Rockdale Babies Home was established in 1904 by George Edward Ardill's Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children. In its early years Rockdale housed 50 infants. By the 1950s this had declined to 32 children. In 1976 Rockdale Babies Home was closed as a babies' home and converted to a child care facility.
This Society had begun Our Babies Home to care for the infants of unmarried women who had sought assistance in the Home of Hope. After a fundraising drive the Society purchased a permanent home, 89 Cameron Street.
In 1921, Rockdale Babies Home and Roslyn Hall Babies Home were granted 5 shillings per week for every orphan in their care by the NSW Government.
The Sydney Rescue Work Society, which was the parent organisation of the Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children, said in 1950 'most of these come from broken homes, or are deserted by one or both parents.'
The Home always maintained Ardill's Christian values, as reflected in a letter from a Rockdale Resident, cited in the Sydney Rescue Work Society's Annual Report for 1950:
I was particularly impressed with the way the children have been trained, and I think the Home is a credit to the Matron [R. Murphy] and Sister [Miss M. Niblett], who are lovely Christians. The children look the picture of health and I can see they are well cared for and well fed. God continue to bless you and your Society for caring for the less fortunate people of our land.
As society changed in the 1960s and 1970s the numbers of children in out of home care declined. In the mid-1970s the Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children and the Sydney Rescue Work Society decided to stop providing residential care for children. In 1976 Rockdale Babies Home was converted to a long day care centre. In 2000 the Sydney Rescue Work Society changed its name to Communicare and in 2011 to Integricare. The premises at 89 Cameron Street was, in 2012, Integricare Family Day Care St George.
The Rockdale Babies Home was mentioned in Bringing Them Home Report (1997) as an institution that housed Indigenous children removed from their families.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Orphans', The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1921, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15959476; Annual Report, Sydney Rescue Work Society, Surry Hills, 1950-1956, 24 pp; Integricare History, Integricare, Burwood, 2012, 4 pp; Sydney Rescue Work Society Annual Report, 1950 [Document]; 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; Thornton, Bruce, George Edward Ardill and the Sydney Rescue Work Society (now Communicare Sydney) [also titled "Haste to the Rescue"], Baptist Historical Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008, 118 pp.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 22 March 2011, Last modified: 12 September 2017