The superintendence of St Joseph's Home for Destitute Children in Surrey Hills changed in 1890, when it came under the control of the Sisters of St Joseph. Previously, it was run by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, but had long experienced financial problems.
The Sisters assumed management of the Home on 21 May 1890, working under the St Vincent committee.
The first Sisters at Surrey Hills were Bonaventure Mahony, Isabelle Colvin and Gonzaga Kennedy.
As it was their 'approved custom' not to work with lay committees, Mary McKillop arranged for all responsibilities to be assumed by the Sisters. By 1891, all links between the Home and the St Vincent de Paul Society had been severed.
In 1897, the Advocate reported on rebuilding taking place at St Joseph's:
'At present the sisters have no fewer than 120 little waifs and strays at the Home, and it may be mentioned that the new building will not increase to any great extent the accommodation of the orphans. When the structure now in course of erection shall have been completed, the helpless little ones will be comfortably housed, and the sisters, who hitherto have had to put up with very great inconvenience in order to give all possible space to their little charges, will be placed in possession of proper quarters. Spacious dormitories, recreation hall, cells, refectories, kitchen, bath-rooms, and outhouses will compose the handsome two-storey brick building, which will, when completed, form a landmark of the country between Canterbury and Surrey Hills railway stations.'
Barnard and Twigg write that, under the Sisters of St Joseph, the Home's purpose gradually shifted 'from rescue to refuge'. Children were being adopted out less frequently, and more often, coming to the Home during times of crisis as 'voluntary admissions' and eventually returning to their families.
In 1925, it became known as St Joseph's Home for Boys.
In 1997, records of the Sisters of St Joseph were transferred to MacKillop Family Services. These included records of the various orphanages, homes and other residences run by the Sisters of St Joseph and its predecessors. While custodianship of the records about people in 'care' became the responsibility of MacKillop Family Services at this point, it was formally agreed that the intellectual property in these records would not change hands.
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28 May 2019
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000057
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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