The Anchorage Home opened on 17 September 1889 in Carr Street, off Argyle Street. The house had a sitting room, kitchen, scullery, four bedrooms, and a large yard with room for a garden, a chicken run, and to dry clothes. According to the Mercury:
'The house is in a pleasant situation, overlooked by Mt Wellington, and commanding a view of the harbour in the distance. It is not an overcrowded district and while within easy reach of the town, has the advantages of country life.'
By 1891, the house had become too small and the Home moved to Argyle Street. In 1894, it moved again, this time to its permanent site in Peddar Street, New Town, in the building of the former Normal School. The building had earlier been used by the Hobart Town Female Refuge, later the Hobart Girls' Industrial School. A letter to the Mercury opposing the move, shows the strength of the stigma against single mothers in the 1890s. The author objected to the site for two reasons. Firstly, the women in the Home could have a bad influence on local young people. Secondly, the Home was too public.
'I allege that it is a needless introduction of our young to one of the great evils of life, let the conduct of the inmates be as exemplary as it may. For the inmates themselves, if they are true penitents, the publicity of the place, with its wide, exposed verandahs, the absence of trees and the close neighbourhood of cottage homes must be extremely painful.'
The Committee believed that young single mothers having their first child were most likely to reform. Therefore they did not take women with second or subsequent pregnancies. As part of their reformation, the mothers worked in the laundry attached to the Home. This contributed towards the cost of running it.
Mothers and babies remained in the Home for a year. After that, the Committee found them a position, preferably where the children could go too. If that was not possible, the child had to be boarded and the mother paid the costs out of her wages. The Committee did not want mothers to relinquish their babies because taking responsibility for them was part of their reformation. Even so, the difficulties of both caring for and supporting a child meant that many were forced to leave their children in the Home when they left. By 1895, there were 17 children living there.
The Committee tried to persuade the fathers to contribute towards their children's maintenance. Any money they received from them went into a trust account to pay for the child's education or apprenticeship.
The Anchorage Home closed in 1920 because it could not compete with the Anglican Home of Mercy and the Salvation Army's Elim Maternity Home. The Committee donated the Home's trust money to Elim. The Anchorage Home had been the first rescue home to open in Hobart.
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13 February 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00103
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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