St Vincent de Paul Orphanage for Girls Dunedin

Dates: 1898-1955


The St Vincent de Paul Orphanage, located next to St Patrick’s Basilica in South Dunedin, was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1898. In 1905 there were about 70 girls living at St Vincent’s. Initially it only took girls, with Catholic boys sent to the orphanage at Stroke or the Caversham Industrial School. It later accepted boys to the age of six or seven, at which age they moved to the St Joseph’s Orphanage for Boys at Waverley.

Children attended the local parish school – St Patrick’s, also run by the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters also ran St Philomena’s High School which had boarders – a few of the older girls boarded there, or attended the school without boarding there. Some of the orphanage girls waited at table for the boarders, along with other domestic chores in the orphanage.

The orphanage closed in 1955 when it merged with St Joseph’s. The orphanage buildings were used for many years as a boarding hostel for girls at St Philomena’s.