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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39

The Dunedin Female Refuge

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The Dunedin Female Refuge.

During the past year, the entire number of women who enjoyed the shelter of the refuge was twenty-one; of these, ten were admitted for the first time, and several, both of these and of the previous inmates, were admitted more than once into the Institution.

Nine of the inmates were natives of Ireland, five of Scotland, three of England, and four of the Colonies. Five were married, three were widows, and the remainder single women. Four could not read, seven could read but not write, the rest could both read and write.

The Committee feel that the task of reforming these poor women is both difficult and slow from various causes. The marked change from unrestrained self indulgence to a necessary submission to discipline is not easy to bear; therefore, while the Committee regret that they cannot point to an abundant result of good from their labours during the past year, they still take courage from little gleams of light to press on in their efforts to reclaim these fallen ones. A previous inmate has sought the shelter of the Refuge to obtain some needed rest, having been in a situation for some time, where she has conducted herself most satisfactorily. page 4 A second has returned to her friends in Christchurch. A third appeared to be rather of weak intellect than of vicious tendencies, and has been received into the Benevolent Institution. Eight women still remain in the Refuge, one of whom is waiting for a suitable situation, having been an inmate since January, 1879, and during the greater part of that time her conduct has been very good. The remaining nine have returned to their old life.

During the past year the Committee have had considerable anxiety and difficulty in procuring a suitable Matron; at last they have now been successful. Frequent changes in the management is, no doubt, a drawback to the Institution.

The Refuge is not quite self-supporting, and while the Committee gratefully acknowledge the pecuniary assistance rendered to them in time past by many friends and subscribers, they would express their earnest hope that the general public of Dunedin will assist them with the necessary funds efficiently to work an Institution which has for its end the salvation of poor souls otherwise but little cared for; remembering that, inasmuch as they show kindness to one of the least of these, they do it unto Him who will not forget even the cup of cold water offered in His name.

The Committee beg to acknowledge with many thanks the services of Dr Borrows as Medical Officer of the Institution, and many valuable gifts from other friends.