The former principal’s residence at historic Fairbridge Farm has burnt to the ground following a fire at the Amaroo Road site early Monday morning.
Emergency services received a triple-zero call at 1.15am and arrived at the Molong property a short time later, however by then the two-storey building was engulfed in flames.
About 20 firefighters from Rural Fire Service brigades in Gamboola, Molong, Borenore, Orange Molong Road and North West attended the blaze alongside firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW in Orange, Molong and Bathurst.
All that’s left is two chimneys and a lot of ash. It was very upsetting to see.Secretary of the Molong Historic Society Sue Milne
The firefighters worked alongside police, Cabonne Council staff and Essential Energy crews.
The building was unable to be saved, however firefighters worked at the site until 7am to ensure the fire didn’t reignite.
Canobolas Zone duty officer Cameron Bird said early indications suggest the fire started in or close to the main building and there were no reports of burning off or grass fires in the area.
“It took a couple of hours after it was extinguished to keep the area cool and look for hot spots,” he said.
According to the secretary of the Molong Historic Society Sue Milne the destroyed building not only housed the school principal, it also provided guest accommodation and meeting rooms.
“Now all that’s left is two chimneys and a lot of ash. It was very upsetting to see,” she said.
MAP: Where the blaze broke out …
Ms Milne said her mother June Burt had lived at Fairbridge in the 1940s and it was unfortunate to see how many of the other buildings at the site were in decay.
The cause of the fire is unknown and RFS investigators and police were still at the site on Monday afternoon.
The property was the linchpin of Britain’s child migration scheme that saw almost 1000 children travel from the UK to Australia to attend Fairbridge Farm residential school between 1938 and 1973.
Former child resident David Hill lifted the lid on conditions at Fairbridge, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse, in his 2007 book The Forgotten Children.
Subsequently victims of abuse at Fairbridge Farm were awarded a $24 million compensation payout.