Benevolent Asylum, corner of Pitt and Devonshire Streets, Railway Square, Item held at State Records NSW
The Benevolent Society is Australia’s oldest charity. It was founded in 1818 with Governor Macquarie as Patron. In 1821 the Benevolent Asylum, ‘for the aged, infirm, blind and destitute’ both male and female, was opened on the corner of Pitt and Devonshire Streets. It was financed partly by the Government, and partly by private support. In 1901 the Asylum was resumed to make way for Central Station.
Later buildings and institutions established by the Society were the Royal Hospital for Women at Paddington, Thomas Street Asylum (Ultimo), Renwick Hospital for Infants (Ultimo) and Scarba House for Children (Bondi). It continues to administer nursing homes, retirement villages and hostels in various Sydney suburbs in the areas of care for the ageing, for children and for women’s health services.
The State Library of NSW holds the Benevolent Society of New South Wales - Records, 1813-1995. They are Restricted and written permission from the Benevolent Society must be obtained before they can be accessed. They include records such as the Index to admissions & discharges 1899-May 1904, Registers of admissions & discharges Sept 1901-Jan 1905 and Inmates journals Nov 1902-June 1904.
There is also an index and a copying service online run by Martyn Killion and Heather Garnsey called Sydney Benevolent Society Index to admissions and discharges from 1857-1900