The Sydney Foundling Institution was founded in May 1874 as a non-church affiliated refuge for abandoned babies and single mothers, run by a committee of women. Its first location was on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst. In October 1874, the institution changed its name to the Sydney Foundling Hospital and soon after, in 1875, moved to Stewart Street, Paddington.
The Foundling Institution was 'well marshalled by the elite of Sydney female society', according to an article published in 1878. It cared for 45 children in its first year.
The first abandoned baby left on the steps was named by the committee, Sydney Hope. Sydney Hope grew up to be a successful businessman and long-time supporter of The Infants' Home (as the organisation became known in 1877). In 1951 The Infants' Home established an infant feeding and settling clinic named in his honour Sydney Hope Cottage - which still operates in 2017.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Sydney Foundling Institution', Australian Town and Country Journal, 4 May 1878, p. 25. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70615992; 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://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf; This entry has been updated with information received from the record holders as part of the Records Access Documentation grants. The source documents are held in the eScholarship Research Centre files at the University of Melbourne.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 21 March 2011, Last modified: 8 September 2017