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New South Wales - Organisation

Sydney Female Refuge Society (1848 - 1926?)

Care Provider and Protestant
Alternative Names
  • SFRS (acronym)

The Sydney Female Refuge Society was established in 1848 with the motto 'GO, AND SIN NO MORE'. It was established by a group of Protestant philanthropists to assist and restore women working in prostitution, as well as single pregnant women. The Society ran the Sydney Female Refuge, located in Pitt Street, Sydney and later in Glebe.


In the Australian Women's Register, Francis and Carter write that:

Although nominally under the control of men, in practice the Society was administered by women. Constitutionally the Ladies' Committee was an 'advisory body', but became increasingly powerful and by 1870 the women were firmly entrenched and resisted encroachment on to their sphere. In accordance with Protestant evangelical ideas all members of the Ladies' Committee were required to be married as a way of presenting to the inmates of the refuge the ideal of the respectable marriage.

There are records from the Sydney Female Refuge Society in a manuscript collection at the Mitchell Library at the State Library of New South Wales.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Sydney Female Refuge Society', in Philanthropists and philanthropy in Australian colonial history, Paul F. Cooper, 2016,; Francis, Rosemary and Carter, Carolyne, 'Sydney Female Refuge Society (1848 - 1919?)', in Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women/University of Melbourne, 2004,

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill