Nazareth House, Wynnum North, was operated by the Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth. It accommodated the aged, orphans and children from various backgrounds. Nazareth House opened in 1926 and ceased taking children in 1982 .
Nazareth House, situated at 272 Wynnum North Road, Wynnum North, was operated by the Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth. It opened in 1926 and was licensed under the lnfant Life Protection Act 1905 on 10 February 1927. It was later licensed under the State Children Act 1911 on 10 July 1964 and the Children's Services Act 1965 on 4 August 1966. It closed 28 November 1982.
Nazareth House was designed by the architectual firm Hennesssy, Hennessy, Kessing & Co. The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Duhig on 13 April 1924. It was located at Wynnum, on the outskirts of Brisbane. A departmental child care officer in 1974 described the building:
The design of the building itself is along the lines of a monastery, with cloisters, crucifixes, statues etc in great abundance. First impressions of it are that it is a very cold, imposing place, and it must be extremely frightening for a child, especially one of tender years, to be placed there (p.64).
The 1999 report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions described the living conditions at Nazareth House, which were more or less constant from its establishment in 1926 until the early 1970s. The residents at Nazareth House (who were almost all girls) were all housed in dormitory accommodation.
There was a nursery for infants aged under six which held between 30 and 60 children. The junior dormitory housed girls aged between 6 and 10, the senior dormitory those aged 11 and above. The evidence suggests that up to 60 girls were housed in the junior and senior dormitories until numbers began to decline in the mid-1970s (p.64).
This system could result in siblings being separated at Nazareth House.
Former residents of Nazareth House gave evidence to the Commission of Inquiry, the majority of which was very negative. Many former residents spoke of the institution's regimentation and preoccupation with order. Residents remembered inadequate food, a lack of medical or dental treatment, and having to spend a lot of time working. A resident from the late 1960s remembered being in her early teens and being put in charge of around 25 children in the junior dormitory.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'A Piece of the Story': National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission & Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, 1999, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf. p.77-78.; 'Nun at centre of sex abuse storm told 'no case to answer'', in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2002, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nun-at-centre-of-sex-abuse-storm-told-no-case-to-answer-20020923-gdfnro.html; Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. p.66.; Assessment of Nazareth House completed by a child care officer, 3 October 1974, DFYCC 96I/6/0 (cited in Forde report, p.64).
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 22 June 2011, Last modified: 12 May 2017