Under Sister Agatha, who ran St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage from 1957, the Orphanage's holiday home at Black Rock (which had been built in 1939) was converted into a type of family group home called 'Coolock', where a small group of children lived with two lay women. Sister Agatha wrote of the success of this experiment:
'The difference in the children after even a few months is something that must be seen to be believed. The individual development of the child is the thing that is most prominent and the ability to cope with problems that cannot be faced under our present system.'
Sister Agatha oversaw the purchase of several more properties in the south-eastern suburbs, and the gradual transfer of children from the orphanage into these family group homes.
In 1966, the Children's Home relocated from South Melbourne to Black Rock. By the end of 1966, the buildings at the former Girls' Orphanage in South Melbourne had been emptied of children and Sisters, with the residents now living in family group homes scattered throughout the south-eastern suburbs.
The new administration centre of St Vincent de Paul's Children's Home was based at Black Rock. By the late 1960s St Vincent de Paul Children's Home had transferred its centre of operations to 'Coolock'.
MacKillop Family Services holds more than 115,000 individual records relating to children and mothers who were in institutions run by the Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of St Joseph. The collection dates from 1857 onwards, and includes client admission registers, admission cards and paper files, photographs, annual reports, newspaper cuttings, policy documents and various items of memorabilia.
Contact: Jenny Glare, Manager, Heritage and Information Services.
Phone: (03) 9699 9177
237 Cecil Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Fax: (03) 9696 6496
03 July 2014
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000382
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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