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

7 thoughts on Ardill House

  • 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.

    • 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

      • 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

        • 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.

  • 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.

    Larissa

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