St Kevin's Industrial school was recorded in government reports with a variety of different names, usually including either the suburb, Glendalough, or the name, St Kevin's, in the title. The way the institution was described also varied in government reports with St Kevin's being known as an industrial school, an orphanage, a farm school and a reformatory.
St Kevin's Industrial School was established on a large parcel of land in the Perth suburb of Glendalough in 1897 as an industrial school for boys aged up to 16 years. It was run by a Catholic religious order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who ran similar institutions in Ireland. As an industrial school, St Kevin's received government fees for children sent there by the state. They also took orphanage children and boys sent there by family. By 1922, the remaining 16 boys had been sent to Clontarf and St Kevin's closed.
A letter of appreciation of the The Daily News Orphans' Christmas Cheer Fund in 1915 gives an insight into life at St Kevin's. The letter shows that donations enabled the children to occasionally have extras that were not part of their daily experience:
'I have the honour to inform you that about one-third of the amount was spent on lollies, one-third on toys and the remainder on fruit and edibles. Please accept on behalf of the children and staff the expression of our sincere gratitude. Letter, 27 December 1915 published in The Daily News 2 December 1916, p.10'
Archbishop Clune reported in evidence to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill in October 1918, that there were 36 'Government children and three private children' at St Kevin's and he thought that 'there were also some orphanage children there'.
When St Kevin's closed, the buildings were given to the Little Sisters of the Poor for use as an old people's home.
13 September 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00194
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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