The St John of God Training Centre was established by the St John of God Brothers in 1953. It housed around 100 Catholic boys aged 7 to 16 with mild intellectual disabilities, including State wards unable to live with their parents.
The St John of God Training Centre occupied the former site of the Methodist Homes for Children in Cheltenham and was approximately 20 acres. Subsidised by the Mental Hygiene Authority, the Brother's aimed to establish a home, special school and training centre.
An article published by the support group Broken Rites makes the point that
Many SJOG inmates, especially wards of state, had behavioural or learning difficulties and were not necessarily born with an intellectual disability, although they certainly became educationally disadvantaged through their incarceration at St John of God.
A commemorative plaque on the site in Cheltenham reads:
Southland commemorates the service to children given on this site by Methodist Homes for Children 1892-1953 and the St. John of God Training Centre 1953-1967.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Catholic religious Brothers abused the disabled', Broken Rites, https://web.archive.org/web/20080716213632/http://brokenrites.alphalink.com.au/nletter/page119-st-john-of-god.html; James Jenkinson Consulting, Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf; Marshall, Rev. Norman, 'Methodist Children’s Homes at Cheltenham: A Time for Change', in Kingston Historical Website, City of Kingston, 1998-2006, http://localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au/htm/article/280.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 21 April 2009, Last modified: 13 May 2013