St Joseph's Orphanage Cowper, outside Grafton, was opened on 18 January 1914 by the Sisters of Mercy. The original clients were 'poor and destitute' children from families who were suffering during the economic downturn and parent loss during World War I. In 1972 the agency relocated to a site in North Street, Grafton and became known as St Joseph's Cowper Children's Homes.
St Joseph's Orphanage, Cowper, housed 2125 children from 1914 until 1972. The service was financed by a dairy farm on farmland purchased by the Sisters of Mercy and later by the building of an egg production plant. Orchards were also planted for fruit.
From 1930 the Sisters received child endowment payments, representing the first public money supporting the service. Mr Pollock, a Grafton solicitor, applied for the endowment and encouraged the Church and civil community to help St Joseph's with its running expenses.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.
Prepared by: Melissa Downing
Created: 8 March 2011, Last modified: 18 July 2018