The Parkerville Children’s Home was established by members of the Anglican Order of the Sisters of the Church, Sister Kate and Sister Sarah, in 1903. The Sisters came from England in December 1901 bringing twenty-two orphans, they lived in various places until moving the Parkerville property, formerly Sexton’s Sawmill. There were deaths, the first one, according to the plaque erected at the Parkerville Children’s Home Bush Cemetery, was in 1903, although other records pertaining to this young three-year-old girl, states 1913; the last burial was also a young girl aged two in 1919. Deaths ranged from nine weeks to three years.
The gate entrance to the bush cemetery
The deaths reflected precarious life at the turn of the century. The infant mortality rate in the Australia in the early 1900s was approximately 10%, although dropping rapidly by the 1950s to approximately 3%, due partly to the improvement in hygiene and advancement in medical science.
The children’s Bush Cemetery is situated on a very quiet bush block, away from the now unused Perth Children’s Home. The gravesite is surrounded by a wooden fence with an elaborate entrance gate. The metal plaque lists twenty-four children aged from nine weeks to three years.
Fire swept through the bush land in the 1950s and the original wooden crosses marking the graves were destroyed, apart from one which had a stone memorial. Ceramic poppies have been set near the replaced white wooden crosses; an old tree stump has been utilised to show several alphabet blocks, carved and painted, and although a sacred place, a now rusting metal toy has been left, in an effort to remember the passing of these very precious children.