While located at Bidura, the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter moved to a separate building on the same site some time between 1923 and 1936.
The Catholic Women's Association visited children's homes and hospitals regularly. The Association reported its visit to the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter, Avon Street Glebe in The Catholic Weekly of 10 September 1936:
'Girls are only here for a short period, and rarely number more than five. On Friday no Catholic was at the home, due, no doubt, to the excellent work of the Catholic visitors to the Children's Court. This place is visited alternately by Misses Prunty and Bowes.'
The number of girls in the shelter was possibly higher than five, but the Catholic Women's Association tended to report only the number of Catholic children in children's homes.
In September 1960 the Glebe Girls' Shelter, as the Metropolitan Girls' Shelter was then known, was held up by a shotgun-wielding man, who was seeking a 15 year old girl. The girl had been on the run in the bush in Terrey Hills with the man, but the man's brother convinced her to leave and she was remanded in the shelter on a charge of being exposed to moral danger. Four terrified female staff members told the man the girl was not there, and he left.
Louise Ellis, who spent time at the Girls' Shelter around 1970-1972 and knew it as Glebe Detention Centre, wrote to Find & Connect to share her memories of her time there, and the building:
'Glebe Detention Centre was a two stor[ey] old brick building that I wish I could look at today. I remember the dormitory was up some steep steps, and the dining room was just a long room with tables but the building was so beautiful I thought. I remember the laundry the most because I worked in there. The walls had copper pipes running along which we had to keep polished, there was an old copper boiler, sinks with a mangle and an electric spin drier I thought was pretty nifty ... and a small bricked in back yard. It was an old brick terrace building with great character.'
In the 1970s the shelter was targeted by the women's liberation movement for abuses against young women, as Parramatta and Hay had been. The Glebe Shelter closed in 1977 and was demolished in 1978 to make way for new Children's Court buildings.
03 January 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE01392
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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