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Organisation Perth Girls' Orphanage (1868 - 1942)
- Anglican, Care Provider and Orphanage
- Alternative Names
- Protestant Orphanage (also known as, 1868 - 1942)
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 this language.
The Perth Girls Orphanage opened on 1 June 1868 as with seven girls and one boy and plans to increase the number of children 'as the funds allow'. The orphanage was located in two cottages near the Causeway. At a meeting in Fremantle in November 1868, it was reported that children came from the Perth Workhouse - which was desirable not only because those children were greatly in need but also because the Government gave an allowance for taking those children. In 1882 the Girls' Orphanage moved to larger premises in Adelaide Terrace which were further enlarged in 1902 and 1904. The Perth Girls' Orphanage continued in Perth until 1942, when children and staff were evacuated to the Boys' Orphanage at Middle Swan during World War Two. They never returned to the Perth site.
The extent to which records exist is unknown. Departmental case records for young people placed in Anglican facilities by the Child Welfare Department may be held by the Department for Child Protection. The Anglican Church (Perth Diocese) may hold historical information or records. As the Orphanage was asignificant institution in the early history of Perth, the Battye Library may hold some information.
While access to records is restricted to protect the privacy of individuals, people are encouraged to enquire.
Freedom of Information
Department for Child Protection
PO Box 6334, East Perth WA 6892
Phone: (08) 6217 6388 or (08) 6217 6381
Fax: (08) 9222 2776
Free call in WA: 1800 000 277
For people wishing to access the Battye Library's collection of historical
State Library of Western Australia
25 Francis Street
Perth Cultural Centre
Perth WA 6000
Phone: (08) 9427 3111
Fax: (08) 9427 3256
By November 1868, there were 11 orphans living at the orphanage, which had room for up to 20 children in total. The Rules of the orphanage allowed for admission of children from 2-9 years of age and 'honourable dismissal' at age 12-14, into service. Although called an 'orphanage' it seems that the founders intended from the outset to take destitute children who were not orphans, from any locality and any creed. The founders also acknowledged the need to admit boys, but there was a preference to take girls because of 'the greater gain there will be to society by the protection and education of girls' as Archdeacon Brown was reported to say. However, at least one boy was admitted in 1868 and by 1869 a new building for boys was erected on the same property, along with a school room.
The Perth Girls' Orphanage was able to be relatively selective in the girls it admitted. In 1881, a case was reported about:
a girl of seven years old, convicted lately of larceny, the child of abandoned parents, and brought up in misery and vice, for whome the Colonial Secretary had sought refuge in the Protestant Orphanage. A local Act gives the Governor in Council power to send such children to the Orphanages, which it was proposed in such cases to use for the purposes of reformatories, but a condition for the admission of these children was that the directors of the orphanages be 'willing' to receive them…the Manager of the Protestant Orphanage very properly declined to receive the child, fearing, not without good cause, that one practically acquainted with impurity and vice, might have an evil influence upon the rest. The West Australian 21 October 1881, p.3
In evidence to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill in October 1918, the Anglican Archdeacon of Perth said that there was 'no separate institution for little children' and that although they had two children 'under three and four years' they didn't want to take children that young. The younger children generally had separate dormitories and school work but had to 'live in the same place' with older children.
The removal of the Girls' Orphanage to 'the Swan' nearer to the Boys' Orphanage had been suggested by Bishop Hale as early as February 1888. Recolation was supported by the Colonial Surgeon, Dr Waylen who 'had often said' that yearly cases 'of low fever and diptheriac throat' were caused by the low, damp and inadequately drained site on Adelaide Terrace.
In 1892 a Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly of the Western Australian Parliament agreed to a proposal by the Anglican Church that the lands that had been donated to the Church for use as an orphanage could be sold to 'obtain a more healthy site and to erect more convenient buildings'.
In 1908, the older girls were required to attend East Perth State School. Later, the senior girls went to the James Street Central School. From about 1917, pre-school age boys were no longer admitted to the Swan Boys' Orphanage. Instead, they were admitted to Perth Girls' Orphanage so that they could have kindergarten classes. The boys were transferred to Swan Boys' Orphanage when they reached school age.
