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Buena Vista charity shop is empty. Will the home of cheap crockery, clothes and knick-knacks return?

September 9, 2022

Buena Vista opportunity shop on Friday. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

Translated from Spanish, it means "good view".

But the view through the glass into the Buena Vista charity shop on Peisley Street wasn't so appealing on Friday.

Usually home to clothes, toys, crockery and knick-knacks at bargain basement prices, the opportunity shop sat empty, save for shelving and display furniture.

"It's been a long time coming," read a statement from the Central West United Protestant Association (UPA), which operates the shop.

The store, about to undergo a makeover, closed this week and will not reopen until Monday October 24.

Buena Vista opportunity shop on Friday. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

"We apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you on open day," the UPA Central West team said. "Thank you for understanding."

Buena Vista was the name of a boys' home at 211 March Street, established in 1950 by the United Protestant Association of New South Wales.

It closed in 1982 as a children's home, and was converted to a specialist adolescent unit in partnership with Mission Australia.

In a 2004 Senate report into Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children included a number of testimonies about UPA homes.

"I was then taken to the United Protestant Association's, Buena Vista Boys' Home in Orange, in the Central West of New South Wales, from February 1951 (Aged 11) till October 1954 (Aged 15)," one read.

"This home being run by a lovely Christian couple who were like Mother and Father to us and are the reason I am, as I am today."

Another, noting the "value systems" of the times, wrote of her experience in a UPA home for girls in Sydney: "Children were beaten on a daily basis. I can remember being beaten for something that I might do wrong in the future. The beatings were not the worst things we had to endure.

"Some of the staff played mind/emotional games with the children that enhanced their feeling of power whilst demeaning the child.

"There was a time when the local Church of England Minister was brought in to administer beatings as the then sadistic matron ... was unable or unwilling to do it herself. She still smacked girls' faces and beat their bottoms when the Minister was not around."


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