Kennerley Boys' Home had been set up in 1869 by a Deed of Gift from Alfred Kennerley. The Deed specified that the Home remain on its West Hobart site and receive boys only. In 1969, in order to over ride the Deed, Parliament had to pass the Kennerley Children's Home Act. It stated that the site could be sold and the funds used to establish Homes for boys and girls somewhere else. They would be known as Kennerley Children's Homes. A Board of Governors was to manage them. The Homes would be for children who were wards of state or subject to control or supervision by the Social Welfare Department and its successors. The Governors could refuse a child who had committed an offence.
Originally the government planned to grant Kennerley nine acres on the state government owned site of the Lady Clark Hospital, which had been for returned soldiers, in Claremont. In return, Kennerley would sell the West Hobart site to AA Lord Homes Ltd to build units for elderly people. The possibility of the land at Lady Clark and a custom built Home prompted the Governors to consider cottage accommodation. They decided to build five units that would enable boys and girls to have, according to the Mercury: 'a normal home life, or the nearest thing that can be achieved to normal family life'. Although Cabinet approved the donation of land at Lady Clark, a zoning decision made by the Glenorchy City Council meant that the deal did not go through. Instead, Kennerley bought some alternative sites in the Claremont area from the Minister for Housing.
The new Home opened with four units, each with their own garden, in different parts of Claremont. Married couples with their own children, apart from one whose children had grown up, ran the units. Altogether they could take up to 36 boys and girls, although 32 was the ideal number. By 1971, Kennerley had admitted their first family group of three brothers and a sister.
In 1971, Kennerley asked for $10,000 financial assistance from the state government to help with their running costs and to build a fifth cottage. They wrote:
'We are definitely not extravagant in operation, our yardstick regarding expenditure being that, within normal reason, our children shall not be required to suffer adversely in comparison with others of their age living in normal circumstances as a member of a normal family. This we consider essential.'
It is not clear whether they received the grant.
In the 1980s, Kennerley provided accommodation under the Domestic Service Assistance Scheme which was for children whose parents could not look after them temporarily, usually because of illness.
Kennerley continued to provide cottage accommodation into the 2010s. In 2022, Kennerley's services include foster care, emergency respite care, and an independent living program for young adults.
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The Find & Connect Support Service can help people who lived in orphanages and children's institutions look for their records.
07 September 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00250
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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