St Kevin's Industrial School was established on a large parcel of land in the Perth suburb of Glendalough in 1897 as an industrial school for boys aged up to 16 years. It was run by a Catholic religious order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who ran similar institutions in Ireland. As an industrial school, St Kevin's received government fees for children sent there by the state. They also took orphanage children and boys sent there by family. By 1922, the remaining 16 boys had been sent to Clontarf and St Kevin's closed.
A letter of appreciation of the The Daily News Orphans' Christmas Cheer Fund in 1915 gives an insight into life at St Kevin's. The letter shows that donations enabled the children to occasionally have extras that were not part of their daily experience:
'I have the honour to inform you that about one-third of the amount was spent on lollies, one-third on toys and the remainder on fruit and edibles. Please accept on behalf of the children and staff the expression of our sincere gratitude. Letter, 27 December 1915 published in The Daily News 2 December 1916, p.10'
Archbishop Clune reported in evidence to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill in October 1918, that there were 36 'Government children and three private children' at St Kevin's and he thought that 'there were also some orphanage children there'.
When St Kevin's closed, the buildings were given to the Little Sisters of the Poor for use as an old people's home.
The collection held by the Department for Child Protection and Family Support (DCPFS) dates from 1894. It includes records from the Government Receiving Depot, the State Children's Department, the Child Welfare Department and more recent departments which have been known at different times as the Department for Child Protection, Community Development, Community Welfare, Community Services, and Family and Children's Services. The records relate to children who were placed in all types of out of home 'care' in Western Australia. Some of the records held by the DCPFS were originally created by another government department or private agency.
Contact Freedom of Information, Department for Child Protection and Family Support:
PO Box 6334, East Perth WA 6892
Telephone: (08) 6217 6388 or (08) 6217 6381
Facsimile: (08) 9222 2776
Free call in WA: 1800 000 277
10 June 2014
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00194
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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