Orana, the Peace Memorial Homes for Children, were established in 1953 in Burwood. Formerly, dormitory-style accommodation had been provided to children at the Methodist Homes for Children in Cheltenham.
The 1944 Annual Report for the Homes outlined a proposal to rebuild family style accommodation cottages on the Cheltenham site 'as soon as economic and social conditions permitted'.
At the Annual Methodist Conference in 1945 approval was given to a larger scheme involving the reconstruction of the whole of the buildings on a cottage plan.
The Chaplain General of the Army, Rev T C Rentoul, had plans for the new developments at Cheltenham to be built following the 'garden settlement' model. This model drew more heavily on the environmentalist theories of the Garden City movement than on child development theories. By the early post-war period, this model was giving way to having small homes in a suburban setting.
Committed to a new garden settlement and a peace memorial, Rentoul forged ahead with his plans and took an option on a twenty one acre orchard in Elgar Road. Burwood alongside Wattle Park. This became known as Orana, the Peace Memorial Homes for Children.
The move to Burwood was accompanied by a shift towards smaller, residential-style accommodation in units with 'cottage parents'.
Keith Mathieson (who had been superintendent at the Methodist Homes for Children, Cheltenham) was the Superintendent at Orana from 1953 to 1972.
In November 1955, the Methodist Peace Memorial Homes was declared an approved children's home under the Children's Welfare Act 1954.
On 20 February 1987, there was a ceremony at the Burwood site for the redeveloped 'Orana Homes'. It was stage one of the re-development of the Burwood site. Orana Homes consisted of a mixture of 35 detached houses, town houses and flats, designed for families and the elderly. The Orana administration complex was on the site. It was a base for Orana's non-residential programmes of support for children and families, as well as its well established residential programmes.
Despite this re-development, in 1988 the organisation began a relocation to Coolaroo, in Melbourne's north-west, where it became Orana Family Services.
Orana, the Peace Memorial Homes for Children was mentioned in the Lost Innocents Report (2001) as an institution involved in the migration of children to Australia.
19 February 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000020
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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