House of Mercy

In August, 1880, the stables and coach-house behind the Dutton-Green house were converted into boarding accommodation for poor girls and orphans. The Sisters offered these young women training in domestic service to work in the homes of Adelaide’s wealthy. This was Adelaide’s first venture into vocational training for girls.

This House of Mercy proved so successful that a new building, St. Philomena’s House of Mercy, was erected and opened in 1883.The building adjoined and ran parallel to St. Francis Xavier Hall. In 1904, McAuley House (now Dunlevie Building), was erected as a purpose built school. It was built on the back section of the convent property and adjoined St Philomena’s House of Mercy, whose kitchen it shared.

The House of Mercy operated successfully for about forty years. By the start of the twentieth century, the numbers of girls entering the institution had dwindled as the opening of the Catholic Women’s League Hostel had replaced this service. The building ceased to operate as the House of Mercy and became a boarding house for young women from the country, attending Teacher Training or Business College. In the late 1920’s it was renovated and became part of the boarding school. It was demolished in 1984.

By Carol Grantham, 2022


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