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Victoria - Organisation

Melbourne Orphanage (1926 - 1965)

  • Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton, Vic.

    Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton, Vic., c. 1920 - c. 1930
    Details

From
1926
To
1965
Categories
Care Provider, Children's Home, Family Group Home, Home, Non-denominational and Orphanage
Alternative Names
  • Windemere

The Melbourne Orphanage was established in 1926. It was formerly the Melbourne Orphan Asylum. It was located in Brighton where it accommodated boys and girls aged between 3 and 16. By the 1950s, some children were housed in group homes in Glen Waverley. In 1965, it became the Melbourne Family Care Organisation.

Details

The Melbourne Orphanage came into being in 1926. Formerly, the institution had been known as the Melbourne Orphan Asylum. It was situated at 'Windemere', in Butler Street, Brighton.

After World War Two, the Orphanage began to admit children from broken homes in addition to orphans. In 1954 a social worker was appointed - the first in a charitable children's home in Victoria.

In January 1956, the Melbourne Orphanage was declared an approved children's home under the Children's Welfare Act 1954.

The school on the site of the Melbourne Orphanage was the Brighton Beach State School (no 2048) and it educated children from the Orphanage and from the local community. The school's centenary history, published in 1978, referred to its "special character imparted by the presence of orphans. Friendships were formed, but the camaderie of the children at Windemere distinguished them."

A student at Brighton Beach in the late 1950s remembered his friendship with children from Melbourne Orphanage, who were allowed to come home with him to play as long as he had a note from his parents. Kids at the school played together in the orphanage gardens and in the "big drain".

He also recalled how, on Fridays, the Orphanage cooked fish and chips for their children, who happily swapped their meals for the "outsider" children's cut lunches.

Brighton Beach State School had access to the Orphanage's facilities. A student from the 1950s remembered his "Handwork" classes at the Orphanage:

We had to assemble before a gate that connected with the Melbourne Orphanage and then proceed to a big work-room. Handwork was a very relaxing and worthwhile subject (we made things like toothbrush holders, marionettes and masks) … Brighton Beach was somewhat special because it taught Handwork - few other schools had access to the facilities that the Orphanage offered.

In 1956, in view of overseas trends, a commitment was made to move out of the Orphanage in Brighton into family group homes. These were located in the Glen Waverly vicinity, with an administrative and counselling facility in Ferntree Gully Road.

The phasing in of Family Group homes began in 1959 and was completed in 1963 with 14 family group homes established. The Melbourne Orphanage building in Brighton was demolished.

A name change in 1965 to the Melbourne Family Care Organisation reflected this new direction.

Location

1926 - 1965
Location - The Melbourne Orphanage was located on Butler Street, Brighton. Location: Brighton

Timeline

 c. 1845 - 1853 St James' Orphan Asylum and Visiting Society
       1853 - 1926 Melbourne Orphan Asylum
             1926 - 1965 Melbourne Orphanage
                   1965 - 1987 Melbourne Family Care Organisation
                         1987 - 1993 Family Action
                               c. 1987 - Windermere Child and Family Services
                               1993 - OzChild

Publications

Books

  • Brighton Beach Primary School no 2048: Centenary 1878-1978, 1978. pp.13-14. Details
  • Butler, J.C., The first hundred years: being a brief history of the Melbourne Orphanage from 1851-1951, The Melbourne Orphanage, 1951. Details
  • Smith, H.L., Out of darkness into light: a journey to find home: a compelling true story:, Echuca, 2003. Details
  • Wills, Maurice, The envelope, Beaufort Publishing, 1990. Details
  • Yates, Thomas E., Growing up in Melbourne Orphanage 1939?1948, Thomas Yates, Frankston South, 2016. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • 'An Act Denies Young Kerrie Her Own Home', The Herald, 29 September 1953, p. 3. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Little girls at Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Title
Little girls at Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Type
Image

Details

Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Title
Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Type
Image
Source
OzChild

Details

Children, Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Title
Children, Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Type
Image
Date
c. 1920 - c. 1950

Details

Little girls at Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Title
Little girls at Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Type
Image
Date
c. 1920 - c. 1950

Details

Girls in cookery class, Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Title
Girls in cookery class, Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Type
Image
Date
c. 1920 - c. 1930

Details

Little girls at Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Title
Little girls at Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton
Type
Image
Date
c. 1920 - c. 1950

Details

Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton, Vic.
Title
Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton, Vic.
Type
Image
Date
c. 1920 - c. 1930

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Brighton Beach Primary School no 2048: Centenary 1878-1978, 1978. pp.13-14.; Victoria Government Gazette Online Archive 1836-1997, State Library of Victoria, 2009, http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/; 'Submission number 130 and attachment', in Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices: submissions received by the Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2010-13/commcontribformerforcedadoption/submissions; 'Submission number 262', in Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices: submissions received by the Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2010-13/commcontribformerforcedadoption/submissions.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill