Ardill House

Ardill House
Ardill House

Originally called “Clermont House”, it was constructed in 1861 on a 9 hectare grant to Henry Bray (third Mayor of Concord [1890-1891] and younger brother of Alfred Bray, first Mayor of Concord).   When Henry died at “Clermont” in 1896, according to an obituary, “the business places of Burwood were draped in black”.

John Bibb, architect, designed the house in a mid-Victorian style with Georgian influences.   Clermont was constructed of stucco brick.   A curved bay window was a feature of one side.   Its iron roof was bellcast and supported on iron columns.   (“Bellcast” refers to a roof that tends to flatten out in changing to a lower pitch near the eaves.)

A transom covered the main front door.   A second storey was added to the original structure in 1880 but the ground floor veranda along the front and sides of the original building was retained.   The hipped roof was of slate and moulded tops covered the large chimneys.   Internally the house was designed to permit extensive entertaining as befitted Henry Bray’s status as a merchant and well-known community figure.

Subdivision of the estate began in 1917 and in 1918 the house and existing grounds were donated by the then owner, F.K. Olliver, to the Society for Providing Houses for Neglected Children.   At this time the name was changed from Clermont to Ardill House to honour the founder of the society, George Edward Ardill, who established the charity in 1887 to provide refuge for neglected, homeless and threatened children.

In 1976 the Australian Heritage Commission added Ardill House to the Register of the National Estate.   It has also been classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

The stables were demolished in 1949 to make way for the new toilet block built in 1952 and three new rooms – a pantry, playroom and dining room – were added to the original home in 1965, the basic structure of the mid-Victorian building remains intact and much of the internal detail still exists.

For many years it was also known as “Our Children’s Home”, but with government changes in child care it closed in approximately 1981. It re-opened in 1983 for day child care in various forms.

Ardill House - Matron and chidren
Ardill House – Matron and chidren

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This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. The photo above is me on the right hand side sitting on the pylon. I’m not sure when this photo was taken but I was there between 1961 to 1968.

    Can you give me any information about the others or get in contact with me.

    1. I went to this awful place too I’m not in the photo I was there from 1971 to I’m not sure that part of my life was a living nightmare. My stepmother put me there and then just left me. I was 10

    2. The girl on the veranda her name was Marcia or Marcy.

      1. Yes, the girl on the verandah was Marcia Nasman. The children from the home went to North Strathfield public school. Marcia had epilepsy and would often have fits at school. I remember the children would walk with matron to Holy Trinity church to attend Sunday school. I went to the home a few times to play with the children. The boy standing between the two wrought iron posts was Ray Pallister, he was always getting into trouble at school.
        Sandra Coleman

        1. I remember Ray and Marcia very clearly. I was at North Strathfield from 1960 till Year 6 in 1966 then off to Homebush High. Never understood what the big house behind Kelly’s milk bar was about. All 6 siblings in the Macallister family attended the school and had several friends in the big house! Colin Macallister.

          1. I posted a comment yesterday but don’t see it on the site. I’m sure that is me second from the left leaning up against the pylon. I was in the kids’ home from 1955-1963. I look about 13 years old in this photo, so that would be about 1961. A question I asked yesterday: Is that Mr. Ardill standing next to Matron, or is it Mr. Rowland who was the Baptist minister? Mr. Rowland took over administration of the home after Ardill died, I think in 1964. I also noted yesterday that the girls’ bedrooms were upstairs. The larger of the two was in the front and the smaller behind. If you look at a photo of the building from the front, the middle window and the one on the left of the photo were the larger bedroom. The window on the right was Matron’s bedroom; and her bathroom was behind. From an architectural point of view, the rooms were quite nice. Anyway, sorry if I’m repeating myself. I also have some photos of the kids which I took after I left and came back for a visit.

        2. Do you remember Ron and Geoff Webster

          1. Hi Ron! If you finished 68 you were probably born 1956 and therefore 2 years behind me! You would have been in my brothers year. Webster does ring a bell but the memory is foggy! Geoff older or younger?

      2. Marcia is right i was there too hi Christian

      3. Hi Christine. Her name was Marcia “Streach”
        I was there 1969 to 1977

    3. hi Ron how are you i remember you i am Josephine (Josie ) i was there with my 2 sisters Sharon and Kerry we were 64 till 19 70

    4. I’ve kept in touch with a couple of friends who were in the home at the same time as I was. Maybe they will be able to remember more of the kids’ names.

