The building of St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage in Napier Street, South Melbourne, had commenced by 1864, and was completed by 1867. In 1861, the Sisters of Mercy had taken over the management of the St Vincent de Paul Orphanage in Cecil Street, South Melbourne in 1861, where boys and girls were housed together until the separate girls' institution was built.
In 1872 the Sisters of Mercy established a Domestic Training Institute in their former House of Mercy in Fitzroy. Older orphan girls were transferred to the Institute from St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage, South Melbourne to be trained in domestic work. This training took the form of 'acting as servants for the adjoining boarding school', the Convent of Mercy, Nicholson Street, Fitzroy.
The Sisters 'continued to claim funds for the girls at the training institute', arguing that better training made them much more suitable for employment outside the institution. In essence, [the orphanage was] attempting to keep the children for as long as possible, presumably to protect them from the dangers and temptations that awaited them in isolated private homes. A side benefit was much-needed assistance with domestic labour.'
In 1920, St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage became independent from the Convent of Mercy.
In the late 1930s the Sisters of Mercy established a holiday home at Black Rock for the girls in St Vincent's care.
MacKillop Family Services holds more than 115,000 individual records relating to children and mothers who were in institutions run by the Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of St Joseph. The collection dates from 1857 onwards, and includes client admission registers, admission cards and paper files, photographs, annual reports, newspaper cuttings, policy documents and various items of memorabilia.
Contact: Jenny Glare, Manager, Heritage and Information Services.
Phone: (03) 9699 9177
237 Cecil Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Fax: (03) 9696 6496
19 February 2014
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000189
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
Creative Commons Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License