This is the site of the Convent of Mercy. Prior to the building of the front arched masonry screen which conceals the front elevation of both buildings, the two, double storey houses were visible.
Early Fitzroy Houses
(Extracted from the May 2023 Fitzroy History Society Newsletter, written by Davydd Shaw which originally appeared in the C J La Trobe Society Journal, La Trobeana in March 2019. The article below mentions Edward Byam Wight, John Watson, Henry Dendy, Catherine Phillpott, Peter McCracken, Charles La Trobe, Bank of Tasmania, Bank of Victoria, Victorian Insurance Company, Melbourne Savings Bank, York Brewery, Melbourne to Essendon Railway, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Essendon Football Club)
“The parent institution was established at Perth, in Western Australia, in the year 1846. Eleven years later, the principal of the little band, Mother Mary Ursula Frayne, originally of Dublin, accompanied by two members of the sisterhood, journeyed to Melbourne, on the invitation of Bishop Goold and occupied a small house which had been purchased by that prelate in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, and soon afterwards the first school was opened, with nine female pupils. In 1860 a House of Mercy for the reception and protection of respectable young women preparing for domestic service was established in connection with the convent. Gradually an infant school and a school for the children of the working class were added. Then a handsome memorial church was erected, at a cost of 7,000 pounds, to perpetuate the memory of the late Superior and Foundress of the Order in Australia; and the pile of buildings which now form the convent and its appendages offer a striking contrast, by their extent and massiveness, to the humble edifice which first sheltered the three Sisters on landing in Melbourne.” (The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903-1905, Vol 2, p.48)