  2. Hi there,
    I am not in the photo that you posted but I went to Ardill house from 2000 to 2004. I remember sitting on those same steps with the other kids. It still looked the same as in your picture. Me and my friends use to always wonder what was upstairs as it was blocked off and we weren’t allowed to go up there. We use to tell ghost stories and find things in the house to help us figure out clues of what could have been in the house. Me and my friend in particular were so intrigued by the house we use to collect clues and find things we thought would help us to figure out more about the house, we had a strong connection to it at such a young age. At the time it was an after school care and I hated going there but now I look back and I have a lot of memories there. Me and my friend use to climb up the tree that had a vine hanging. It was in the front yard in the front right corner. I’ve always been into history and old houses and mansions and the stories they have left behind, and I have always had a connection to this house. If you have any stories you would like to share about the house when you were there I’d love to hear them.


    1. Your time there must have been nicer than mine. It was an awful time in my young life.
      Christine Stack

  3. I was one of the last lot of kids to have lived in that hell hole … and was the first kid too be kicked out … Keith Elliott was my favourite and I still remember Butch the dog

  4. I was in the kids’ home from May 1955 until 1963. I’m 99.9% sure that is me second from the left. I always wore my hair in a pony tail, as did most girls of that era, I suppose. Is that Mr. Ardill standing next to Matron, or is it Mr. Rowland who was the Baptist minister, at Concord Baptist Church? Mr. Rowland took over part-time administration of the home after Mr. Ardill died (in 1964 I think). I’ll contact a couple of other girls with whom I occasionally stay in touch – they may be able to identify other kids in the photo. By the way, the girls’ bedrooms were upstairs, and if you ignore the fact that these were dormitories, they were actually quite nice, from an architectural point of view. The smaller of the two was especially nice. Also upstairs was a bedroom and bathroom for Matron. I enjoyed reading all of your comments.

    1. Hi Eileen my name is Cheryle Young I was in that he’ll hole from 1960 until 1964. I remember you and Jean Prince. You had asthma. Carol Tucker who I be leave has past now with cancer.My sister’s name is Lesley. We use to sit on the roof outside the bedroom window. I remember that dirty bucket full of wee that we carried down stairs every morning. Lots of others I remember would love to hear from you

    2. Hi Eileen my name is Cheryle Young I remember you and Jean Prince. You suffered with asthma. Do you remember me love to hear from you. Thanks Cheryle.

  5. Hi Eileen my name is Cheryle Young I remember you and Jean Prince.You had asthma. We use to sit on the roof at night after we finished our chorse. My sisters name was Lesley .We had to carry that horrible wee bucket down stairs in the morning hope in we didn’t spill it. It was a he’ll of a place would love to hear from you
    Thanks Cheryle

    1. Hi Cheryle! I hope you are well. I remember you and Lesley. I posted a comment a few days ago but don’t see it here. Maybe I forgot to click “Post”. Anyway, I’m sorry for not responding sooner. Jean Prince was a dear friend. She tragically died in a car accident not too long afterwards. I’ve stayed in touch with Beverley Ryan and Carol Tucker. I just spoke to Bev on the phone; she is doing well. I was surprised by your comment about Carol. She and I haven’t spoken for a year or so. I still have asthma, but it’s treatable. Would love to say in touch with you.

  6. Hi Eileen my name is Cheryle Young do you remember me ? You had asthma. I remember Jean Prince the Mantover brothers and lots of others Would love to hear from you

    1. Hi Cheryle! I apologize for not responding sooner. Yes, I remember you. How are you? In good health and enjoying life, I hope. I also remember the Mantover brothers, Watson brothers, Carol Tucker, and Bev Ryan. Are you sure about Carol? I think I called her last Christmas. I’ll try again soon and let you know. Jean Prince was my dearest friend. It was so tragic that she died not too long after we left the home. I didn’t find out about it for decades. I was recently looking at some old class photos on the Strathfield Girls High School web site, and picked Jean out from our 1961 2D photo. I’ve downloaded it and will have it printed and framed. I thought I had grown out of my asthma, but it has returned in my senior years. I deal with it. I remember that terrible bucket. Sometimes I would sneak downstairs, being very careful not to step on the creaky steps, and run over the girls’ bathroom. I remember sitting on the roof and chatting. Would love to stay in touch. I will check this web page much more often from now on.

  7. Good to see people who were in Our Children’s Home Davidson St Concord I know some others who were in that Home and soneone who lived 2 doors down from the Home

    My name is Leonie Sheedy from CLAN A national support and advocacy network for people who spent time in orphanages or childrens Homes or foster care
    1800008774 twitter CLAN_AU

    1. I’ve posted a couple of replies to Cheryle this week, but don’t see them. How come?
      Eileen Robinson

  8. Hi Guys
    This pic was around 1970.
    Philip not his brother Ray is holding the rails. Tanya “Queen B” standing on the side of the steps with Shirley sitting behind her. If you look closely, youll see me (Morena Marchi) standing hiding behind Tanya. My brother Robert (RIP 5.5.81 ) Sitting front centre. Christine behind him, I think Trent, Tanya’s brother R.I.P. is sitting on the end Right to us on pic. Matron Gladys Holt with Mr Roland.

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