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Organisation St Joseph's Refuge (1868 - c. 2001)
- c. 2001
- Care Provider and Catholic
- Alternative Names
- The Fullarton Refuge (Also known as)
- St Joseph's Centre, Fullarton (Also known as)
[Taken from the South Australian guide Finding Your Own Way]
Please note that this page reproduces the original language used in the historical sources drawn upon to compile this entry. This language includes offensive and derogatory terms which are today considered unacceptable. We apologise for any offence caused by such language.
St Joseph's Refuge was the second institution established by the Catholic Church in South Australia. Its foundation was inspired by reports by the Sisters of St Joseph about the number of Catholic women they had encountered on visiting the Adelaide Gaol. Many of these women wished to reform themselves but had no support to do so. The sisters believed that given a nurturing, spiritual environment - as well as shelter and care - these young women, some of whom were unmarried mothers, could be given a second chance. The Refuge still operates today under the management of Centacare and is known as Louise Place (c.2001-).
A number of women who urgently needed help were accommodated in temporary homes. In October 1867 Archdeacon Patrick Russell called a meeting of leading members of the Catholic community in Adelaide. As a result of this gathering a rented premises was secured in Franklin Street, Adelaide, to be set up as a Catholic Female Refuge. In May 1868 the Sisters of St Joseph took charge of the institution. Initially 24 women were in residence, eleven of whom the sisters had removed from the Gaol. The institution supported itself through laundry work. The refuge cared for women of all denominations for as long as they required shelter and no payment for accommodation was requested.
From Franklin Street the Refuge moved to a larger rented house at Mitcham with enough rooms to accommodate twenty women. In 1872 it transferred to an even larger premises near the St Ignatius Church in Queen Street, Norwood. Due to the success of the laundry work the Refuge had a small sum of money saved. This combined with a charitable bequest allowed the church to purchase an eleven-acre property, formerly a Jam Factory, at Fullarton. New buildings were erected including a lying-in home, a children's cottage and a modern laundry which would provide the funding for the running of the refuge for years to come. The Fullarton Refuge was officially opened on 22 September 1901. By 1911 the refuge was home to 86 women, 36 children and 18 sisters. At the turn of the century the emphasis of the refuge changed from sheltering former prisoners from the Adelaide Gaol to caring for unmarried mothers and their children.
The identity of each woman admitted to the refuge was carefully protected. On arriving each was given a name other than her true Christian name and during her stay she was only known by that pseudonym. Her real identity was recorded in a locked register which still survives. While embracing the Catholic faith was not a pre-requisite of residence, all women were expected to work. Mothers were allowed to remain until their child reached three years of age. At that time, if the women wished to remain at the Refuge, the child was transferred to the Orphanage at Largs Bay. By the early 1930s it was reported that some 6000 children and adults had passed through the Refuge since its establishment.
In 1963 control of the Refuge was transferred from the Sisters of St Joseph to the Daughters of Charity. In the 1970s it was not only catering for unmarried mothers but also for other women requiring residential care. These included deserted wives and their children and girls in need of protective care.
- 1868 - 1870
- St Joseph's Refuge situated at Franklin Street, Adelaide. Location: Adelaide
- 1870 - 1872
- St Joseph's Refuge situated at Mitcham. Location: Mitcham
- 1872 - 1901
- St Joseph's Refuge situated at Queen Street, Norwood. Location: Norwood
- 1901 - 1992
- St Joseph's Refuge situated at 88 Wattle Street, Fullarton. Location: Fullarton
- 1992 -
- St Joseph's Refuge situated at 5 Randolph Avenue, Fullarton. Location: Fullarton
1868 - c. 2001 St Joseph's Refuge
c. 2001 - Louise Place
Records Managed by
- Foale, Marie Therese, Think of the Ravens: The Sisters of St Joseph in Social Welfare, Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart Inc, Kent Town, 2001. Details
- St Josephs Refuge
- 1868? - 2001?
- Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN)
- St Joseph's Refure, Norwood
- Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph.
- St Joseph's Refuge, Fullarton
- Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph
Sources used to compile this entry: George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005, http://www.salinkup.com.au/content.php?page_id=4.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 7 February 2011, Last modified: 3 April 2013