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New South Wales - Organisation

Our Lady of Mercy Home, Waitara (c. 1928 - 1977)

  • Waitara Home [Our Lady of Mercy]

    Waitara Home [Our Lady of Mercy], 1950s - 1960s, courtesy of Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation.
    Details

From
c. 1928
To
1977
Categories
Adoption Agency, Babies' Home, Catholic, Children's Home, Home, Lying-in Home and Orphanage
Alternative Names
  • Waitara
  • Waitara Foundling Home
  • Waitara Home
  • Waitara Orphanage

Our Lady of Mercy Home was established in 1928 and was formerly known as Waitara Foundling Home and usually just as Waitara. The Home cared for children from birth to the age of 15 and from 1970, children aged 7-12. It also housed unmarried mothers. Our Lady of Mercy Home Waitara was replaced by the Mercy Family Life Centre in 1977.

Details

The change in name from Waitara Foundling Home to the Our Lady of Mercy Home in 1928 reflected that the children it housed were not necessarily orphans.

From 1940 onwards, the Sisters began to take into care unmarried mothers who were awaiting the birth of a child. There was a home at Waitara for 40 young pregnant women, who received medical help and social assistance. During this period, the Home also had accommodation for twenty babies awaiting adoption and it was closely linked with the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.

Babies for adoption lived at Waitara for about a month, although some with disabilities or social disadvantages stayed longer. Care was also available for children up to seven years of age whose families had been disrupted temporarily by illness or separation.

In 1962 there were about 70 children in residence at Waitara. The Sisters of Mercy responded to new understandings of child care by adding a preschool, dividing the home into four units and building a free-standing cottage home in 1966, with a married couple as house parents. This housed eight children.

In 1963 the McAuley Mothercraft Training School, for mothercraft nurses, was developed on the site. Young lay women worked alongside the Sisters, caring for babies and young children in the Home.

Our Lady of Mercy Home was officially closed in 1977 and demolished so the land could be sold. The Mercy Family Life Centre opened in new buildings on another part of the site.

Location

1928 - 1977
Location - Our Lady of Mercy Home was situated at Waitara. Location: Waitara

Timeline

 1898 - 1927 Waitara Foundling Home
       c. 1928 - 1977 Our Lady of Mercy Home, Waitara
             1977 - 1994 Mercy Family Life Centre, Waitara
                   1994 - 2001 Mercy Family Centre, Waitara

Related Archival Series

Publications

Reports

  • Looking Back: A foundling home at Waitara, Mercy Family Centre Annual Report, Mercy Family Centre, 1984, 4-8 pp. Details
  • 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. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Waitara Kindergarten - Sisters M Patrick Carter & Cora Carey
Title
Waitara Kindergarten - Sisters M Patrick Carter & Cora Carey
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara dining room (mother's quarters)
Title
Waitara dining room (mother's quarters)
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Young mother entering Home [Waitara]
Title
Young mother entering Home [Waitara]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara nursery
Title
Waitara nursery
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara nursery babies
Title
Waitara nursery babies
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Mother's quarters, Waitara
Title
Mother's quarters, Waitara
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

TV room, mother's quarters, Waitara
Title
TV room, mother's quarters, Waitara
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Lounge-dining, Waitara
Title
Lounge-dining, Waitara
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Renovated mother's quarters, Waitara
Title
Renovated mother's quarters, Waitara
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Mothercraft Hospital (Waitara)
Title
Mothercraft Hospital (Waitara)
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara Home - with children
Title
Waitara Home - with children
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Main Building - Ground floor Admin and children's recreation area
Title
Main Building - Ground floor Admin and children's recreation area
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Front of Home [Waitara and Our Lady of Mercy]
Title
Front of Home [Waitara and Our Lady of Mercy]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Fun on the swing [Waitara]
Title
Fun on the swing [Waitara]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara Home [Our Lady of Mercy]
Title
Waitara Home [Our Lady of Mercy]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Back View of Boys Home [Waitara]
Title
Back View of Boys Home [Waitara]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Administration Block and Nurses' Dining room originally [Waitara]
Title
Administration Block and Nurses' Dining room originally [Waitara]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Isolation Block [Waitara]
Title
Isolation Block [Waitara]
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara Kindergarten building
Title
Waitara Kindergarten building
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara Mercy Block and Nursery
Title
Waitara Mercy Block and Nursery
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Waitara Old Chapel
Title
Waitara Old Chapel
Type
Image
Date
1950s - 1960s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

1954 [Waitara]
Title
1954 [Waitara]
Type
Image
Date
1954
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

McAuley Mothercraft Nursing Home, before 1978
Title
McAuley Mothercraft Nursing Home, before 1978
Type
Image
Date
1970s
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Title
"Looking Back: A foundling home at Waitara"
Type
Document
Date
1984
Source
Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Looking Back: A foundling home at Waitara, Mercy Family Centre Annual Report, Mercy Family Centre, 1984, 4-8 pp; 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, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf; Email correspondence with Sister Miriam Grech, Sisters of Mercy, North Sydney Congregation, 17 October 2012; Email correspondence with CatholicCare Adoption Services,.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry