The Canterbury Female Refuge: a case study 1865 - 1916
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelBachelors with Honours
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
This dissertation examines the Canterbury Female Refuge from its founding in 1865 through until 1916. New Zealand welfare historians have looked at this period of Charitable Aid based relief in some detail, along with studies of some of our early charitable institutions. However, the Canterbury Female Refuge has remained a footnote in these other histories, and has not be explored in any considerable depth. I examine the history of the Female Refuge, looking at the founding and running of the institution by the Charitable Aid Board and the Anglican Church. This dissertation also seeks to paint a historically accurate picture of how single mothers were treated. I looked at the everyday experiences of these women while at the Female Refuge, as well as their lives following their stay. The women who entered the Refuge were largely from the working classes, and most went into domestic service following their stay. The records used in this study suggest that these women did not experience the level isolation or social shame that may be expected. The Female Reformatory, which served as a refuge for troubled women, is also discussed here as a comparative study between two similar institutions. This dissertation aims to add to the existing scholarship on welfare, women and early society in New Zealand.