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Organisation Kedesh Maternity Home (1926 - 1986)
- Adoption Agency, Anglican, Care Provider, Home, Maternity Home and Protestant
Kedesh Maternity Home was established by the Mission of St James and St John in 1926. It accommodated pregnant women and mothers and babies shortly after birth. It was first located next to the Women's Hospital in Carlton but in 1929 moved to Kew. In 1986 the Home was closed, and was replaced by the Kedesh Hostel in Box Hill.
Kedesh Maternity Home, run by the Mission of St James and St John, was established in 1926. Its first location was at 210 Cardigan Street, Carlton, adjoining the Women's Hospital. More than 250 'girls', unmarried mothers, passed through Kedesh in the next two and a half years.
In 1929, the Missioner Canon Lamble acquired more spacious premises for Kedesh, at 29 Stevenson Street, Kew.
In its early days, Kedesh was run by Matron Keir, who retired in 1942. The Matron liked the 'girls' to come to the Home two months before their baby was due. However, she reported that many young women were anxious to leave their homes earlier, or their parents were anxious to have them 'away', and thus these women stayed at Kedesh for more of their pregnancies. The babies were born at the Women's Hospital, and then the mother and baby returned to Kedesh.
Over time, this practice changed and mothers and babies no longer returned to Kedesh after the birth. One history of the Mission describes the approach taken by Kedesh to the adopting out of babies in the 1960s:
… most girls had little to do with their baby once it was born; it would be adopted from the hospital under a tight veil of secrecy. This was believed to be best for the mother and the baby. The babies were adopted by 'good Christian families' and the girls were told 'you'll have your baby and you'll go home and forget'.
Some mothers chose to keep their babies, but the vast majority 'wanted' their babies to be adopted, according to Cole's history of the Mission (1969). Subsequent writers have established that mothers of 'illegitimate' children in institutions like Kedesh were given very little encouragement or support to keep their babies.
Babies who were not able to be adopted from Kedesh were sent to babies' homes operated by the Mission of St James and St John ( the Arms of Jesus Home and later St Gabriel's).
When the Kedesh Home for unmarried mothers was first proposed by the Mission, some raised concerns that healthy young women would be housed with young women with venereal disease (VD). In response to this desire to keep separate women suffering from venereal disease, the Mission established two other homes around the same time as Kedesh came into being: the Horseshoe in Carlton and Ramoth in Ferntree Gully.
In 1942, Sister Rogers became Matron at Kedesh, and remained until her retirement in 1961. Just before her retirement, Matron Rogers attended the laying of the foundation stone by the Archbishop at the new Kedesh, built on an adjoining property to the 'old' Kedesh, which was demolished in 1962.
The new Kedesh accommodated 24 'girls' with the resident staff. In 1964, Matron Stephen reported that Kedesh had received its 2000th young woman. Matron Stephen resigned in October 1968. Miss Elizabeth Bradshaw took her place in February 1969. Dr Alice Correll was Kedesh's doctor for more than 22 years, making fortnightly visits to the residents.
The new building also saw some new practices and approaches at Kedesh. The young women received regular counselling from social workers and attended ante-natal classes.
From the late 1960s, there was a decline in the number of babies being adopted. The introduction of a single mother's pension in the 1970s led to a sharper fall in adoption rates.
By the 1980s, the programs at Kedesh had shifted towards support services for pregnant young women. In 1979, Kedesh bought a flat near the Home, where young mothers had supportive accommodation for the first few months after their babies were born.
During this period, the Mission was interested in providing support services to young single mothers who were not in its 'care', particularly in Melbourne's inner suburbs. PRAPS (Pregnancy and Parents Support Program) came into being in 1982,. It was operated out of St Luke's Anglican Church in North Fitzroy, and Kedesh Maternity Home, Kew.
As an institution, Kedesh was becoming more and more irrelevant. Kedesh at Kew closed in 1986.
The Mission then established Kedesh Hostel at Box Hill, which consisted of a suburban house and a number of flats for 6 single mothers and their children. It became the headquarters of Pregnancy and Parent Support (PRAPS).
Since 1991 the Box Hill PRAPS replaced Kedesh and was renamed the Centre for Young Women and their Children (CHOICES).
In 1997 the Mission of St James and St John became part of Anglicare Victoria. At this time, records of the Mission were transferred to Anglicare Victoria. These included records of the various orphanages, homes and other residences run by the Mission. The custodian of these records is Anglicare Victoria.
- 1926 - 1929
- Kedesh Maternity Home operates in 210 Cardigan Street, Carlton. Location: Carlton
- Kedesh Maternity Home moves to Stevenson Street, Kew. Location: Kew
- A new building opens, replacing the old, on an adjoining block of land. Location: Kew
- Pregnancy and Parent Support (PRAPS) operates out of St Luke's Anglican Church, North Fitzroy. Location: North Fitzroy
- Pregnancy and Parent Support (PRAPS) operates out of Kedesh in Kew. Location: Kew
- Kadesh Maternity Home is replaced by the Kedesh Hostel, a suburban house and couple of flats in Box Hill that house 6 lone pregnant women. The Hostel is the headquarters for PRAPS.. Location: Box Hill
- 1986 - 1991
- Pregnancy and Parent Support (PRAPS) moves to Box Hill and replaces Kedesh in Kew. Location: Box Hill
- Pregnancy and Parent Support (PRAPS) is replaced by the Centre for Young Women and their Children (CHOICES). Location: East Melbourne
- Cole, Dr Keith, Commissioned To Care: The Golden Jubilee History of The Mission of St. James and St. John 1919-1969, first edn, The Ruskin Press Pty Ltd, North Melbourne, Australia, 1969. Details
- Monk, Joanne; O'Donoghue, Gina, Billylids and 'Home Kids': The Story of The Mission of St James and St John 1919-1994, The Mission of St. James and St. John, Surrey Hills, Victoria, 1994. page 47. Details
- Swain, Shurlee with Renate Howe, Single mothers and their children : disposal, punishment and survival in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1995. Details
- 'Who cares?', The Brothers, 1961. Details
- Lahey, John, 'Fostering a sense of history', The Age, August 23, 1993, p. 9. Details
- 'Submission no 468', in Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care: Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist.htm. Details
- 'Submission number 232', in Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices: submissions received by the Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, http://aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2010-13/comm_contrib_former_forced_adoption/submissions.htm. Details
- Nunn, H.W., 'Social Services (Chapter VIII of A Short History of the Church of England in Victoria 1847-1947)', in Project Canterbury, Issued by the Editorial Committee of the Centenary Celebrations, Melboune Diocese, 1947, Project Canterbury, 1999, http://anglicanhistory.org/aus/hwnunn_victoria1947/08.html. Details
- 'Who Cares?'
- Newspaper article
- c. 1961
- 'The new Kedesh'
- c. 1961
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Submission number 232', in Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices: submissions received by the Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, http://aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2010-13/comm_contrib_former_forced_adoption/submissions.htm; Cole, Dr Keith, Commissioned To Care: The Golden Jubilee History of The Mission of St. James and St. John 1919-1969, first edn, The Ruskin Press Pty Ltd, North Melbourne, Australia, 1969; Monk, Joanne; O'Donoghue, Gina, Billylids and 'Home Kids': The Story of The Mission of St James and St John 1919-1994, The Mission of St. James and St. John, Surrey Hills, Victoria, 1994. page 47..
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 17 February 2009, Last modified: 24 April 2013