The Merrylands Baby Health Centre, also known as the Heritage House, is a Heritage-listed building located at Merrylands RSL Club.
Since the restoration and refurbishment for the building was completed in 2017, the space has been made available for the community as a space to feature and showcase artworks of local artists and groups.
Following WW2, the population of many suburbs in Australia grew rapidly, a phenomenon known as the “Baby Boom”. Several suburbs in particular grew quickly with the development of the Commonwealth and State Housing Commission works under the Curtain Government, which was tasked with rehousing and rehabilitating the increased Post-War population. In response to the Baby Boom, many councils initiated Baby Health Care centres as a community support to the booming population. These Baby Health Care centres were run by and employed council employees. This particular Baby Health Care centre was completed in 1947 and opened by W. H. Lam. Its Functionalist and Art Deco architectural design is attributed to Eric Nicholls, a prominent architect that worked closely with Walter Burley Griffin and who was well known for his residential and public building designs.
The Merrylands Baby Health Care Centre is of local historic and social significance for the evidence it provides of the nature of Post-War development in Holroyd. It reflects not only the rapid growth of residential population in the area in this period, (particularly government sponsored schemes such as by the Housing Commission) but also the recognition by government agencies of the day of the need to provide health and education facilities in line with contemporary ideas on child raising. It is also directly associated with the “Baby Boomers” phenomenon which saw child births increase dramatically in the immediate Post-War years. Aesthetically, the building is significant as an interesting and relatively intact representative example of the “domestic” style suburban Baby Health Centres erected throughout the state in the Post-War period. The Merrylands Baby Health Care Centre demonstrates representative qualities as an intact Post-War brick veneer health care buildings, constructed c.1947.
In 2019, Merrylands RSL received two awards during the Cumberland’s Council’s Heritage Awards for restoration work on the former Baby Health Care Centre in Miller Street.
If you are a local artist or group, please contact the Club for enquiries on having your work featured at the Heritage House.