The Blackburn South Cottages was established by the Mission of St James and St John in 1963. There were about 16 children in each cottage, but by the 1980s there were about 6 children with 'cottage parents'. By this time Blackburn Cottages mostly housed older children with challenging behaviours. The campus at Blackburn became known as Blackburn Family Services in the 1980s, and closed in 1988.
The Blackburn South Cottages in Highfield Avenue was established by the Mission of St James and St John, opening on 6 October 1963. The Cottages provided modern accommodation for: 'boys and girls from broken homes and those marred by family crisis or tragedy'.
Cottages were initially run according to a congregate care model with matrons overseeing each cottage, and meals for all children being prepared in a central kitchen.
Later came the introduction of 'cottage parents' in each cottage. The number of children in each cottage was 16, until this was reduced to 6 in the 1980s.
By the 1980s, the Blackburn Cottages mainly catered for older children with challenging behaviours. The campus at Blackburn became known as Blackburn Family Services in the 1980s, and closed in 1988.
The Blackburn South Cottages in Highfield Avenue comprised a number of family group homes, run by the Mission of St James and St John. Opening in 1963, the Cottages provided 'modern accommodation for boys and girls from broken homes and those marred by family crisis or tragedy'. The Cottages were designed and built in line with the then-current ideas about child welfare, to replace the congregate care facilities run by the Mission, like St Agnes' and St Nicholas' in Glenroy.
The cottages comprised the Ainsley Yeates Family Group Cottage, the G.E. Lamble Cottage for Girls and J.L.Watt Cottage for Girls. The Lamble and Watt cottages accommodated 16 girls and 2 carers, while the Yeates cottage was built for 8 boys and girls as a family group.
The Cottages also included the dining, recreation and administration block and a caretaker's cottage. In 1966, two flats were built for additional staff members.
For the first time in 1969, a married couple was appointed to work in the Lamble Cottage.
In the 1980s, the number of children living in the cottages was reduced, to better reflect 'normal' family living. Around this time, a new name was adopted, Blackburn Family Care.
However, the model of care provided at Blackburn did not keep up with current thinking in child and family welfare.
The agency, by that time known as Blackburn Family Services, closed in 1988.
The Blackburn South Cottages was mentioned in the Bringing Them Home Report (1997) as an institution that housed Indigenous children removed from their families.
Sources used to compile this entry: Cole, Dr Keith, Commissioned To Care: The Golden Jubilee History of The Mission of St. James and St. John 1919-1969, first edn, The Ruskin Press Pty Ltd, North Melbourne, Australia, 1969.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 17 February 2009, Last modified: 24 October 2018