Santa Marina, at Waverley, was opened by the State Children's Relief Board in 1919. It was as a home for babies, expectant mothers and mothers with babies. In its first year of operation it housed a total of 123 mothers and 138 babies, for an average of 3 to 6 months. It possibly closed around 1930.
Santa Marina was opened on 1 December 1919. It was one of a number of homes established by the Board under the Infant Protection Act 1904. It was intended to keep unmarried mothers together with their babies until the child was weaned, as the State Children's Relief Board was concerned about the very high rate of death amongst 'illegitimate' babies who were placed in babies' homes because their mothers had to support themselves.
The idea behind Santa Marina was to support mothers to breastfeed for an extended period. Once the baby was weaned the mother could try to find employment that allowed her to keep the child or the baby could be placed in the boarding out system.
Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the State Children's Relief Board, W.A. Gullick, Government Printer, Sydney, 1894-1920. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 21 June 2012, Last modified: 9 December 2013