Tresillian, in Petersham, was the first 'Infant Welfare Training School' established in 1921 by the Royal Society for Mothers and Babies. It was located at 'Tresillian', a fine house in Shaw Street, Petersham. The house name became the name of the Royal Society for Mothers and Babies mothercraft facilities. Tresillian Petersham cared for up to 10 mothers with babies and up to eight unaccompanied babies at any one time. It was involved in adoptions as it housed babies who waiting for adoption. The Petersham Tresillian closed in 1997.
The first Tresillian, at Petersham, was run by Dr Margaret Harper, the Society's first Medical Director. From that point the Society, and its nurses, adopted the name Tresillian.
In the 1960s Tresillian Petersham housed 10 mothers with breastfed babies at any given time, along with eight artificially fed babies and, by the 1960s, five premature babies. Over the course of the year it cared for more than 130 mothers and 220 babies.
Tresillian housed babies who were waiting for adoption in the 1960s. These babies were under the care of other agencies, including the Child Welfare Department.
The Petersham site closed in 1997 and moved to a new site in the grounds of Canterbury Hospital. As well as the Willoughby and Wollstonecraft sites, in 2013 Tresillian also operates at Penrith.
Medical records for Tresillian centres at Willoughby, Wollstonecraft, Canterbury and Penrith are kept for approximately 30 years. Medical records from Petersham are kept in secondary storage and date from the 1980s to 1997.
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual Report [Tresillian Mothercraft Homes], The Society: Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies, Sydney, 1920-. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1655465; About Tresillian: The Tresillian Story, Tresillian Family Care Centres, 2000-2012, https://www.tresillian.org.au/about-us; Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies, Tresillian mothercraft homes: fifty year jubilee, 1920-1970, O'Connor, Graham, Petersham, 1970, 14 pp.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 27 August 2013, Last modified: 28 January 2015