my little solace was a little anclove out the back where I would sit craddling my sister and crying with each other working out ways to runaway, we were all separated to different places by 1970 and did not meet up again until we were in our late teens by this time our mother had more 3 more daughters they too ended up in various foster homes, our parents had passed before we got to meet them, at the age of 9 1/2 I met my wonderful adoptive family though it took me a few years to settle in as I did not know what love and kindness was I was 13 when I was adopted both have now passed but there is not a day that passes without me saying thank you Mum and Dad for your love support and paitence
I spent too many nights at Bidura in 60-61 aged 51/2 and again in 63. I too found my 2 brothers and sister (all younger) disappear in the night. I have since made contact with all of them (many years later) they were fortunate to be adopted by lovely families. Remember sitting out the front waiting for family to arrive on visiting day but they never did.
Memories sooo good that I can not tell you a single name of anyone during my time, staff or children.
I was fostered out & then returned as the foster son and I did not get on. ( I do not have memory of that period either) I too do remember being forced feed food that I did not like until I vomited and then being punished for wasting good food. ( They did not have to eat it). I still cannot eat certain foods.
Finally place in King Edward Girls Home in Newcastle until I turn 16, memories here are much the same as Bidura. ( Blocked out most memories from 60's on as too painful to remember. Limited information provided with papers requested and received.
I meant to add to my email A very happy 2012 to all of you amazing survivors.
I've a question – where was the Glebe Girls Shelter? I was there and now live in Glebe but do you think I can find it. Someone said it was Bidura but it wasn't. I was at the Shelter twice and it was not Bidura. It was actually a single storey building somewhere in Glebe. Would really like to know the address.
Secondly, there is an organisation called CLAN (http://www.clan.org.au) and they can assist with state files (good luck with that one) but they do have contacts on the website as well which can be followed thru without their assistance. Anyway just go to the webiste and they also have a 1800 number. Leony Sheady is very helpful (she's the founder and a care leaver). Some of you will already be familiar with CLAN I'm sure.
I have certainly gained a lot of information just reading your emails and the Glebe Society is the last place I would have looked. All the best.
I know that we all went through some tough times while beinging in this Place and there were good times and bad times for most of us. And the best healing of this all is sharing stories to one another helps alot and i would not like to go through anything like that again. so iI would like too wish everyone on this site a Merry christmas and a Happy New Year and a Ver Very safe Holiday.
My two sisters Naomi and Julie where at Bidura, I was sent to Royalston Boys home. I remember the guy in charge was a German man called Mr Muller. I also remember boys having to clean the entrance floor with toothbrushes as punishment.
Recall the day I had to go to the Children's Court re custody dispute. The boys where taken / accompanied / walked to the children's court by members of Australia's world championship wrestling Mario Milano etc. I was walked by this one wrestler. At the gate before leaving for the walk the wrestler pulls out a set of handcuffs holds them in front of me and says, " I won't put these on if you promise not to run,." I was in Royalston not because I had a committed a crime but because I was the victim of a custody dispute.
This was what the then NSW State government did back then but normal kids together with some kids who where hardened criminals this is what I put forward as an injustice.
Thank you for the advice Phil, very much appreciated.
Your mother needs to apply to the NSW Department of Community Services for information about the time that she spent in Bidura, and the records should indicate the reasons that she was placed there, and where she went afterwards. Their head office is in Ashfield, in Sydney, and their number is (02) 9716-2222. Their website is at http://www.community.nsw.gov.au
I'm curious about how my mother might go about obtaining her files from abroad, she lives in the UK but was in Bidura as a child, as were two of her sisters at some time. She doesn't even have a birth certificate or valid passport anymore. She has reccently been reunited with one of her sisters that was in Bidura after her, thanks to a post on the CLAN website. Her name was Yvonne Lesley Kennedy (also known as Bonnie, and as Chicky). Any advice would be very much appreciated.
I was at Wagga Wagga – Binbadeen. I was there for a couple of years. Whilst I was there I did befriend a young aborigine girl but for the life of me I cannot remember her name ….. I do remember a white girl there at the time – she was very sickly – she had bad asthma and would have to spend a lot of time alone because she was not allowed to do anything strenuous…. she painted a lot.
I have good news!!!! I have received all my files from the very day I was first placed into Bidurra in 1966.
Not a lot of stuff in there about the day to day life in bidurra – but I do have all the information about all the years I was under the state system – right up until I was signed off the books at aged 18. The lady I dealt with was just such a very sweet thing – she made every effort to get everything for me. I received a huge blue zip up folder with all the pages all filed and sorted out.
I now know ( as I think I did all along) that my aunt didnt want us after the shooting – so she signed us over to the state. It also explains why her daughter (my cousin) would not talk about the past with me……. she knew !
My next project is to get my fathers records from when the shooting happened until he was released from jail.
I have already been in touch with the Minister of Police, he has repied and Im in the process of getting all the proof he needs to consider my request….
So……. my advice to anyone who wants to find their files etc is …… dont give up !!
Have a great weekend everyone.
i found your stories above, by chance. i moved to glebe recently and was looking up historic houses – glebe society. i knew bidura was the children's court, but now having read your blogs i see it is much much more. i have a lot of sympathy for you writers. i wish you all the best, tina
It is amazing reading these posts. Soem of what I read is so much of what I remember, and ther is alot I do not because it was to traumatic. In a sense I was lucky as sexual assault was one thing I don't think happened, but I remember being force fed cabbage becaue i refused to eat it, I remember sleepign on a mattress near the front windows onteh top floor and in teh midle of the night I woudl clinb out and sit on the roof when everone else was asleep. They seperated me from my older brother and sent him to Castle Hill and they stripped me off my clothes and gave me someone elses and the worst thing the did was to take a hand made dress that my grandmother (who raised me as her own child) and gave it to anothe rgirl. I still remember the rage that welled in me when I saw her wearing it. I was there about 67 – 68ish. Reading all your posts makes me realise I was not alone, which I felt I was, although there were others there. Thank you all.
Hello Lee that young Aboriginal girl might have been me. Like i said there was my older sister april and my younger sister brenda and me. My younger sister had been taken then me and my older sister was sent to away after her. i can not remember so much about the children there and their names being so young. often when i go to Sydney i go past Bidura know and then. and it brings back alot of memories. there were seven of us taken from our mum and dad at the time we were taken we lived out west in a place called Gilgandra so ye long way away from home at that time. The wefare split us all up and sent us different ways. I went to Wagga Wagga just last week i came back to a little village called Burrinjuck that is where me and my older sister was sent before they moved us to Bidura. They were very sad times i would not like for anybody to go through anything like we have been through. some came back some did'nt.
Hello – I found myself mentioned here – I was what was called an assistant matron, tho I was completely unqualified and very young myself. I remember being put in charge of the babies, sometimes over 20 at a time, a full responsibility with feeding and bathing. Older girls were assigned to help me, and I remember particularly a very nice Aboriginal girl called Maree – I wonder if this is the girl writing above; I did try very hard to be good to the children, but I was a very minor figure. I still have the long blonde hair, tho maybe not so blonde anymore! What was interesting was that I had been a brief inmate myself, about 7 years earlier.
Hi all could any of you nice people tell me if you's were or were there any other Aboriginal kids there in the year say 1973/74 onwards i would like to know maybe they are still around living here and it would be nice to talk to them maybe even meet up. So if there was please email me thanks.
HI all i would like to share my story of the time me and my two sister spent in Bidura they were the most horrible time i can remember. Three of us were there me and my younger sister kept aorund my older sister she was our protection we new not anybody there we played by our selfes. My older sister recalls and even today she stills says it i still remember one day we were palying together then the next day i could not see you she said she said that i was the first to go . she felt so bad and blames yourself that these people come and got me and took me away . she said that her and my yougest sister stucked with each other day and night. It was till a few months after that night when some other people came there and took my yougest sister, When she got up and went to get my yougest sister to go play she could not fined her anywhere, She went and ask the Matron's but the said nothing at all to her she felt all alone she said she just broked down and cryed she said i did not know if i was going to see you's again i did not know where they took you's. We did not get to say goodbye they just come in the night and just took us. I love you my sister for looking after us while we spent that time in Bidura. There was seven of us taken away but i would like to give a big thank you and a i LOVE you's to my MOTHER and FATHER without them we would not have all ended back together. My heart goes out to those you did not come back who are still out there finding their way back too their familiesand their way home. i would like to see if i could get some records of BIDURA and some photo's. And yes i remember Miss Mooha i remember the school out the back and i remember looking out the window at night saying good night MUM goodnight DAD love and miss you's heaps hope one day we will be back together. i remember alot of that place i do CULTURE AWARNESS and i talk about what happen to me and my brother and other sioster's and i tell you it really hurts because i am reliving my past and it is something you would not want to go through again.
hi everyone,its been quite a while, hullo to those who i have just read their stories. how wonderful it is to meet you's . . we need to hear from all , for them to tell their story for them to know that we are here for them and that we all carry the same scars,hurt, night mares,memories of all kinds,I believe this to be the start ,the " Journey of A Safe Place" finally! keep writing in, ask questions, pursue your memories if not for you ,for generations to come, encourage others, there is help and support here for you and your story! !! xxx
Oh my goodness the memories that we keep .I remember being in Bidura and Peter Paul and Mary were on tour in Australia. I must have been 10. I remember the horrible dentist who slapped me because I cried when he took out my tooth without anaesthetic. Do you remember the awful bowl haircuts ? And yes the cold porridge . I remember the kind social worker Miss Mooha. And one night a girl fell down the side of the bed she was bouncing on and busted her front teeth ! So much blood . The high walls . Thank you for this site .
I am still waiting to here from DoCS – even thought I posted off all the forms of Identification they requested.
Hi Joy – thanks for giving me another lead (paramatta). Were you adopted out? Im not sure if I was or not – I did go to a family in Cabramatta through the russian church there …. so I presume I was – but no one can tell me that either. Both the mom and dad have since passed away and the church is no help at all.
I am beginning to think that something happened there and they are trying to close all avenues in case I come across it all. I have a very sneaky suspision that the church gave this family a lot of money to look after me and that perhaps they misused it or something. Their own children have all grown up to be priests and not one of them will answer any of my emails…. seems to be a very wrong thing to do for a god fearing christian man of the cloth to do. One son is an Archbishop and the other is a Priest, and the daughter married a priest.
I am also trying to get my fathers criminal records – thats another whole new avenue that is very hard to get through – still I will keep trying.
Have a great day.
home at redern 1952 to 1958 bidura1959 to1961 1962 to 1964 foster out 1965 to1968 bidura home minda shelter mittagong narranda and last place hay
was in bidura around 1958 trying to find out if taken or given away
thank you for yor stories my sister and I was in Bidura in the 60's. I recently wrote a stort story about the day they took my sister awy from me. I can't belive how right I was about that place, by the stories i have read. If ny one can remember details of how the rooms were I would be very happy, as my short story is an assignment for my creative writing course I have decided to do this year. If any one remembers my sisters and i that would be great. our last name was andrews, Lorraine,Linda me and debbie I also remember the green room on my last vist there i hated that room. thank you for all your help they were the sadest days of my life
It is very good to have this chance to share our most painful memories with others who understand because sadly they have the same if not worse memories, I said to my daughter last night that I think I am luky to have been so young as the memories although still very painful are not as clear they are sort of jumbled up between all the different places my mother was so drunk it took her 3 days to sober up to even know that her 4 young sons and baby daughter were no longer around. I wish everybody who has written and may yet find this page the chance to find some peace and clossure. I wish to thank each one of you for sharing so much of your pain with others it can help us to find healing as well God
Bless you all
hi milly, i had no trouble getting my paperwork in nsw i just went to the adoptions branch in parramatta and they let me read the whole thing and then they copied everything out and posted this huge big parcel to me, i am sorry that you are having so much trouble with yours
Hi Girls from Bidura,
I was also there, I arrived in 1954 aged 18 months, I would have been very scared and confused to not have my four older brothers with me anymore and being in a strange place with strange people around me. and went from there to various foster homes and back until I was adopted at the age of six. My memories are mixed between the different places but I was also abused, both physically and sexually if not at Bidura then at one of the foster homes which are supposed to be safe places. I have an 18 month old grandchild and watch how he reacts with stranges even with his family around. I am 57 and my memories of my childhood still haunt me.
Looking for anyone who remembers two sisters who would have been in Bidura in 1969 or 1970. Robyn Louise Johnson and Ellen Rita Johnson (born 1963 and 1959) who came from Wyangala Dam in NSW.
OOps – missed this piece out
I am still battling with the authorities for paperwork – any suggestions would gladly be accepted. I live in New Zealand.
Have a great day.
Hi once again everyone,
This place is probably the most informative place I have been to on the net. here I hear the truth and finally have realised they WE were treated very badly in our young life by people who supposedly were there to look after us, in our time of need. So what did we get ??? A lot of crap and even more hurt. I am so angry about how hard it is to get any of my paperwork…… it’s almost as if they don’t want it to be aired again.
My background is hard to break through to – my parents are both now dead – my father was convicted of murder ( he killed my mom in 1966) – his sister, my aunt died without telling me much of anything, and her daughter, my cousin is hiding things and I fear that she will take it all to her grave as well…….. So frustrating!!
Coming here once in a while helps though and I can actually feel that what I dream about- and what I think happened …did….. you all confirm it in each and every post. I thank you for helping me in your own little ways !
I too remember the big warehouse where you were kitted out for your foster parents – clothes no-one else had to wear – only us ! Way out of fashion and always bigger than needed.
I am still battling with the
Hi I was in Bidura in 1968/69, I was 5 years old and for years I've been trying to find information about the place and this site has been the best psychologically because the information is from women who had been there. My worst memory is just like Silvia's who replied on April 5th. I will never forget what happened in that doctor's room, how I was stripped naked and violated on that table and made to walk up and back the length of his room with no clothes on – I was only 5 years old but I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable.
I also remember wearing clothes way too big, in particular a one piece swimming costume where the crotch hung to my knees. I was told by the nun if i wanted to go swimming I'd put it on, so i did. All the kids were in the pool – too many- and I fell and went underwater with other kids standing and falling all over me. I nearly drowned and when I finally was able to get up and take a breath I was crying hysterically from the experience. The nun didn't budge from her fat butt and refused to let me out of the pool let alone comfort me, I have been terrified of drowning ever since.
I don't remember much else except the feeling of abandonment and loneliness and disgusting rhubarb. My happiest day was when my foster mother came to meet me and brought me 2 packets of Rolos, which I was promptly told to share with everyone else when she left ( the girls had to get in line) – I only got left with half a Rolo but I remember feeling happy because all the other kids were so grateful and smiling and I was getting some positive attention.
Before I went to live with my new family for the next 13 years I was taken by a woman (welfare I think) to a big warehouse where she picked out a new pink chenille dressing gown and other new clothes for my new life. My 2 brothers who were younger than me were in the same taxi when we were dumped at Bidura, I don't remember what happened to them. My parents were alcoholics and there was domestic violence and neglect but eventually in in 1972 my father Kevin Jarvis murdered my mother Beatrice(Biddy) by stabbing her to death in a jealous rage in Wagga Wagga.
