• Organisation

Kew Children's Cottages


Kew Children’s Cottages date back to 1887. They were located adjacent to the Kew Asylum and were also known as the ‘idiot ward’. They provided accommodation and education to children with intellectual disabilities. They were closed in 2008.

Kew Children’s Cottages became known by that name from around 1929, although the Kew Asylum had housed children throughout its history.

At around 1929 , the Department of Education established the Kew Cottages Special School (State School 4431). It was the first school in Victoria for children with intellectual disabilities. The school remained in operation until the end of 1991.

In 1937, over 200 residents of the Cottages were transferred to the institution at Janefield.

The Victorian branch of the Save the Children Fund organised annual Christmas parties for children at Kew Cottages in the 1940s and 1950s. During this period, Save the Children records indicate that at least 400 children lived at Kew Cottages. The Brighton sub-branch of Save the Children also oragnised an event in 1950, hosting refreshments from 110 children from Kew, and taking them on an outing to Brighton Beach (“Save the Children (Vic. Branch), Leeper Family Papers, University of Melbourne Archives).

In 1957 the administration of Kew Cottages was separated from that of the Kew Mental Hospital.

In 1962 the Cottages were proclaimed a ‘training centre’ under the provisions of the 1959 Mental Health Act (No.6605).

In 1996, nine residents died in a fire at the institution.

In 2001, the Victorian government announced its intentions to close Kew Cottages. It finally closed in 2008.

  • From


  • To


  • Alternative Names

    Kew Asylum

    Kew Cottages

    Idiot Ward

    Kew Residential Services


  • 1887 - 2008

    Kew Children's Cottages was located in Princess Street, Kew, Victoria (Building Partially demolished)


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