Female Orphan Institution. (1801-1850)

NLA Persistent Identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-732073

Biographies

The Female Orphan School was set up in George Street, Sydney, by Governor King in 1801 to house destitute young girls. When it was officially opened on 17 August, 1801, 31 girls aged between the ages of 7 and 14 were in residence. By 1829 the population had grown to 152 and included some Aboriginal children. On 30 April, 1850 the Male Orphan School, which had been relocated at Liverpool in 1823 was closed. The remaining residents moved to the Female Orphan School site at Parramatta and the two establishments amalgamated to form the Protestant Orphan School, which operated until 1886.

The Female Orphan Institution (also known as the Female Orphan School) was established in 1800 by Governor King to care for orphaned and abandoned children in the colony of NSW. Located in Lieutenant William Kent's house in George Street, Sydney, the orphanage was supported financially by port duties and the income generated from allocated parcels of land (a secular equivalent of the glebe). When it was officially opened on 17 August, 1801 31 girls aged between the ages of 7 and 14 were in residence. The girls were taught spinning and sewing and some were taught reading and writing. Evidence given by Governor Bligh to the British Select Committee on Transportation in 1812 suggested that there was little emphasis on education, and that the Institution had instead become a clothing factory and a source of domestic servants for colonial households.

In 1813 Governor Macquarie laid the foundation stone for the new Female Orphan Institution, a grand, purpose-built building on the northern bank of the Parramatta River. It was opened to pupils in 1818. The George Street, Sydney site became the Male Orphan School.

By 1829 the female orphanage housed 152 girls from a cross-section of colonial society—including Aboriginal communities—though most girls had convict parents or mothers. Many had one parent living. Girls were accepted from two years of age (lowered from the original age limit of five), they received a basic education and were placed as domestic servants at thirteen.

Supervision of the orphanage was initially the responsibility of a voluntary committee of distinguished individuals appointed by the Governor—magistrates, government officials, clergy and settlers. The first committee was comprised of two Anglican Chaplains, Rev. Samuel Marsden and Rev. Richard Johnson, Mrs King (the Governor's wife) and Mrs Paterson (wife of the Lieutenant- Governor), the surgeon William Balmain and John Harris, surgeon, magistrate and officer-in-charge of police. In March 1926, the management, care and superintendence of both the Male and Female Orphan Schools became the responsibility of the Clergy and School Lands Corporation. From 1833 the Female and Male Orphan Schools continued under the control of the Colonial Secretary.

A resident Matron (and her husband, the Master) was responsible for the daily management of the orphanage. The first Matron was Mrs John Hosking (1800-1820), followed by Mary Collicott, Susannah Matilda Ward (1821-) and Sarah Sweetman (1823-1824). The Wesleyan missionary William Walker and his wife Cordelia Walker (nee Hassall) took up the positions in 1825, bringing with them a number of girls from the Blacktown Aboriginal settlement, where they had previously worked. They resigned following difficulties with Archdeacon Scott, the official Visitor of colonial schools, and were succeeded in mid-1827 by the Reverend Charles Pleydell Neale Wilton and his wife. Wilton was succeeded in turn by Captain Alexander Martin, RN, and his wife.

On 30 April, 1850 the Male Orphan School, which had been relocated at Liverpool in 1823 was closed. The remaining residents moved to the Female Orphan School site at Parramatta and the two establishments amalgamated to form the Protestant Orphan School.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Resources for Female Orphan Institution.

