Murray-Dwyer Boys' Home (Murray-Dwyer Orphanage) was established in 1933 by the Catholic Diocese of Maitland at Tourle Street, Mayfield West (Newcastle). It was conducted by the Daughters of Charity. It cared for boys between the ages of 6 and 16 years including 30 child migrant boys from the United Kingdom who were settled in Australia. At that time the Orphanage held 100 boys. In 1965 a nursery was opened on the site but in 1969 BHP bought the property and the following year the original building was demolished. It is not clear where children were relocated to but the Home was officially closed in 1973 and group homes were opened.
Some sources state this home was in Section Street but in 2013 a former resident of the Orphanage, who was there in the 1950s, has told the Find & Connect web resource that the Home's location was the corner of Industrial Drive and Tourle Street, where there is now a park. In 2014, this area is known as Murray Dwyer Circuit.
This correspondent's memories are supported by 'An Assessment of the Historical and Archaeological Values of BHP Land at Tourle Street, Newcastle' (1996). It states the Murray-Dwyer Orphanage was located on Tourle Street, at a site identifiable as CMA Map U6357-8 at position LJ 810605. At that stage, the land was owned by BHP Newcastle, who had demolished the building in 1970.
In 1942, owing to World War II and Japanese submarine activity in Newcastle Harbour, Murray-Dwyer Boys' Home was evacuated from its vulnerable position on the waterfront. The boys and the sisters were moved to a section of Bishop Murray Memorial Home (Monte Pio Orphanage), at Campbells Hill in Maitland. In 1945 the Sisters and children returned to the Orphanage buildings at Mayfield. The buildings were extended again in the 1950s.
In 1950 the Home, then described as Murray Dwyer Memorial Orphanage, featured in a souvenir Mayfield Jubilee Booklet. The booklet said the orphanage was established in a 1902 residence that had been used by the Superintendent of the Australian Agricultural Company and was purchased by the Bishop of Maitland, Rev Dr E Gleeson, in 1933 as a memorial to his predecessors Bishops Murray and Dwyer. The home was for orphan and homeless boys aged between four and 12 and was run by six sisters of the French religious community Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul, with a resident chaplain, Rev J O'Dwyer, and a small staff.
In its great work, the Home shows no distinction as to race or creed.
At the time of the jubilee there were 75 boys in residence and 30 migrant English boys were expected to take up residence before the end of 1950. The orphanage had no government or parish assistance and survived on funds raised by the local community.
Shipping records from 1952 refer to the institution as the 'Murray Dwyer Memorial Orphanage, Mayfield'.
In the early 1960s the congregate accommodation at the Mayfield Home closed and the service was relocated and renamed the Murray Dwyer Group Homes under the direction of Centacare Newcastle. The service closed in 1979.
Some boys were transferred from Murray-Dwyer Boys' Home to Boys' Town Engadine, when they turned 12 years of age.
Murray-Dwyer Boys' Home records are managed by CatholicCare Hunter-Manning Social Services. This agency has developed a database which lists the name of the child in care, their date of admission and discharge, and a cross reference to the surviving original records.
Sources used to compile this entry: 1900-1950 Jubilee Celebrations Management Committee, 50 Years of Progress: 1900-1950: Mayfield Jubilee Celebrations: Souvenir Booklet, This item is held by the University of Newcastle Library and is digitised as a PDF., Davies & Cannington Pty Ltd, 1950, https://uonccmayfield.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/mayfieldjubilee.pdf; 'Mayfield Combined Charities Festival Supplement', The Newcastle Sun, 24 October 1955, https://uonccmayfield.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/mayfield-festival.pdf; 'Where did the children go?', in Stolen childhoods, Part of a site exhibition that accompanied On Their Own, the National Maritime Museum of Australia and National Museums Liverpool touring exhibition about child migration from Britain., Immigration Museum, Museum Victoria, 2011-2012, http://museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/discoverycentre/stolen-childhoods/where-did-the-children-go/; Bonhomme Craib & Associates: Sue Rosen Pty Ltd, An Assessment of the Historical and Archaeological Values of BHP Land at Tourle Street, Newcastle, BHP Newcastle, February 1996, http://uonccmayfield.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/steelriver1996.pdf; Hanson, Dallas, Why are they in children's homes: report of the ACOSS children's home intake survey, Australian Department of Social Services: Australian Council of Social Services, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1979, 83 pp; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, https://insideblog.nma.gov.au/2011/02/11/connecting-kin/; Email correspondence with CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, October 2014; Email from care leaver to Find & Connect web resource, 8 October 2013.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 4 March 2011, Last modified: 25 October 2017