Nazareth House in Camberwell opened in 1929 as a Home for the aged. From 1953 and 1956, Nazareth House received 53 female child migrants from Britain. From 1958, Nazareth House also received girls and boys from Victoria. Residential care for children at Nazareth House ceased in 1975.
Nazareth House opened in 1929, originally as an institution for the care of the aged.
The Sisters of Nazareth received a grant from the Victorian government in February 1949. The money funded building works at Nazareth House in Camberwell, where it was envisaged that 150 migrant girls from the United Kingdom would be accommodated. In 1953, a new wing was added to Nazareth House to accommodate migrant girls. Between 1953 and 1956, Nazareth House received 53 female child migrants from Britain.
From 1958, Nazareth House also received girls and boys from all over Victoria. In 1962, only 6 child migrants remained at Nazareth House Camberwell. The institution was approved to accommodate wards of state in 1962 - girls aged between 2 and 15, and boys aged between 2 and 9. According to the Finding Records website, this enabled some Catholic siblings to remain together. The website also states that in 1962, 'capacity was limited to about 60 children in congregate care in the large complex that still also housed the elderly'.
Residential care for children at Nazareth House Camberwell ceased in 1975. The Sisters increased its commitment to providing aged care from that time onwards.
One submission to the 2004 Senate Inquiry from a former child migrant described her time at Nazareth House Camberwell as 'a very painful period in my life to talk about in fact I still have nightmares especially when I have to revisit memories. I have come to realise that we were never children. We were an unpaid workforce, with no reward just punishment' (Submission 169).
Another submission described abuse in Nazareth House including force feeding, beatings and the use of restraints on girls who lived there (Submission 5).
An article from 2015 contained an allegation that the Sisters of Nazareth were impeding investigations into historic sexual abuse by nuns against children who lived in Nazareth House Camberwell (King, 2015).
In 2013 the site houses Nazareth Care Camberwell, an aged care facility run by the Sisters of Nazareth.
1929-1975: Nazareth House was located in Cornell Street, Camberwell, Victoria
Sources used to compile this entry: Churches care for migrant orphans, The Argus, 5 February 1949, 15 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22695737; 'A Piece of the Story': National Directory of Records of Catholic organisations caring for children separated from their families, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission & Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, November 1999, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf; Senate Community Affairs References Committee Secretariat, Parliament of Australia, Lost Innocents: righting the record - report on child migration, Commonwealth of Australia, 30 August 2001, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/completed_inquiries/1999-02/child_migrat/report/index.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 6 March 2009, Last modified: 20 September 2019