Our Heritage

Parkerville Children and Youth Care has a rich and colourful history, from its pioneering beginning as one of the first orphanages in Perth, to its growth and development as a dynamic community service provider with a network of operations across Western Australia.

Parkerville Children and Youth Care has a rich and colourful history, from its pioneering beginning as one of the first orphanages in Perth, to its growth and development as a dynamic community service provider with a network of operations across Western Australia.

A century of service

Parkerville Children’s Home was founded in 1903 by two Anglican nuns - Sister Kate and Sister Sarah - who arrived in Fremantle on the Orient Pacific RMS Oroya, on 11 December 1902, accompanied by child migrants from the Orphanage of Mercy, in London.

Sister Kate became a household name in Western Australia for pioneering the cottage home system for orphaned babies and children and for her prominent work with Indigenous children from the Stolen Generations. She was awarded an Order of the British Empire, in 1934, for her services to disadvantaged children.

Born Katherine Mary Clutterbuck, in Wiltshire, England, in 1860, Sister Kate joined the Community of the Sisters of the Church at the age of 22. Her first appointment was at an orphanage in Edgeware Road, London.

The Sisters set about establishing a school but were increasingly concerned about providing accommodation for the growing number of children in their care. Sister Kate had her sights set on establishing an orphanage away from the city in an area where the children could grow and develop. It was the Sisters’ view that “the environment in which the little ones are placed must be as perfect as possible in purity and brightness for the sake of the body, the mind and the soul of the child”.

In May 1903, the Sisters found an 18-acre block of land in Parkerville which they purchased for £280 (pounds). They believed this would be the ideal spot for young children and the country air would strengthen their constitutions and make them healthier.

The community of Mundaring was supportive of the Sisters and their “waifs” but none more so than Walter Padbury, one of Western Australia’s most renowned colonial builders, who represented Swan Districts in the Legislative Council and became the first Mayor of Guildford. Walter was sympathetic to the children’s plight having been orphaned at the age of 11 and left to “ruthless treatment from fellow settlers, bestirred with mental cruelty”.

The Parkerville property consisted of a single hut and a barn when the Sisters first arrived. In September 1905, Walter became aware of the lack of facilities at Parkerville and employed a builder and members of the local community to build a brick house on the site large enough to house 35 to 40 children. The local community followed his lead providing washing machines and other machinery. One hundred fruit trees were planted and a 6,000 gallon water tank and a baker’s oven were built.

The children were educated from nursery and kindergarten and on to school. The Parkerville Home also trained girls for service in the houses of wealthy Perth residents and operated a farm where the older boys acquired skills to help them gain employment.


Our Logo

The symbol was inspired by the ‘Rose Window’, which features in the historic St Michael and All Angels Chapel on the grounds of our Parkerville campus.

The original stained glass ‘Rose Window’ was dedicated to Sister Jane and each petal of the rose was dedicated to one of the Parkerville boys who lost their lives in the Great War.

Lest we forget: Private Herbert Hallett, Driver Lionel Churchill, Private Edgar Bentley, Private James Lloyd, Lance Corporal John Lea and Private Fred Ruffle.