St Mary’s Orphanage Dunedin

Dates: 1883-1933


St Mary’s Orphan Home opened in 1883. Mary Nevill, the wife of the Anglican Bishop and a woman of substantial wealth, was largely responsible for the establishment. It started out in a home close to the Bishop’s residence in Leith Valley, with facilities for up to 14 children. The home was run by a series of matrons until 1904 when the Anglican Deaconess Institute took charge. At this time the 11 children moved to new premises, The Grange, in Leith Street, under the care of Sister Ernestine. There was now room for up to 24 children. In 1912 the home moved again, this time to another property in Kenmure Road, Mornington. The home was funded by voluntary subscriptions and grants from the Charitable Aid Board until 1913, when the Anglican Diocese of Dunedin took over its management. In 1914 there were 31 children living in St Mary’s. Most of the residents were girls, although there were a few boys living there; the home did not take infants, but children from 2 to 3 years and upwards. A few were admitted temporarily while their parents were ill. The home closed in 1933 and the children transferred to the Memorial Home at Vauxhall.