Selected resources (12)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Agency Detail - Female Orphan SchoolState Records New South Wales : Agency Detail - Female Orphan School
    [2000]
    Series: http://investigator.records.nsw.gov.au/Details/Agency_Detail.asp?Entity=Global&Search=clergy%20school%20land%20corporation&Op=All&Page=1&Id=398&SearchPage=Global
  2. NSW Orphan School index 1817-1833
    Reakes, Janet, 1952- 2002 (compiler)
    [1994]
    Published: J. Reakes
  3. The Female Orphan Institution, 1814, Rydalmere Hospital, 1986
    Collison, April J.
    [[1986]]
    Published: Rydalmere Hospital Parents and Friends Association
  4. Parramatta's female orphan institution : Mary Collicott, the convict's well-born WifeLives obscurely great : historical essays on women of New South Wales Thompson, Patricia and Yorke, Susan, 1915- 1-4 : Parramatta's female orphan institution : Mary Collicott, the convict's well-born Wife
    Earnshaw, Beverley
    [1980]
    Published: Society of Women Writers (Australia), N.S.W. Branch
  5. Family policy and orphan schools in early colonial AustraliaJournal of Interdisciplinary History 22 2, Autumn 255-284 : Family policy and orphan schools in early colonial Australia
    Snow, Dianne
    [1991]
  6. The Female Orphan School Paramatta - the influence of locationLocality 10 2 17-21 : The Female Orphan School Paramatta - the influence of location
    Liston, Carol
    [1999]
  7. Tears often shed : child health and welfare in Australia from 1788
    Gandevia, Bryan, 1925-
    [1978]
    Published: Pergamon Press (Australia)
  8. The education and care of destitute, orphan, neglected and delinquent chidren in New South Wales, 1801-1890 [manuscript]
    Ramsland, John, 1944-
    [1982]
    Published: University of Newcastle (N.S.W.). Dept. of Education
  9. Children of the back lanes : destitute and neglected children in colonial New South Wales
    Ramsland, John, 1942-
    [1986]
    Published: New South Wales University Press
  10. State Library of New South Wales: View of Female Orphan School near Parramatta. 1st June 1825 (1899)
    GPO 1 - 08874
  11. National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection: Papers of Rachel Roxburgh, 1794-1896 (1794 - 1896)
    Research notes, card indexes, photographs, slides, newscuttings, correspondence and other papers, ca. 1960-1986, accumulated by Roxburgh in the process of researching and writing the history of various colonial buildings in New South Wales, in particular Throsby Park near Moss Vale. This collection also includes a number of original documents, 1794 onwards, relating to the history of particular buildings. These documents include deeds, ledgers, licences, architectural drawing, letters and diaries.
    MS 8368
  12. State Library of New South Wales: Lilias Stuart Humphreys collection (1800 - 1987)
    I. GARLING FAMILY II. FREDERICK GARLING SENIOR III.FREDERICK GARLING JUNIOR IV. CLARENDON STUART V. BEDWELL, BALDWIN, WARD, FITZHARDINGE AND OTHER FAMILIES VI. FEMALE ORPHAN INSTITUTION Research notes on the Female Orphan Institution (Locn No.: MLMSS 7010/24/3) Index to Rules, Regulations and Minutes of the Female Orphan Institution of New South Wales [30 June 1818-15 Jan. 1824], in the Archives Office of N.S.W, compiled by Lilias S. Humphreys, with related notes (Locn No.: MLMSS 7010/24/4) Research material on the Female Factory (Locn No.: MLMSS 7010/24/5) Photocopy of Rules and Regulations...for the Management and Improvement of the Female Orphan Institution and Minutes of Committee Meetings, 1818-1824, with related notes (Locn No.: MLMSS 7010/25/1) Research material on the Female Orphan Institution (Locn No.: MLMSS 7010/25/2) Photocopies of transcribed documents from the Mitchell Library concerning church and school lands and the Female Orphan Institution (Locn No.: MLMSS 7010/25/3) Most of the papers that comprise the Lilias Stuart Humphreys collection came into the possession of the donor, Lady Hurley, after Lilias' death and before the death of her widower, John Humphreys, in 1989. Lady Hurley was married to Sir John Garling Hurley (1906-1989), whose mother, Annie Elizabeth Garling was Lilias' aunt. In 1991, Lady Hurley commissioned Patricia R. McDonald to list the collection and to make recommendations about its dispersal. An inventory was compiled to the papers in various subject groups and accompanied the collection when it was presented to the State Library of New South Wales in the same year.
    MLMSS 7010/1-25

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