The Female Orphan School is an iconic attraction located on the Parramatta Campus of the Western Sydney University and is one of the most important heritage sites in the state. The school was constructed in 1813 and marked the continuation of a policy that made provisions for orphaned girls.
The school’s vision at the time was to replace the ‘boarding out system’ to accommodate the orphans and create a welfare institution to meet these needs. The school underwent many changes over the years and is today a public exhibition space and home to the exemplary Whitlam Institute.
Female Orphan School Parramatta, Address, History, Open Day & Map
For interested visitors, there is a small selection of artifacts that were discovered and preserved during the restoration process. Be sure to visit the Margaret Whitlam Galleries in the western wing. These galleries provide an excellent exhibition space and depending on the time of your visit, you may have the opportunity to enjoy any of the current art exhibitions. Most of the work showcased reflects Australian cultural and social history.
One of the fascinating features at the school is the permanent exhibition at the Whitlam Institute. The exhibition is titled ‘A Changing Australia: The time of Gough Whitlam’, and it explores the life and times of Gough Whitlam; one of the country’s most prolific Prime Ministers.
Entry to the Whitlam Institute Exhibition is free with opening hours between 10am and 4pm. Additionally, the gallery is also open on the second Saturday of each month between 11am and 4pm (excluding public holidays).
A trip to the Female Orphan School also allows visitors to enjoy the self-guided Parramatta Campus Heritage Walk; a trail that gives insight into the history of the surrounding buildings.
The Female Orphan School is on the Parramatta South campus of Western Sydney University, on the corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road in Rydalmere. Limited paid parking is available on campus.