The change in name from Waitara Foundling Home to the Our Lady of Mercy Home in 1928 reflected that the children it housed were not necessarily orphans.
From 1940 onwards, the Sisters began to take into care unmarried mothers who were awaiting the birth of a child. There was a home at Waitara for 40 young pregnant women, who received medical help and social assistance. During this period, the Home also had accommodation for twenty babies awaiting adoption and it was closely linked with the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.
Babies for adoption lived at Waitara for about a month, although some with disabilities or social disadvantages stayed longer. Care was also available for children up to seven years of age whose families had been disrupted temporarily by illness or separation.
In 1962 there were about 70 children in residence at Waitara. The Sisters of Mercy responded to new understandings of child care by adding a preschool, dividing the home into four units and building a free-standing cottage home in 1966, with a married couple as house parents. This housed eight children.
In 1963 the McAuley Mothercraft Training School, for mothercraft nurses, was developed on the site. Young lay women worked alongside the Sisters, caring for babies and young children in the Home.
Our Lady of Mercy Home was officially closed in 1977 and demolished so the land could be sold. The Mercy Family Life Centre opened in new buildings on another part of the site.
03 January 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00185
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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