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AGM plus talk by Sally McLean on the Majoribanks Street Refuge
September 20 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Join us for a short Annual General Meeting, following by a talk and afternoon tea.
Our guest speaker is historian, Sally McLean, who will talk about the contentious history of the Majoribanks Street refuge,operated as the Wellington Christian Society’s Home for Fallen Women and then as a Salvation Army rescue home from 1885 to 1894.
Early in the morning on 19 November 1905, 19-year old Isabella Goodman, an unmarried live-in maid and laundress, quietly gave birth. She woke no-one in her Newtown house as she left her baby daughter and went to a nearby pond to drown herself.
Her room-mate told the inquest that she had not known Isabella was pregnant as she was ‘in the habit of lacing very tightly’.
Isabella’s death focused public attention on the provision of emergency maternity services and the care available, or lack thereof, to ‘friendless’ and unmarried girls and women.
In the wake of the publicity following Isabella Goodman’s death, Dr Edith Huntley and her friends got together to consider what could be done about the plight of unsupported women giving birth outside wedlock. By early 1906, they were working on a plan to take over a valuable but dilapidated property in Majoribanks Street. The property was held by a moribund trust that had been set up in 1885 to help ‘fallen’ women, but by 1906 was used as a boarding house.