St Catherine's Children's Home was the new name given in 1960 to St Catherine's Orphanage. It operated at Highton until its closure in 1975, when the Sisters of Mercy established the Mercy Family Care Centre.
From the 1960s, like many other institutions in Victoria, St Catherine's Children's Home was changing its approach to accommodating children, moving away from institutional, congregate care, towards 'cottage homes' and family group homes.
Sister Aiden Mulcair took charge of St Catherine's in the mid 1960s. At the time, changes were planned at the institution to make the accommodation more 'home-like'. The building was to be divided into eight self-contained flat, each accommodating 10 children.
In 1972, Sister Agatha Rogers took over management of St Catherine's, and further changes ensued. In August of that year, Sister Agatha announced that the St Catherine's property was up for sale. Her vision was for a series of family group homes in the Geelong area as well as a new foster care program.
In 1975, the new Mercy Family Care Centre was established in North Geelong.
c. 1862 - 1912 Our Lady's Orphanage
1912 - 1960 St Catherine's Orphanage
1960 - 1975 St Catherine's Children's Home
c. 1975 - 1997 Mercy Family Care Centre
1997 - MacKillop Family Services
Sources used to compile this entry: Barnard, Jill; Twigg, Karen, Holding on to Hope: a history of the founding agencies of MacKillop Family Services 1854-1997, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2004; Murray, Suellen, John Murphy, Elizabeth Branigan, Jenny Malone, After the orphanage: life beyond the children's home, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2009; 'St Catherine's Orphanage', in Finding Records, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Victoria, https://www.findingrecords.dhhs.vic.gov.au/collectionresultspage/StCatherinesOrphanage. See the 'List of records held by the department' section for information about records relating to St Catherine's Children's Home..
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 10 August 2009, Last modified: 27 July 2015