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90 years in the making: Jean & Marion's story

Left at The Infants’ Home as babies, the West twins never knew their mother’s love. They now have grandchildren and great grandchildren of their own – and many fond memories of their early years.


Two former residents of The Infants' Home are twins Jean and Marion West.

The girls were placed at Ashfield by their father Lionel, on doctor's advice, following their mother’s death from septicaemia in 1923 only a month after they were born.

Twins Jean and Marion at The Infants' Home in 1926, aged 3. 

Early years

The twins lived at The Infants' Home and received the ongoing health services, education and care their father knew he could not provide as a single parent in need of work.

During this time their father, a new migrant from Britain with no family in Australia, visited his children regularly while he worked to establish a home for his girls.

At six the twins were able to return to live with their newly married father, after many happy and loving years at Ashfield.

Forever grateful

While the girls were staying at The Infants' Home, their father made all the tables, chairs and rockers for the children. He never forgot how caring was The Infants' Home towards all the children in its care, especially his two little darlings.

The Wests went on to lead a contented family life together in Sydney.

The years following

Jean married George Saxon in October 1950. They had 2 children, Grahame and Judith. Jean's husband died in June 1995. She has 6 grandchildren aged between 25 and 36, and 4 great grandchildren aged between 2 and 7.

Marion married Herbert Young in February 1952 and he died in September 1975. They had 2 children, Mark and Gail. Marion also has 2 grandchildren.

Jean and Marion have fond memories of their time at Ashfield, especially the uniforms.

"We were always kept spotless in lovely pinnies," says Jean.

The twins at The Infants Home in 2008.

Regular visits today

Jean and Marion celebrated their 88th birthday in 2011 and were guests of honour on board HMAS Sydney at the launch of our fundraising campaign for The Infants' Home new Early Education and Care Centre.

The twins are very proud to be associated with The Infants' Home and they continue their regular visits.

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