HISTORY and education were celebrated today as Prime Minister announced $7 million to restore the Female Orphan House in Parramatta.
Julia Gillard said the funding would be also go towards completing the Whitlam Institute.
The former orphan house built by Governor Maquarie has housed the institute on the grounds of the University of Western Sydney since 2000.
Watch a TVS western Sydney news video about the announcement below:
The funding provided in the federal budget will be used to restore the dilapidated east wing and provide a permanent home to the thousands of documents, books and belongings of the former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
Ms Gillard said it was an honour to secure the institute for the University of Western Sydney, which she said was an example of the principal promoted by the Whitlam government — that education should be available to all.
The university had gone further than any other in Australia, the prime minister said, to engage students from backgrounds that had not previously been exposed to tertiary education.
The universisty’s vice chancellor Professor Janice Reid said the building was of national significance.
‘‘It’s restoration offers us a place for sharing our stories and forging new relationships; for speaking to each other in art and song and words; a place for study and debate and for the exploration of ideas,’’ she said.
The foundations of the orphan house were first laid on the banks of the Parramatta River at Rydalmere in 1813, making it the oldest three-storey sandstone building in Australia.