The House of Mercy, in Cheltenham, was opened in 1892. It was run by the Mission to the Streets and Lanes as a home for 'fallen and friendless women'. The women in charge of the House of Mercy were to become known as the Community of the Holy Name. The House of Mercy ceased providing accommodation to young women in 1946, after which it became known as Retreat House.
In 1889, the Mission to the Streets and Lanes purchased eight acres of land for £500 at Cheltenham. The Mission Council set to work planning to establish a new 'Country Home for Fallen and Friendless Women'.
The institution was officially opened in 1892 with the name 'House of Mercy in Connection with the Melbourne Diocesan Deaconess' Home and Mission to the Streets and Lanes'.
The women in charge of the facility were from what became known as the Community of the Holy Name, founded by Sister Esther (Emma Caroline Silcock, 1859 - 1931).
Extensions were added to the buildings in 1895 and 1907. In 1938, another major development included the construction of a laundry, the profits of which contributed to the running of the home.
The laundry operation closed in 1946, when the House of Mercy ceased its accommodation of young women. It became known as the Retreat House, 'a centre for youth conventions and group meetings for those seeking solitude, spiritual retreats or a religious environment for several days'. The Retreat House was still run by the Sisters of the Community of the Holy Name, on behalf of the Mission to the Streets and Lanes.
In early 1997, ownership of the Retreat House passed to Anglicare Victoria. The site underwent development and is today a residential area known as 'Cheltenham Green'.
In 1997 the Mission to the Streets and Lanes became part of Anglicare Victoria. At this time, records of the Mission were transferred to Anglicare Victoria. These included records of the various orphanages, homes and other residences run by the Mission. The custodian of these records is Anglicare Victoria.
Sources used to compile this entry: Whitehead, Graham J., 'A Home for Wayward Girls', in Kingston Historical Website, City of Kingston, 1998-2006, http://localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au/htm/article/335.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 17 February 2009, Last modified: 25 October 2018