St Nicholas' Boys' Home in Glenroy was established by the Mission of St James and St John in 1926. It accommodated boys aged 5 to 14. It was closed in the mid 1950s, and boys were transferred to the St Paul's Home for Boys in Newhaven, on Phillip Island.
St Nicholas' Boys' Home in Glenroy was established by the Mission of St James and St John in 1926. It was near the site of St Agnes' Girls' Home, established the same year.
The two Homes in Glenroy were seen as important links in the 'chain of Mission Homes' envisaged by Archdeacon Lamble. Boys came to St Nicholas' from the age of six.
St Nicholas' was situated at an old homestead in Glenroy which had been vacant for the previous two years. Boys were temporarily housed at St Agnes' while the former family home was being altered.
The Manager of the Home, Mr Gawler, established a farm at St Nicholas' in 1927. A dairy established at the Boys' Home produced milk to supply all of the Mission's institutions, and employed the boys.
A recreation hall was built in 1940, due to the fundraising efforts of a St Nicholas' 'old boy'.
The boys attended school at the local Glenroy primary, along with many girls from St Agnes'.
At least six former residents of St Nicholas' lost their lives serving in World War Two.
Mr Gawler resigned from the farm in 1950 and was replaced by Mr E.L. Trayford, who had worked with Gawler previously. Trayford remained with the Mission until 1968, and he later looked back on his years at St Nicholas' and recalled how the Home, and St Agnes', were filled to overflowing during the Depression era. He remembered how the first Sunday of every month, visiting day, was eagerly anticipated by some of the boys 'fortunate' enough to have monthly visitors. On occasion, Trayford would load up his truck with boys for a trip to the beach at Brighton.
In 1946, the Mission reported that the St Agnes' and St Nicholas' Homes were to be rebuilt on the cottage system at an approximate cost of 50,000 pounds. These plans did not eventuate however.
In their history of the Mission, Monk and O'Donoghue write that St Nicholas's was condemned by the Health Department in the mid 1950s and subsequently closed.
However in January 1956, St Nicholas' Home for Boys was declared an approved children's home under the Children's Welfare Act 1954.
In 1955, the Mission reported that the Home had been demolished, and boys had been transferred to St Paul's Boys' Home in Newhaven. St Paul's had become available for the boys from St Nicholas', as its Training School for 'delinquent boys' had been closed down. It changed its name to St Paul's Home for Boys in 1956.
The sale and subdivision of the land at Glenroy made possible the purchase of land at Blackburn for the development of new cottages.
In 1997 the Mission of St James and St John became part of Anglicare Victoria. At this time, records of the Mission were transferred to Anglicare Victoria. These included records of the various orphanages, homes and other residences run by the Mission. The custodian of these records is Anglicare Victoria.
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; Monk, Joanne; O'Donoghue, Gina, Billylids and 'Home Kids': The Story of The Mission of St James and St John 1919-1994, The Mission of St. James and St. John, Surrey Hills, Victoria, 1994.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 17 February 2009, Last modified: 11 January 2019