• Organisation

Church of England Orphanage

Details

The Church of England Orphanage was established in 1893 by the Community of Sisters of the Church of England, also known as the Kilburn Sisters. It was not connected with any of the official welfare agencies of the Church of England. It initially took in girls, and provided them with basic education and domestic training. The orphanage was originally located at a depot run by the Sisters in Surry Hills, before moving to Waverley. It then occupied several rented houses in Chatswood and Paddington before moving to Burwood in 1905. By 1912 the Orphanage included a Girls’ Home on Weldon Street, and in 1917-1918 a Boys’ Home, on Wyatt Avenue. In 1927 the Community of Sisters of the Church of England withdrew from the orphanage and its name was changed to Church of England Children’s Homes, Burwood.

Despite its name, the Church of England Orphanage was not connected with any of the official welfare agencies of the Church of England in Australia. The orphanage was opened due to the revelations of cruelty to, and neglect of children, that had happened in 1892.

The orphanage was initially opened by the Kilburn Sisters in 1893 at their premises in Bourke Street, Surry Hills, which was also being used as a used-clothing depot. In May 1893 the Sisters rented Waverley House, on Old South Head Road, Waverley, for the purposes of running a school and orphanage there. The orphanage was located in a cottage on the grounds of Waverley House called ‘Summaville’, which also acted as the residence for the Sisters. In 1895 the orphanage moved to a rented house on the corner of Johnson and Devonshire streets, Chatswood. It remained in Chatswood until approximately 1901, when it returned to Waverley House. It moved again in 1904 to a rented house on Glenmore Road, Paddington, before moving to Minna street, Burwood, in 1905. During this time the orphanage was known by several names, including the Orphanage of Mercy, and the Kilburn Orphanage.

In its early days the orphanage had capacity for, on average, approximately 20 children. In 1895 there were only 5 children in the home, however this had grown to 19 by late 1896. By 1910 between 40 and 50 children had lived at the Church of England Orphanage.

The Sisters initially only took in girls, and aimed to keep them at the home until they were 21 years old, although some children were boarded out to private homes. The Sisters ran a school for the children in the orphanage, as well as providing them with domestic training.

A former Anglican missionary, Bishop Montagu John Stone-Wigg (1861-1918) moved to Burwood in 1908 and became interested in the Orphanage, creating a committee of local church and business people to place it on a sound financial footing. This committee took over the running of the home from the Community of Sisters of the Church of England.

In 1910 the Orphanage purchased a block of land on Weldon Street, Burwood, and in 1912 Lord Chelmsford, the Governor of New South Wales, laid the foundation stone for a Girls Home. This was completed within six months and opened by Archbishop Wright. The Boys Home, located next door (on Wyatt Avenue), was purchased, renovated and opened by Dame Margaret Davidson in August 1918.

The first president of the Church of England Orphanage was Arthur Yates, who had founded Arthur Yates & Co Ltd, the garden supply company. Stone-Wigg was listed as honorary organising secretary, but died of malaria and other health issues he had contracted in his time in Papua New Guinea in October 1918. His wife remained associated with the Home until the late 1950s.

Most of the supporters of the home were from Burwood and Ashfield. From 1922, the President of the Committee of the home was AW Green, the retired president of the State Children’s Relief Department. Green also presided over the Church of England Children’s Home, until his death in 1935.

The Church of England Orphanage buildings were described as ’eminently suitable for the work that is being done; there are wide sleeping-out balconies, ample playground areas and necessary accommodation and equipment.’

In 1927 the Homes were incorporated under the Companies Act, with limited liability, as The Church of England Children’s Homes, Burwood. This created a new institution.

  • From

    1893

  • To

    1927

  • Alternative Names

    Kilburn Orphanage

    Orphanage of Mercy

    Church of England Girls' Home, Burwood

    Church of England Boys' Home, Burwood

Locations

  • 1893 - May 1893

    Church of England Orphanage was located at the Kilburn Sister's depot at 310 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, New South Wales (Building Unknown)

  • May 1893 - 1895

    Church of England Orphanage was located on the grounds of Waverley House, Old South Head Road, Waverley, New South Wales (Building Demolished)

  • 1895 - c. 1901

    Church of England Orphanage was located on the corner of Johnson Street and Devonshire Road, Chatswood, New South Wales (Building Demolished)

  • c. 1901 - 1904

    Church of England Orphanage returned to its former location at Waverley House, Old South Head Road, Waverley, New South Wales (Building Demolished)

  • 1904 - 1905

    Church of England Orphanage was located at 158 Glenmore Road, Paddington, New South Wales (Building Demolished)

  • 1905 - 1912

    Church of England Orphanage was situated at Minna Street, Burwood., New South Wales (Building Unknown)

  • 1912 - 1927

    Church of England Orphanage Girls' Home was situated at 23 Weldon Street (near the corner of Wyatt Avenue), Burwood, New South Wales (Building Still standing)

  • 1917 - 1927

    Church of England Orphanage Boys' Home was situated on Wyatt Avenue, Burwood, New South Wales (Building Unknown)

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