• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE4274

Deaconess Training Institute


The Presbyterian Deaconess Training Institute was opened in Powlett Street, East Melbourne 1898, in large measure because of the committed work of The Rev William Rolland. Of the five initial students in residence, three went on to complete the two year course of training. By the end of the first year, the institute moved to a larger house in George Street, Fitzroy to accommodate the growing number of enrolments. Although the location, in the centre of the city mission district and close to the medical mission, was perfect for training purposes, its location here was not permanent. Two more moves to South Melbourne and Albert Park took place before the institute found permanent residence in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, in 1915.

In 1936 the institute was officially renamed ‘Rolland House, Deaconess and Missionary Training College’, in honour of the founder. It formed both a residential college for Deacon students and missionary workers and also a home for the Deaconess Association of the Presbyterian Church.

Following a re-organisation of studies in 1947 the training of Deaconess students became more and more closely integrated with that of other Presbyterian theological students and at the time of Church Union (into the Uniting Church) virtually all such training took place at Ormond College.

When the responsibility for training deaconesses was transferred to the Board of Theological Education, the roll of Rolland House needed to be redefined. Its facilities continued to be used as a hostel for women tertiary students. After Church Union, the house remained with the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. A few years later it was sold into private hands.

Published resources

  • Book
    • Not to be ministered unto: The story of Presbyterian deaconesses trained in Melbourne, Ritchie, Catherine I., 1998
  • Resource
    • Trove

Related entries

  • Related Concepts
    • Deaconess Orders