Elsie Locke

One women who used the Home of Compassion Crèche was Elsie Locke, a political activist and peace campaigner who founded the New Zealand Family Planning Association. 

After separating from her husband in 1937, Locke rented out her living room and took in washing to earn the money she needed to look after her newborn son. When she later worked as a waitress at the DIC department store on Lambton Quay, she left her son at the Citizens’ Day Nursery in Kent Terrace. When on one occasion Locke went inside to pick up her son, she was 'shocked by the “dark dinginess” inside, with just a few blocks and boxes for the infants to play with, and a gravel yard out the back with one tyre swing'. Feeling that this was not the right environment for her son, Locke turned to the Home of Compassion Crèche and was surprised with what she found: 'The entrance hall was bright and airy, and I was shown the playroom with its educational toys and the nursery with its cots for sleeping time.'[1]


[1] Maureen Birchfield, Looking for answers: a life of Elsie Locke, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, 2009, p. 146.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Elsie Locke

What do you know?