Holy Cross Retreat or Magdalen Asylum, in Wooloowin, was operated by the Order of the Sisters of Mercy. It opened in 1889 as a home for unmarried mothers, disabled girls and infants. It ceased operating as a home for very young children in 1959. From 1974 it no longer cared for children but provided continuing care for physically and ntellectually disabled persons and single mothers. In 1978 its function changed to a centre for intellectually and physically disabled persons and was renamed Mercy Centre.
Mother Mary Vincent was instrumental in the establishment of Holy Cross Retreat. She came to Queensland from Ireland in 1861.
The Holy Cross Retreat foundation stone was laid on Sunday 22nd April 1888 by Archbishop Dr Dunne. The Holy Cross Retreat was then opened 13th October 1889 by the Governor Sir Henry Norman. This institution was also referred to as the Magdalen Asylum. The girls worked in the laundry which was co-located on the site. State Government funds contributed to the running of the institution.
Holy Cross Retreat was licensed in 1895 under the Orphanages Act 1879 , then under the State Children Act 1911. It was licensed again under the Children's Services Act 1965.
1889 - 1978 Holy Cross Retreat
1977 - Mercy Centre
Sources used to compile this entry: Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. p.51..
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 14 June 2011, Last modified: 5 November 2014