Picturesque Dunedin: or Dunedin and its neighbourhood in 1890
The Female Refuge
The Female Refuge.
From the nature of the work of this useful institution, and the class of persons it befriends, all details connected with it cannot well be minutely stated or enlarged upon. For that reason its committee of ladies have from the first quietly and unostentatiously, but steadily and nobly, laboured on "without observation," not seeking the praise of men, but the good of those for whose well-being they banded themselves together. It was opened on the 3rd of June, 1873, and from that day to the present time many young women and girls have for longer or shorter periods, and with varying results, availed themselves of its shelter; and now, after eighteen long years of such labour, it is gratifying to find the chairman of the Charitable Aid Board publicly saying, as late as November 21st of the present year (1889), "that the Female Refuge is self-supporting; that he is of opinion the endeavours of the ladies in connection with the management are deserving of the highest praise; and that he hopes they will be stimulated to still further efforts for the good of the inmates." For twelve years the Refuge was maintained by public subscriptions, a subsidy from the Government, and the proceeds of the laundry work of the inmates, but since the passing of the Charitable Aid Act in, 1885 it has been under the page 236wing of, and (as far as was requisite) been supported by, the Charitable Aid Board. The Home, capable of accommodating twenty inmates comfortably, is situated on the highest part of Forth street, has a half-acre of ground attached to it, and commands a fine view of the upper part of the bay, the Peninsula, and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The records of this institution form very sad and depressing reading. Notes of all who in the course of years have been inmates have been carefully kept—properly, short biographical sketches, faithfully noting failure when there is failure, and modestly noting success when there is success. Many of these sketches end disappointingly, some very sorrowfully, while here and there gratifying examples of recovery to a permanent better life are cited. The Hon. Mrs. Holmes, Mrs. Chapman (widow of the late judge), and other ladies, have from the first, or in the course of the years, been identified with this truly philanthropic and Christ-like agency, and in its noble work Miss McDougall (now laid aside by illness) and the late Miss Lambton took a very active part. There is good reason for the earnest hope that Miss Morrow, the present matron, will long hold office, as in her the young women and girls under her care have a wise and sympathising friend, who spares no effort to help them out of the sea of trouble into which indiscretion has led them.