FRIDAY, 16th November       

– the Female Orphan School, Parramatta


We will stop for morning tea at Mt Annan before we set off to the campus of the University of Western Sydney for a guided tour of the restored buildings of the Female Orphan School.

The Female Orphan School building is a key witness to some of the most significant social changes in Australian history. The building has shaped thousands of lives over the two centuries it has stood on the banks of the Parramatta River.

Whilst something of a hidden treasure, the building is of immense significance to Australia’s social history. It is one of the very few surviving public buildings of its size dating from the early colonial period. Predating even Hyde Park Barracks, the Female Orphan School is the oldest three-storey building in the country.

The building stands on the traditional lands of the Darug people, who occupied the western Sydney area and were intimately connected to it.

For most of its life, the building accommodated those who, for whatever reason, were left on the periphery of society. Its first function was to accommodate, educate and train Sydney’s ‘orphaned’ children. After its life as an orphanage, it served as a psychiatric hospital and its changing use over the subsequent 100 years reflected society’s evolving understanding of mental illness. By the mid1980s, the philosophies the building embodied had become obsolete, and the building became disused and fell into disrepair.

Recognising its heritage significance, the University of Western Sydney (now known as Western Sydney University) saw to the building’s restoration in a series of projects beginning in 2000. The Female Orphan School has now been revivified as the centrepiece of the university’s Parramatta campus.

After our guided tour there will be time to have a look at the two exhibition spaces. The Margaret Whitlam Galleries are located in the Female Orphan School’s west wing. In these galleries, Western Sydney University and the Whitlam Institute present temporary art exhibitions and exhibitions related to Australia’s social, cultural and democratic history for the public to enjoy. The Female Orphan School is also home to the Whitlam Institute. The Institute’s permanent exhibition A Changing Australia: the Time of Gough Whitlam explores the remarkable life and enduring legacy of one of Australia’s most significant Prime Ministers – Gough Whitlam.
Travelling east up the Parramatta River we will go to THE ARMOURY WHARF CAFÉ at Newington for lunch. Some of you may have been with us before. It’s a delightful spot on the river.
Here we will have Starter Plates of – Pita Bread and 3 Mediterranean Dips, Garlic and Herb Bread and Bowls of Sweet Potato Chips.

Mains will be your choice of – Chilli Prawn Linguini,    Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Herb Crumbed Chicken Schnitzel, Vegetable Frittata and Pulled Pork Burger.

Jugs of Fruit Soda and tea/coffee or hot chocolate are also included.

Join us for a varied day of history from 2 centuries and a relaxing final lunch to top off our year of travelling together, learning so many new facts, seeing the nooks and crannies of our beautiful land and mixing with each other in friendship.

DEPARTURE: 8.00am   North Beach ;    8.15am W.E.C.                    


BOOKINGS will be taken on 22nd OCTOBER                                                 

COST: $70                                  

(We need 50 people as I’ve costed it on this number)



The committee decided last year, that to be fair to those who were members of U3A, visitors would be welcome on our trips, day trips and holidays, but will be charged more.





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