Allambie, a government-run reception centre for Victorian children, opened in Burwood in 1961, on the former site of Kildonan Children's Home.
Allambie became the Department's main 'reception, treatment, classification and transit centre'. It was established to alleviate overcrowding at Turana, Royal Park.
Children who were State Wards also came to Allambie following a breakdown in home release, foster care or a children's home placement.
When it opened, Allambie could accommodate up to 90 children in four separate sections. Until the nursery opened at Allambie in 1964, it did not receive babies and toddlers (who were accommodated in the old nursery at Turana).
The Education Department operated a school in the grounds of Allambie although some children attended schools in the community.
A child's placement was decided upon by the Placement Committee, which met once a week. In 1962, the Committee comprised representatives of the Department (including the Director of Family Welfare) and Allambie staff (including the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, and Medical Officer).
In the 1970s, Allambie consisted of three large sections: Waratah, Kurrajong and Mimosa. These accommodated groups of mixed age and sex which enabled sibling groups to be placed together. The Nursery section accommodated babies. 'Tecoma' accommodated up to 10 school-age boys and 'Heath/Cassia' accommodated 22 adolescent girls.
By the mid 1970s the number of children placed at Allambie reached an all-time high. In 1972, Allambie had a capacity of 228 children, but this was often exceeded. On several occasions, over 300 children were in residence.
Overcrowding decreased as alternative reception and care programs were implemented by the Department. During the 1970s, changes in the structure of state-run facilities, including regionalisation of services, reduced the need for large-scale centralised reception centre like Allambie.
By the early 1980s, Allambie accommodated about 100 children. A review in 1985 recommended the closure of Allambie, and the redirection of funding to regional reception centres. The nursery at Allambie closed in 1986. Allambie Reception Centre closed in June 1990.
In this oral history interview held by the National Library of Australia, John Padfield reflects on his work in the child protection system in Victoria. He discusses his time working at Allambie and Winlaton, attitudes towards children in care and their families, and the impact of permanent care on children.
The Victorian Government records relating to wardship and adoption date from 1864 to the present. These records were created by the state government departments that were responsible for child welfare in Victoria. Some of these records are held at the Department of Human Services (DHS), and some are held at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Generally, records less than 99 years old are not open to the general public because of the personal and private information they contain. If the records are about you, or members of your family, you have a right to access these records.
Contact the Department of Human Services, State Government of Victoria - The Duty Worker, Family Information Networks and Discovery;
Phone: (03) 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926 (for the cost of a local call)
20/570 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Fax: (03) 8608 5760
'Ron Thorpe interviewed by Helen Belle Curzon-Siggers in the Bringing them home oral history project' is a sound recording held at the National Library of Australia. It is a recording of an interview with Ron Thorpe in 1999. In the interview Ron Thorpe discusses his childhood and time in care at Allambie Children's Home, Melbourne, St. Joseph's Catholic Home in Bacchus Marsh [editor's note: also known as Providence Children's Home] and Turana Home.
Contact the Librarian, Information Services:
Phone: (02) 6262 1266
Information Services, National Library of Australia, Canberra ACT 2600
Fax: (02) 6273 5081
19 February 2014
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000152
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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