MercyCare / Who We Are / Our History

Our History

History of MercyCare

The foundations of MercyCare were laid down by Catherine McAuley, who began her work in Ireland during the early 1800s to fight injustices and bring compassion and care to the vulnerable.

Catherine’s passion saw the formation of the Catholic Sisters of Mercy who, led by Sister Ursula Frayne, arrived in Fremantle in 1846 and journeyed up the Swan River to Perth.

The Sisters of Mercy had the vision of creating a better, more equal, caring and compassionate outlook for all Western Australians, no matter who they were.

For the next century and a half, the Sisters of Mercy delivered education, welfare and health services in Perth and beyond without judgement, caring for all.

The pioneering Sisters of Mercy and those that carried on their legacy, have created a lasting impact on the Western Australian community.

At MercyCare, we hold this story with great pride. It is a legacy we draw inspiration on as we respond to the current needs of the Western Australian community.

Contemporary MercyCare

In 2002, MercyCare as we know it today was formed. On March 19 of that year the Sisters of Mercy transferred MercyCare to lay ownership to become a public company limited by guarantee.

As a not-for-profit organisation, MercyCare has expanded its reach and service breadth to support more Western Australians, focussing on those that need us most and ensuring our services are there to support people throughout life’s journey.

Since 2002, our service delivery has changed, expanded and been redefined.

In 2014 ownership of Mercy Hospital Mount Lawley was transferred to St John of God Health Care to allow MercyCare to focus on its important community services.

In 2016 MercyCare acquired four new Residential Aged Care Homes, bringing the skills, experience, quality and compassion it had established over many years to residents in Joondalup, Kelmscott, Maddington and Rockingham.

In 2017 MercyCare became an NDIS-approved supplier of Disability Services, ensuring quality, person-centred support to Western Australians living with a disability.

During the 2019 financial year, MercyCare’s Early Learning Centres more than doubled, with acquisitions and purpose-built centres. Today, we have 14 centres across Perth providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment that focusses on children and their family’s individual needs, where diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and the culture of Australia’s First Peoples is championed.

To ensure we reach some of the most vulnerable Western Australians, we formed partnerships with local organisations to establish culturally-safe Aboriginal Short Term Accommodation in Derby in 2014, then in Broome in 2018. In recent years we have also expanded our multicultural services in Perth to support our newest community members settle successfully in Australia.

Today our focus is on:

Wherever we work, we always ensure it is at the heart of the community.