The Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Orphanage was established in Cottesloe in 1905. It was the first orphanage to be built in Australia by an interational organisation which had established similar institutions elsewhere. The IOOF Orphanage opened on 13 August 1905, for the children of deceased members of the IOOF. By 1919, there were 36 children at the orphanage. A new wing was formally opened on 13 September 1919 that year to accommodate up to 50 children whose fathers were soldiers who had been killed in World War One.
The IOOF Orphanage was run by the IOOF, who appointed the first matron, Sarah Eakins from South Australia. Subsequent managers of the orphanage were married couples who were members of the IOOF.
Children were trained to become agricultural labourers or domestic servants, and a large part of the orphanage site was farmed with livestock and vegetables.
By the late 1930s, the orphanage was 'under utilised'. From 1935 to 1940, the annual reports of the Child Welfare Department recorded the private admissions for children aged under 6. These were: 1935, 1 child; 1936, 6 children; 1937, 3 children; 1938-40, 1 child in each year.
The IOOF sought to sell the orphanage buildings to the government. In August 1940, the buildings were requisitioned for use by the Red Cross as a convalescent home for soldiers, called the Lady Mitchell Convalescent Home. The building was purchased by the State Government in August 1946.
The Department for Child Protection and Family Support may have some information about children or young people admitted to the IOOF Orphanage, if they were sent via the government system.
No records are known to exist for people who were resident in the IOOF Orphanage, however the State Library of Western Australia and the State Records Office hold some historical information. Please contact the State Records Office before you visit as the item will need to be retrieved from storage.
Access to records is restricted to protect the privacy of individuals. However, files holding general historical information or very old personal records, are open to the public. You are very welcome to enquire.
It is possible that the Independent Order of Oddfellows was absorbed by another organisation after 2007. If you have any information about the IOOF, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us using the link on this page.
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
24 February 2014
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00302
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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