Deaconess Institution

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Deaconess Institution

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • 'Bethany' (1891-1919?) The Church of England Deaconess Institution Sydney Limited (1891-1995), Anglican Deaconess Institution Sydney Limited (1996-2011), Anglican Deaconess Ministries Limited (2011-)

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Description area

Dates of existence



Inaugurated in 1891 in St Marys, Balmain. The name 'Bethany' was used in the early years but the official title was approximately The Church of England Deaconess Institution Sydney Limited. Incorporated as Anglican Deaconess Institution Limited (ADSIL) in 1996, the Institution adopted a CEO and a more corporate and independent constitution in 2008, and was renamed Anglican Deaconess Ministries Limited in 2011


Based primarily in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Deaconess House's main hall location is in Carillon Avenue, Newtown. The Home of Peace hospitals are located in several campuses in central and northeastern Sydney. 'Hillsyde' is located in Camden (NSW). The Deaconess Institution Administration was based in 'Eversleigh' Hospital (Petersham) from 1988 until at least 1997.

Legal status

?(1891-1996). Public company limited by guarantee (1996-)

Functions, occupations and activities

A residential hall and training institution for female ministry trainees. 'Bethany', the original residence, was opened in 1891 in the parish of St Mary, Balmain - partly funded by rector Rev Mervyn Archdoll and Mrs Archdoll. An unknown period of time was spent at rented premises in Queen St (Newtown), with the permanent site in Carillon Avenue being purchased in 1913. The building on this site was dedicated in 1916. Neighboring properties were purchased in 1954 to make room for a dramatic increase in enrollments, with major expansions occurring in 1961 and 1966 (when the Mary Andrews wing was opened). Braeside Hospital (see below) was re-purposed as a secondary Stanmore campus in 1994.Renamed Mary Andrews College in 1997. In 2009, Mary Andrews College was moved to St Andrew's House, Sydney.Trainee numbers at the time 'Bethany' opened are unknown. There were around 16 residents in 1947, 32 in 1954, and 58 in 1961, with numbers stable around 60 students throughout the 1960s. In addition to communal Christian living and trainee placements at Anglican parishes, residents were involved in mission outreach events, in-house seminars, and training courses (at different points in the institution's history) through Sydney Teacher's College,The Australian College of Theology, and Moore Theological College.Graduates of Deaconess House were often 'set apart' as Deaconesses ('ordained' after the Order was given formal recognition in 1969), and where possible took on staff positions doing women's ministry in Anglican parishes. Others became missionaries, clergy wives or administrators. In 1989 it became possible to ordain women as Deacons in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, and a number of Deaconess House graduates were ordained immediately.

Mandates/sources of authority

The Sydney Diocesan Synod passed a resolution in favour of Deaconess ministries in 1885.

Internal structures/genealogy

The Deaconess Institution was run by a governing council, the president of which was the Archbishop of Sydney. From at least the mid 1940s the Council consisted of a Chairman, Trustees, Honourary Treasurer and Secretary, and sometimes a Chaplain in addition to regular Council Members. The Principals of Deaconess House (previously the Director) and the Girls' Home as well as a representative of the various Hospitals were normally council members - sometimes recognised separately from other councillors, sometimes not. The Head Deaconess also had a spot on the council whenever the Head Deaconess was not the same person as the Principal of Deaconess House. Additionally, the major ministries under the Deaconess Institution had their own administrative councils and committees of varying sizes - for example, the 1947 Deaconess House Council had 25 members, as did the Homes of Peace Committee, whereas the Pallister Girls' Home and Braeside Hospital Committees had 10 each. The Institution employed an Administrative Officer from at least 1988.

General context

The Sydney Diocesan Synod passed a resolution in favour of Deaconess ministries in 1885. The Deaconess Institution was nominally independent of the Diocese of Sydney, and in practice at least somewhat independent - though the Archbishop of Sydney was President of the Institution until at least 1996 (possibly until 2008). The management of Deaconess House, in particular, retained levels of independence according to the temperament of its Principals; complicated by the close connections to and partial dependence on Moore Theological College for theological training, and by the overlap between the roles of Principal and Head Deaconess (frequently, though not always, vested in the same person).

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