Hi My mum also stayed at Bidura (as far as I understand) as a small child. She Ann had a brother Maurice and sister Jan Coats… Ann was born in the 1940 and lived in the minto area? If any one know her please let me know. Thankyou
hi my mum is trying to find relotives mum went to bidura in roughly 1958
, her name was elaine she was 8 she had a sister maureen if anybody remembers her could you please reply
she has told me stories about foster people but she cant remember to much about home only small things my mum is in her sixtys and memories can get confused id love to help piece things together thanx
no the large green room was on the right hand side of the main entrance building its official name was the green dormatory and it was a square building i would of been in there say 1960-1961 i remember a Nurse Heap. the school was down the back of the yard,
Reading all this show me that all have had the same experience.
In 1966 I entered those doors only six years old.Those were memories, now I hold the file in my hands,I can see it as if it was yesterday.The smells that haunted me for years the libary the second hand places put me back there each time.The room that you were taken to and striped of your own being and who you were.Your bag taken away your clothes taken off you. Placed on your body were ill fitting clothes that were not your own. The feeling of what was happening why are you doing this ,why are you taking my things away no don`t give it back. Someone saying it`s ok not seeing their face only their hands as they remove everything.Then of to the doctors room so scared.Place on a white sheeted table checking every part of my body then touching where it didnot feel right. Dose my mum know they are doing this to me.WHY?
Tears and tears so many of them.Taken to a room so many girls who are they why are they all here. Now alone standing what do I do mum where are you come get me.Where is my brother Eddie why is he not here where did they take him.
Some older girls then came and took part in playing the mother roll.Holding telling you that it will be alright they would look atfer you and they did.The bed was a cot there was always yelling girls crying the nights were hard.
I walked around trying to shut everything around me out keep everything away from me not talk to anyone so quite only the tears. I pulled back so far that I didnot care what happened around me.They left me alone.
If this was not enough there was the other place call foster parents the most unspeakable kind of people that walked the earth. Is there anyone from Bibura that had that kind of foster parents, did you have the same ones I did were you there too.
Hi all again,
Well what a rigmarol to get my papers from Aussie. Nowhere would see me whilst I was over there.
I now have to apply via the internet and fill in all the papers from each place and also send all my proof (x 3) to each place. Then I was also told that hopefully my information would still be there……..
Since I started looking into my childhood – I have started having dreams of Bidurra ….. one of the most vivid is being showered and dressed up each Sunday morning so that we looked clean and presentable for visitors that came that afternoon – going to the clothing room and getting dresses to look nice…. and then waiting for the visitors that never came …. or if they did they didnt stay long and left me there. Then getting changed back into our real clothes and set back to the kitchen to work.
Also of the lock up cupboards with our treats from the vistors – only being allowed a little bit each day. Does anyone else remember those? Not that I had many at all – but the few lollies I got were such a special treat.
I remember the nit washes, kero was used older girls had it poured over their heads, babies were held by the legs and their heads dunked in the stuff,, also garlic and a date given daily to prevent worms,a raw garlic clove it was horrid but we had to eat it. sleeping 2 or 3 to a bed cause there were too many kids, the green room was a night mare, well all the dorms were, girls could be taken at night and used by whoever and no one would help them. Dr Fingers i remember that creep too. My younger brother and sister were taken soon after we got there, I was beat for crying when they left and told I no longer had a family as none of them wanted me. My religion was change i found out later when i met my real family, the spelling of my name was changed by them also, all in an effort to make me feel more abandoned and alone, that is how DoC's wanted us all to feel back then. I was beaten often and locked in that linen cupboard in the front area near the Dr's room, and now that place of so much child abuse of all kinds is a childrens court, make it what they want those black and white tiles on the verandah will always give me nightmares, they are the last thing many saw before entering HELL. The state didn't care what happened to home kids back then and nothing has changed, kids are proprty to be disposed of and minimum care is all that is required.
I was in Glebe Girls Shelter but only for a short time in 1960 it was a horrible place.
I ran away from home with a girl friend from Northern NSW. We were in Glebe girls shelter for a few weeks on remand waiting for court and I was placed in the care of my mother after court. I was placed under child safety for a couple of years and I had to have weekly visits.
OMG! I never wanted to go anywhere like that again but was constantly told that's where I was going if I didn't do as I was told.
I remember getting beaten in there and my friend and I were scared to sleep because of the lesbians so we'd take shifts of cat napping all night it was awful and you could not even have a shower in private they'd watch you.
I am not sure if there'd be files on me that I could get but I guess maybe because I was placed under care of the department for a couple of years they'd have to have some records on me.
Take care all and stay strong. xx
Hi andrew , its Marie, i'm sorry about your Grandmother, i understand how she must of been feeling and understand the deep sadness that she couldnt tell her story to those whom she loved dearly.
I can only say that it was something that i carried for many years also ,and felt it was something that i might do one day , tell my loved ones , Why , i asked myself many times why couldn't i do it .Because it was painful i know!
Shame ,guilt deep sadness, anger loss, things you've carried with u all your life , internalised and kept from you/s because she didnt want you's to feel her pain.
I did tell my sons my story
My beloved Grandmother was in Bidura from the mid 1930's till the early 1940's and she NEVER spoke about being in care as a child. It's something myself and my siblings have discovered as we go deeper into our family research. My Nanna was always a closed off and a shy reserved woman with very little maternal skills and we could never understand why she was like that when she was alive. After reading these blogs I've just discovered that my Nanna probably went through all the simular beatings that people have descibed here.
Ready everyone's responses has just made me cry so hard and I miss my Nanna even more now and I'm so glad that although she probably felt all alone as a child in there, I'm glad too that she wasn't the only one that felt this way. However I just want to say thank you to those that opened their hearts and shared their experiences about this place.
h,i and happy new year to all of you!
you'll organise with DOCS the retrieval of your files too Milly!
keep in touch. all of you!
DoCS is the Department of Community Services.
In New South Wales, you can obtain a copy of a death certificate from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au). There are similar Registries in each State.
Hi again – Happy 2011 to you all. May this year be a great one for us all.
Just wondering if you could help me…. DoCS is mentioned here a few times. Could someone tell me what this is. I dont live in Aussie – I live in New Zealand now – but we are coming over in about 2 weeks and I would love to be able to go the the right place to get my records. Also I want to get my parents death certificates. Any help wopuld be appreciated.
hi marilyn ,i remember Matron Law , and a sister stevens . Stevens was a cruel and heartless woman who as i mentioned before flogged me,because of oversalted porridge.She probably put it there!!!Matron Law was just as bad she belted me until i was left with welts from a ring she had on ,it was for my own good! she said ,my sister and i absconded you see.Clare Brown was a sweet girl i knew ,and kathleen Sweeney.
i would also look at the lights, the harbour bridge and wish my self there and wonder where everyone had gone (my siblings,there were eight of us we were seperated) my mum and dad too! it was a sad sad time i was 8yrs old i am now 57,( if others respond could you put the year you arrived and the year you's left please)just to see if any others correspond I was there from 1961-1963.Allyson was the green room a big round room
Have a good and safe Christmas to all of yous XX
I was in Bidura as had absconded from victoria so was in glebe shelter and then after court to bidura untill extradition papers whatever ! sounds like I was a hostage taker gosh !!!!! I remember one nice lady in Bidura her name was lee tonkin never forgot her long blonde hair was so kind and just a wionderful sweet girl ! I remember a nurse roach red headed thing think she had a stump but not sure anyways she would knuckle thse tiny kids in the back if they didnt move straight away ! the older girls ZI only remember two as were not many there ! A red haired girl call maree and a black girl who was maree's friend she was so funny !I will remember her name my memory is not the best ! hehehe what was the idea of the limos ?I remember one girl around 12 came into Bidura and her hair was so matted the lice were visibly running through I was in amazement WTF I was intrigued ! I to remember looking out at night and the yearning my heart felt one could never imagine if only I could get close to those lights I would think I would never complain again ! I did later on in life but I will always remember my stay at Bidura and Glebe wow what cruel place for little toddlers so sad back then so sad !!!!
i also went to court too and never saw my mother and father again.
my six siblings started to disappear until there was only myself and my eldest sister she was eleven left at bibura.
and one day she was taken from me also i was left alone.
how do you heal from something so traumatic and horrifying .
i feel for you and others who have shared' im sure a small part of their stories with us
I too was very scared
I hope you find your friends
I went to Bidura in 1970 i was 12ys old i was very scared i didnt understand what was going on all i new was i went to court with my parents and left with out them i was told i was going on a holiday and stayed with foster care over night befor going to a place called minda then on to Bidura where i was assessed befor i was put in the care of a place called Lynwood Hall where i became very good friends with two other girls that was the first time i ever had a friend and would love to find them can any one help me
i also went into Bidura approx 3 times. once as a 9yr old then fostered out into white slavery. returned at age 10 then fostered out until i was 15ys when i returned , the building off to side of the main house was called the green room. i still have night mares about that place. May i say there was one girl who saved me from many bashing from the other girls Her name was Roberta Swan , the nicest girl in the place. i had to work in the scullrey washing up i still use steel wool on all my pots and pans until you can see your face in them
I went into Bidura as a State Ward at the age of 12 in 1972. It was not a pleasant experience. Unbeknown to me, my brother was in the boy's home Royalston just down the road, at the same time. We lost each other for a couple of years at this time, as we were both moved to different orphanges. I have no good memories of Bidurea. I was put into the large room off to the side, that housed about 20 – 30 girls. There were guards at the door, this was supposed to be for our protection! For any info about the homes and accessing your documents, please go to http://www.clan.org.au. This organisation will help you with all types of information and is a great support group.
type in( Royalston boys home Australia) some info came up
hope this helps
its been a while since i blogged on, and what a nice suprise to see others have too .
I hope you were able to retrieve your files n things are ok, yes Jacinta you apply through your nearest DOCs office.
When you are contacted he/she will sit with you while you read it , this is because it can be a very emotional and anxious time for you / you's , this was for support i was very nervous ,i felt my childhood memories return, flooding back, and quite upsetting. This was before i opened my file.
I was told to try and not take it too personal ! and that the people who entered these notes in my file regarding me were just ignorant . They were cold !!! n heartless . They didnt know me, you know what i mean ! ! ! ! good luck.
Milly hi , i was like you i was a maid for those who took me in ,i was10 and when i was about 12,i remember asking that exact question to her, what am i ? a maid around here. Yes i was!
Adrian hi, What was or is royalston a home ? Im sure my brothers were at bombaderry 1961 onwards.
Rosemary hi, thank you so much .
if it wasnt for your Story we would not have met these people and heard their Stories.
thank You Rosemary!
Thanks – will do
I have since learned that records relating to State wards can be accessed through DoCS by going to the local office with ID and asking fore your file. They have a record of all files. Hopefully ours will be among them.
I too am trying hard to trace this period of my life – be it the worst part of my life ….. I need to know it all.
Its quite hard getting anything about BIdura other tahn that it was a Temporary hold cell for those like us.
I have contacted the webmaster if the Glebe Society and he was quite helpful …. email him Im sure he will put you in the right direction. Good Luck!
My family were removed from our parents in 1966. My sister and younger brother were placed at Bidura and I and my older brother were sent to a place a few doors up. My poor memory brings up the name Royalston however I am not sure. We were then separted and sent to places like Mittagong, Bombaderyy etc.
I am trying to trace this period of our lives. If you have any information which can get me information onn Royalston I would appreciate it being posted.
