Kennerley Boys’ Home: A blast from the past

DO you have anything to share about the Kennerley Boys’ Home either as a resident, staff, neighbour, supporter or donor?

In preparation for its upcoming 150th anniversary next year, Kennerley is calling on the local community to come forward with personal stories, experiences and photos.

These memories will be commemorated in a book by author Elizabeth Fleetwood.

“The history is to be published as a record of how the people of Hobart embraced, supported and took to heart one man’s philanthropic vision and how they’ve kept it alive to this day,” Ms Fleetwood said.

“The 150 years of success of the Kennerley Boys’ Home is a heartening story of a community rallying consistently to support a cause they could see was worthy.”

The Home was founded in 1869 by former Mayor and Premier Alfred Kennerley, who wished to provide food, shelter, education, training and more to boys who had no families of their own.

Mr Kennerley purchased the building and land on Hamilton Street in West Hobart where the Home operated for 100 years.

Ms Fleetwood said the Home was greatly supported by the community with regular donations.

She said many Hobart businesses offered apprenticeships or goods or services.

“The boys took part in regular sport and recreational activities, as well as in mentorship schemes that were provided by Rotary clubs,” she said.

“The Home stood on several acres where the boys milked cows, kept chickens and cultivated gardens while learning carpentry and crafts.”

In 1970, the original building was demolished.

Ms Fleetwood said in the spirit of the times, Kennerly Boys’ Home moved over to cottage home fostering and was renamed ‘Kennerly Childrens’ Homes’.

“The inclusion of girls saw the care broaden to include whole families – many of whom came from situations of abuse or neglect,” she said.

Today, the not-for-profit organisation operates as KennerlyKids.org.au and provides community respite to parents needing assistance, foster care for children who can’t remain safely in their family home and independent living programs for young people leaving foster care.

To contribute or for more information, phone 6272 5900, email together@kennerleykids.org.au or post to PO Box 576, Glenorchy 7010.

Caption: Kennerley Boys’ Home 1962.