Tasmania received 93,000 British convicts in its first 50 years following settlement in 1803. Against this background the problems of orphaned, abandoned, neglected and destitute children emerged. In May 1869 the Hon Alfred Kennerley purchased three acres of land in Hamilton St West Hobart for the purpose of building a home for boys. There was strong public concern for the number of children who did not have food, shelter or family support at the time. It was also the intent of the Industrial Schools Act 1869 to considered ways to address the problems of childcare. The first admission to the Kennerley Boys’ Home was on 7 th April 1869 .
‘Kennerley’ commenced as a large institution caring for boys who had been dislocated from their families, providing them with a trade and with life skills while under care. In 1969 the old West Hobart institution was sold and 4 large 6-bedroom cottages were purpose built to house boys and girls in need of long-term care. The inclusion of girls at this stage meant that brothers and sisters could be kept together, this brought about the change of name to Kennerley Children’s Homes Inc.
In 2003 another cottage was purchased for the purpose of housing sibling groups. The Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to sponsor many of the ongoing costs under the ‘sibling’ model.
In addition to the cottages Kennerley also has its office accommodation with two large flats attached. These flats are accommodating the Moving On Project which commenced in December 2003 in partnership with Boystown. This project has a lead tenant who supports and imparts life skills to young adults leaving care or to young adults who have been referred as a result of personal hardships.
Kennerley has a further arm, linking children with foster parents. A very supportive team of foster carers are available to care for children in the carers’ homes. Some children are in long-term care under care and protection orders; some are housed briefly in an emergency situation or to allow respite for the parents or to allow parents time to sort out problems.
Kennerley is a private organisation run by a volunteer Board and by dedicated welfare staff, cottage parents & Foster carers.