Berry Street Babies' Home and Hospital was the new name given in 1964 to the institution in East Melbourne. Previously, it was known as the Foundling Hospital and Infants' Home.
Berry Street was approved as a private adoption agency, under the Adoption of Children Act 1964, in February 1966. Adoption had long been an important function at Berry Street and its predecessor institutions, dating back to the 1870s.
In 1975, Berry Street's Adoption Agency closed.
Berry Street was a maternity home, foundling hospital, and adoption agency. It was also a major training centre for Mothercraft Nurses until 1975.
The final graduation of mothercraft nurses took place on 19 March 1975. Many past mothercraft trainees from Berry Street joined the Past Nurses Association and continued to take an interest in the institution.
The Toddlers' Wing, built in the post-war period was renamed the Appleton Wing in 1969, to honour Miss E.M. Appleton, a long-serving Committee member. The Appleton Wing provided accommodation for 16 toddlers.
In 1968, Berry Street opened a small pre-school. The pre-school endeavoured to give children from Berry Street experiences of 'normal life'. The children, many of whom had never seen the daily routine of household tasks like meal preparation, were able to 'play houses' at pre-school with miniature equipment.
By the 1970s, Australian society was changing and unmarried mothers were beginning to receive social security support. There was consequently less need for young women to seek the refuge of Berry Street. There were fewer children available for adoption.
In another reflection of changing times, in 1972 Berry Street employed its first qualified social worker. Berry Street was also considering opening a day care centre in the Appleton Wing.
The Home temporarily closed on 28 February 1975. The relocation of children from Berry Street made possible the temporary accommodation of Vietnamese war orphans, who arrived in Melbourne in April 1975.
The program at Berry Street was redefined in 1975, towards child care, family counselling and residential care in family group homes.
In 1975, the name of the agency changed to Berry Street - Child and Family Care.
Berry Street Victoria is the custodian of records from the Berry Street Babies' Home and Hospital.
23 November 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000037
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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