St John's Homes for Boys was officially opened on 22 November 1924 by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Harrington Lees.
The Home was situated in Canterbury, on a property donated to the Church of England by the Hindson family. In 1923, Alice Hindson donated her mansion at 16 Balwyn Road, Canterbury ('Shrublands') to the Church, with the condition that the building bear the name of St John the Evangelist.
Timber buildings from St Martin's Home for Boys in Auburn was transferred to the Canterbury site, and were later known as the Kimpton Buildings. The two homes were sometimes referred to as the 'Church of England Homes for Boys'. Older boys were housed at St Martin's, and younger boys at St John's. The combined homes were opened officially in 1926 by the Governor, Lord Somers.
Founder of St John's Home for Boys, the Rev. Eric Thornton served as its Director from 1921 to 1936. Canon Lamble, a key figure in the establishment of many Church of England institutions, was also the rector of St John's Home for Boys and St Martin's Home for Boys.
The Rev. Neale Molloy was the Director at St John's Home for Boys from 1940 to 1976. (Molloy was also a member of the Family Welfare Advisory Council, Chairman of the Church of England Boys' Society for 21 years. When Molloy retired as the Chairman of the Children's Welfare Association of Victoria in 1976, he was described as a 'practical visionary'.)
Boys from St John's (and St Martin's) attended the local Balwyn Primary School.
A new wing to the Shrublands mansion opened in 1934.
In 1944, St John's opened a hostel for boys, called St Martin's House. It was first situated in Auburn and moved onto the campus at Canterbury in 1953.
From 1949 and into the 1950s, St John's Home was one of the institutions in Victoria to receive child migrants from Britain.
In 1951, a pilot 'cottage' home opened in Sandringham. Designed to house 20 boys, it was known as 'St John's by the Sea'.
In the mid 1950s, the cottage style of care was extended to Canterbury, with four cottages on the site opening on the site.
St John's launched an appeal in 1953 to raise £15,000 'to enable an L-shaped building in cream brick to be built in four cottage units under the same roof. The new building will accommodate 44 boys, and enable each to receive more individual and homely care. Each cottage unit will be under the guidance of a married couple' (The Age22 May 1953, p.9)
In January 1956, St John's Homes for Boys was declared an approved children's home under the Children's Welfare Act 1954.
By the mid 1950s, St John's Home was moving away from institutional care and towards the 'cottage system', allowing boys and girls to be accommodated there (and siblings to be kept together). The Home changed its name in 1958 accordingly.
10 August 2021
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000107
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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