The Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Orphanage was established in Cottesloe in 1905. It was the first orphanage to be built in Australia by an interational organisation which had established similar institutions elsewhere. The IOOF Orphanage opened on 13 August 1905, for the children of deceased members of the IOOF. By 1919, there were 36 children at the orphanage. A new wing was formally opened on 13 September 1919 that year to accommodate up to 50 children whose fathers were soldiers who had been killed in World War One.
The IOOF Orphanage was run by the IOOF, who appointed the first matron, Sarah Eakins from South Australia. Subsequent managers of the orphanage were married couples who were members of the IOOF.
Children were trained to become agricultural labourers or domestic servants, and a large part of the orphanage site was farmed with livestock and vegetables.
By the late 1930s, the orphanage was 'under utilised'. From 1935 to 1940, the annual reports of the Child Welfare Department recorded the private admissions for children aged under 6. These were: 1935, 1 child; 1936, 6 children; 1937, 3 children; 1938-40, 1 child in each year.
The IOOF sought to sell the orphanage buildings to the government. In August 1940, the buildings were requisitioned for use by the Red Cross as a convalescent home for soldiers, called the Lady Mitchell Convalescent Home. The building was purchased by the State Government in August 1946.
13 September 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00302
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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