Mamre House, Orchard Hills
Mamre House is an 85-hectare property at Orchard Hills in Sydney's west, part of Reverend Samuel Marsden's original South Creek farm established in 1804. Mamre Homestead, built c1820s, was the home of this colonial chaplain, magistrate and pastoralist. It was the working farmhouse of a busy rural property, a model farm which included orchards, exotic pasture and other crops.
Samuel Marsden, in his work at Mamre farm, pioneered the Australian wool industry by importing and breeding the famous merino sheep.
Mamre House is owned by the NSW Department of Planning and was leased in 1984 to the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta. The vision of Mamre House is:
‘To be a place of promise where individuals are enabled to realise their potential and contribute to the community’.
The Mamre Project began in response to the problem of high unemployment in the local area. Mamre House runs several employment service programs directed at specific target groups- mature workers, those requiring Return to Work and Transition to Work programs as well as IT specific training. Mamre’s youth programs target assistance to early school leavers and a Links to Learning Program for students at risk of non-completion of the School Certificate. Mamre Garden Services is a supported employment program for people with a range of disabilities who provide garden maintenance in various settings in the local area as well as maintaining the gardens, grounds and nursery of Mamre itself. More recently, provision has been made for the education and skilling of Southern Sudanese refugees.
The Marsden Homestead has been operating as a café and function and conference centre since 1990. It plays a role in sustaining hospitality traineeships and work experience placements. Annually Mamre plays hosts to 14,000 public visitors.
Mamre House is a non-profit venture and was the first of the Sponsored Works of the Sisters of Mercy to be incorporated in 1985. It receives funding assistance from Government Grants, income generated from its own services, donations and fundraising.