Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys, in Wynnum, was operated by the Methodist Church. It officially opened 1 March 1924. State children were first admitted in 1937. Margaret Marr surrendered its license in 1973 when four Family Group Homes, situated on the same parcel of land, opened.
In 1921, the Queen Alexandra Home was nearing the limit of the number of children it could care for. The Methodist Church recognised the need for a home to accommodate the older boys housed at the Home. This became possible when in 1923, Mr. John Fyfe Marr, proprietor of Marr's Boarding House in Brisbane, offered 17.5 acres of land at Wynnum as a gift to the Methodist Church.
Marr donated the land for the establishment of a home for boys. He requested such a home be dedicated in memory of his wife, Margaret Roberts Marr.
The Margaret Marr Memorial Home was named after John's wife and opened in 1924. It accommodated boys from nine years upwards. Extra wings were added over time as the number of boys in care grew. Over 900 Queensland boys had spent time at Margaret Marr by the time it closed in 1973. Four Family Group Homes, erected on the site, were opened and licensed in 1973 when Margaret Marr closed.
Former residents of Margaret Marr gave evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions in 1998-1999. Some recalled that the institution did not provide its residents with sufficient medical or dental treatment (p.68). Former residents from the 1940s period spoke of brutal physical treatment by the Master and Matron (p.71). A resident from the late 1950s stated that the atmosphere was 'sterile and devoid of affection' (p.78).
Former residents of Margaret Marr in the 1940s and 1950s gave evidence about the quality of education they received. Some claimed they had been discouraged from sitting the Scholarship examination. Another former resident was told by the Matron he 'didn't have the brains to be a carpenter' and was instead sent to work on a dairy farm (p.84).
Sources used to compile this entry: Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Queensland. Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, Brisbane, 1999; Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. p.62.; Methodist Church of Australasia. Queensland Conference. Division of Child & Family Welfare, Golden jubilee souvenir booklet : Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys, 1924-1974, Methodist Division of Child & Family Welfare, Nundah, 1974, 16 pp.
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 15 June 2011, Last modified: 17 March 2015