A letter of appreciation of the The Daily News Orphans' Christmas Cheer Fund in 1915 gives an insight into life at the Perth Girls' Orphanage. The letter shows that donations enabled the children to occasionally have extras that were not part of their daily experience:
…presents were given to each child, sweets and cakes were provided, and afterwards the children were taken for two picnics to the Zoo. Letter, 23 August 1916 published in The Daily News 2 December 1916, p.10
- 1868 - 1882
- Perth Girls' Orphanage was located in Adelaide Terrace near the Causeway. Location: Perth
- 1882 - 1942
- Perth Girls' Orphanage moved to new premises in Adelaide Terrace. Location: Perth
- Perth Girls' Orphanage was evacuated during World War Two. Location: Middle Swan
- Battye, JS, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia (1912), Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, 1985. p.506. Details
- Peterkin, A. Roy, The Noisy Mansions : the story of Swanleigh 1868-1971, Perth Diocesan Trustees, Anglican Church of Australia, Midland, Western Australia, 1986. pp.1, 6-7, 19, 20, 26-27. Details
- 'Colonial Secretary's Department', in JS Battye (ed.), The Cyclopedia of Western Australia (1912), vol. 1, Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, 1985, pp. 502-507. Details
- Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly, Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly Appointed to Consider the Perth Protestant Orphanage Lands Sale (Private) Bill, Government Printer, Perth, 1892. Details
- 'Perth Protestant Orphanage', The Inquirer & Commercial News, 4 November 1868, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69386835. Details
- 'Advertising [Perth Girls' Orphanage]', The Inquirer & Commercial News, 20 May 1868, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69385692. Details
- 'Church of England News', The Inquirer & Commercial News, 10 November 1875, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65963216. Details
- 'Occasional Notes [Home for Girls]', The West Australian, 21 October 1881, pp. 2-3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2985788. Details
- 'Canning Races [Anglican Orphanages]', The Inquirer & Commercial News, 3 January 1883, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65936400. Details
- 'Perth (P.) Orphanage', Western Mail, 18 February 1888, p. 25, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32709953. Details
- 'The Daily News [Christmas Cheer Fund]', The Daily News, 2 December 1916, p. 10, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81358001. Details
- 'Submission No. 319 Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care: Submissions', in Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care - Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, Senate Community Affairs Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 17 March 2005, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist.htm. Details
- Coldrey, Barry, Good British Stock: Child and Youth Migration to Australia, National Archives of Australia, 1999, http://guides.naa.gov.au/good-british-stock/. Details
- Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, http://www.signposts.communitydevelopment.wa.gov.au/. Details
- Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly Appointed to Consider the Perth Protestant Orphanage Lands Sale (Private) Bill
- 9 December 1892
- Western Australia Votes and Proceedings 1892, Paper A6
- State Records Office of Western Australia
- Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill
- 19 November 1918
- Western Australia Votes and Proceedings 1918 Vol.2 Paper A2
- State Records Office Western Australia
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Advertising [Perth Girls' Orphanage]', The Inquirer & Commercial News, 20 May 1868, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69385692; 'Perth Protestant Orphanage', The Inquirer & Commercial News, 4 November 1868, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69386835; 'Occasional Notes [Home for Girls]', The West Australian, 21 October 1881, pp. 2-3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2985788; 'Perth (P.) Orphanage', Western Mail, 18 February 1888, p. 25, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32709953; 'The Daily News [Christmas Cheer Fund]', The Daily News, 2 December 1916, p. 10, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81358001; Battye, JS, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia (1912), Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, 1985. p.506.; Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, http://www.signposts.communitydevelopment.wa.gov.au/; Peterkin, A. Roy, The Noisy Mansions : the story of Swanleigh 1868-1971, Perth Diocesan Trustees, Anglican Church of Australia, Midland, Western Australia, 1986. pp.1, 6-7, 19, 20, 26-27.; Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly Appointed to Consider the Perth Protestant Orphanage Lands Sale (Private) Bill [Document], Date: 9 December 1892; Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill [Document], Date: 19 November 1918.
Prepared by: Anna Trengove and Leanne Howard
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 15 February 2013