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New South Wales - Archival Collection

Records of institutions run by the Sisters of Mercy (North Sydney) (1903? - 1990?)


The records of institutions run by the Sisters of Mercy (North Sydney) accessed through Family Spirit. The collection includes records from institutions run by the Sisters of Mercy - the Waitara Foundling Home, Our Lady of Mercy Home, Waitara, Mater Misericordiae Hospital and St Catherine's Orphanage in Brooklyn.


Access Conditions

Access to information is restricted to the person to whom the information relates, or to an immediate relative, if necessary, who prove their relationship to that person.

Where adoption is involved, there are separate requirements related to accessing social and medical information in keeping with the Adoption Act 2000.

If you are experiencing any difficulties in meeting any of the identification requirements please contact Family Spirit.


The collection accessible through Family Spirit relates to St Catherine's Orphanage in Brooklyn, Waitara Foundling Home, Our Lady of Mercy Home at Waitara and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. Until 2013, this collection of records was in the custody of the Mercy Family Life Centre.

The collection includes the following series:

St Catherine's Orphanage, Brooklyn

  • Case files. 1960-1990
    These records are from St Catherine's Home, Brooklyn. There is an index to these files, arranged alphabetically by surname of resident. Each listing states the child's name, date of birth, date of admission and date of discharge.
  • Admission forms, 1960-1970
    These records are from St Catherine's Home Brooklyn. The forms record information including the child's name, parent's names, siblings' details, reasons for admission, date of admission, medical details, dates of sacraments, education details.

Mater Misericordiae Hospital

  • Birth records, Mater Maternity, 1960s-1982.
    These records are from the Mater Misericordiae Maternity Hospital and relate to birth mothers and babies.

Our Lady of Mercy Home, Waitara and Waitara Foundling Home

  • Admission and Discharge Register of Children/Babies, 1965-1980
    These records are from Waitara. The admission and discharge register of babies is a green hard cover book, with handwritten entries relating to admissions dating from 1965 to 1978. It also records details of discharges between 1965 and 1980.
  • Parents who adopted children, 1921-1974
    These records are from Waitara. They are in an A5 size book with a brown cover and a green spine, in address book style format. It also includes groups of several letters.
  • Waitara Baptismal Register, 1903-1976
    This register records baptisms done at Waitara between 1903 and 1976. The records have limited information, such as the child's name and the year of the baptism. There are 2 registers for these records located in a hardcover black folder.
  • Children Admitted Apart From Their Mothers: Regulation 46: Register of Admission and Discharge of other children in Temporary Care, no date
    This series is from Waitara, and comprises 3 blue hardcover books.
  • Discharge baby cards (orange), no date
    The information on the cards includes: child's name, parents' names, date of birth/admission/discharge and who they were discharged to. Where supplied, the mother's maiden name is recorded - followed by '(Mothers surname)' - as well as the adopted surname if they were adopted - followed by '(AP)' or '(AP surname)' and the same for any foster surnames recorded.
  • Blue Birthmother Binders , 1961-1975
    These folders comprise individual records for each birthmother. The information provided includes the mother's basic details and family background, as well as her education and religious status. Some files contain information about the birth father. Some files contain letters and other documents relating to the mother such as medical records.
  • Brown Baby Health Cards (Black Boxes), 1951-1967
    The Baby Health Cards contain information including child's name, sex, DOB, hospital information, parent information and a weight and height chart. Some children have information spread over multiple cards and these cards have been attached with plastic clips. The cards are arranged in alphabetical order.
  • Sr. Patrick's Workbooks, 1948-1975
    Sister Patrick's workbooks are divided into 4 workbooks and accompanied by a red index book. The workbooks includes details about the mother, confinement, the child and adoption details.
  • Particulars of Illness of Children, 17/8/1960 to 23/1/1968
    This series comprises 5 long cardboard coloured registers. There are usually multiple entries for one patient. The information includes the name of the child, when and where they were seen by a doctor, the nature of their illness and any remarks by the doctor, however these fields are very brief and often don't have any descriptive information.
  • Register of Patients (McAuley Mothercraft Hospital), 1966-1972
    There are 2 A4 handwritten books in this series, one with a blue spine and one with a red spine. They include the details of babies and mothers who were patients at the McAuley Mothercraft Hospital. Details for the patients include: name, age, marital status, address, dates of admission and discharge, doctors, medical history and a brief history of the patient.
  • Loretto & McAuley Admissions and Discharges, 29/4/1966 to 6/01/1971
    There are two green circle books in this series, one containing information for Loretto and the other for McAuley Mothercraft Hospital.
  • Names of Children and Adoptive Parents, Dates of birth and adoption, 1931-1942
  • Statements of Surrender and Adoption, 1922-1929
  • Hospital Books, 1969-1975
  • White Personal Record Cards - Baby Cards, no date
  • Record of Admission and Discharge (Red Ledger), 1971-1975
  • Register of children adopted between 1922 to 1942, 1922-1942
  • Waitara Adoption Files, no date
  • Manila Folders: Discharges
  • Grey Admissions Box 1: June 1960 - Jan 1964
  • Grey Admissions Box 2: Jan 1964 - June 1967
  • Grey Admissions Box 3: June 1967 - Feb 1970
  • Grey Discharge Box: April 1961 - June 1968
  • Hospital Admissions 1969 - 1977 (Pink)

Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Cate O'Neill