MacKillop began work on the display in response to the findings from the 2004 Senate Inquiry on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children. The inquiry recommended that heritage display centres be constructed on the sites of former institutions as a memorial to the lives of care leavers.
MacKillop’s display tells the story of the history of Catholic child welfare in Victoria with a particular emphasis on the lived experience of residents and staff of the founding agencies of MacKillop Family Services.
Between 1854 and 1997 more than 100,000 children spent all or part of their childhood years in one or more of the homes.
More than 12,500 mothers were resident at St Joseph’s in Broadmeadows and St Joseph’s in Carlton between 1901 and 1997. For these children and mothers, the homes represented places of both hope and hardship.
With the establishment of Victoria’s first Catholic Orphanage in 1854 until the founding of MacKillop Family Services in 1997, the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of St Joseph established orphanages and children’s homes and for others in Melbourne and Geelong.
Over the years, as the models of care changed, so did the names and, in some cases, the locations of the original homes.
MacKillop’s display acknowledges that the past always contains lessons for the future.
The display is open to the general public and we encourage you to pay us a visit and learn more about our rich history. To arrange a visit contact reception on (03) 9699 9177.