I spent time in Bidura also. I arrived there when I was about 11 years old. I was seperated from by brother – he was placed down the road in a boys home. I hated my time there . I was always made to do chores I didnt want to do …. and I slept in the room that was attached to the main building along with about 20 others – I was always in trouble and I was left there on and off until I was about 14 years old – I was placed into a families who always seemed to only want me for a maid. When I finally was olde nough I scarppered and began my new life of freedom. I don't remember anything nice about that place.
How do you go about retrieving files from the archives? I believe my mother, who is now deceased, was in Bidura in the late 1940's & I would like to find out more about her childhood.
I can truely understand how you must feel as we both endured such similar circumstances . Its sad to think there are so many others out there who bear the same scars as we do.
Idont know what the goverment was thinking in the sixties to allow innocent little children to be subjected to such pain and suffering at the hands of cruel cold and heartless people.They certainly didnt choose the foster parents for there love but just to get rid of us were they could I believe the foster parents took the children to look good in the eyes of there communities and in the eyes of the church. I also was put down ridiculed stripped of all confidence and beaten and I was even sent back to Biddura to teach me a lesson. nothing changed when i returned to them.
I believe it was a great day when they finally shut the doors on Bidurra as a childrens home ending the suffering of so many small and innocent children but not ending the memories we all carry with us through life.
I do hope you have a wonderful and forfilling life now Marie God knows you deserve it as we all do.
Ihave a wonderful family now and have decided to retrieve my files from the archives as my children want to know what i went through at that time in my childhood and to close the chapter on what was the cruelest place I have ever known…..Biddura….
Thankyou for replying to me Marie it was lovely to hear from you but sad as well as i can feel the pain in your words.
Take care always
yes they took my brothers and sister too,it must have been through the nite as you say!
i only remember seeing my 4 brothers the second morning at breakfast, i was 8 they were 3,4,7.and 9.
my elder sister and i were left there ,she was 11 but sadly they came for her and like you i was beaten and sedated for my fuss!! i will never forget that day , i am still haunted by the memories and grief at the loss of my brothers and sisters. Yes there were more siblings my eldest sister lived with our grandmother she was 14 and my mother had given birth to our new little sister , we never got to see her. My foster family bought things to my attention that i never experienced whilst in the loving care of my natural family, physical abuse, verbal, put downs , called racist names, beatings, it was as cold there too as bidura was i was 10 years old
I would have to agree with Marie. I also was at Bidurra when she was in 1961. I was 7 years old and I remember the porridge was not only cold but had weavils in it and yes you were forced to eat it. When I arrived at Bidurra my 3 year old br other was left with me. They tried to take him away but I clung to him. He had a favourite toy his little rabbit named Foof who only had one ear.While I slept that night they took him away leaving his pet rabbit behind. Iwas beaten for the fuss I made the next morning when I found he was gone.My memories of Bidurra are that it was a cold and cruel place and when I was finally lucky enough to be fostered by my parents Ican recall the saddness I felt for the children still left there. I am 55 now and when I think back to my time there I am truely sad.
I also spent time at Bidura from 1961 -1963. My time there was a time so different to yours rosemary.
I was a victim of abuse (physical) , eg beaten until i was left with marks because the porridge was so oversalted and i couldnt eat it, was forcibly put down my throat untl i vomited and another belting for that!! it was my second day there ,i was 8years old! and on and on it went! I am 57 years old now
where are my fond memories?
I grew up in this grand old building. I was one of the children who was a ward of the state. It was so lovely. I remember the lay out of the building well. I was very lucky as I got to stay there for over two years.
I polished the door nobs every Saturday when all the older children had to do chores. They were brass and well looked after.
I would often look out from the top floor over the city at night and marvel at the lights. The tallest building at the time was the AMP building.
I have often wated to go back to walk through the building as I had some very fond memories of it. the staff were great and we were well cared for.
God bless all those who looked after me and all the girls and young boys who stayed within these walls. I give thanks that the building was preserved.