32. Sr Katherine Clutterbuck (1861-1946), “mother” to orphaned children
In response to a plea for assistance from Bishop Parry, Sister Kate Clutterbuck brought a group of Kilburn Sisters of the Church of England to Perth in 1901, together with 22 English orphans. The sisters’ goals were to establish a school and, more importantly, a home for infant waifs who would otherwise be abandoned to the often neglectful care of baby farms.
In 1903, the Waifs’ Home at Parkerville was established in a leaky barn in the hills outside of Perth. By 1905 there were 45 children, mainly homeless babies in the care of the sisters. The philanthropist, Walter Padbury, was generous in providing a new stone building for a nursery, 120 acres of land, an orchard and a horse and carriage. The children lived in separate cottages, each in the care of a house mother to provide some semblance of a family environment.
During her years as the central figure at Parkerville Children’s Home, Sister Kate was “mother” to over 800 girls and boys. When the management committee decided it was time for her to retire in 1933, Sister Kate, then 72 years of age, set up a home in the city for part-Aboriginal children. Known as “Sister Kate’s”, the home provided, with generous outside support, cottage homes and schooling for over 100 children. Sister Kate continued to work at the Home for another 13 years until shortly before her death in 1946.