The Melbourne City Mission Toddlers' Home was situated on the same site as the Melbourne Mission's Maternity Home, which had accommodated babies with their mothers since 1900. The Home accommodated children up to the age of five. In 1955, the Mission amalgamated the Toddlers' Home and the Maternity Home. The new Home was renamed Hartnett House in 1958.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact establishment date of the Toddlers' Home, as the Maternity Home (on the same site in Albion Street, Brunswick) had accommodated mothers and babies since 1900.
In 1935, the Mission added a nursery to the existing buildings of the Maternity Home in Albion Street. A dedicated 'Toddlers' Home' was erected in 1947, and another new nursery was built in 1950.
In 1942 the Children's Welfare Department noted that the Home had 22 infants and some mothers in the home, but only one State ward. At the next Departmental inspection (1949) the Home's staff were described as 'a floating population of training missionaries, kindergarten teachers and unmarried mothers who help with the work', (although there was always a mothercraft nurse on the staff). In 1949 there were eight State wards and 34 Infant Life Protection Infants in residence. By 1950 the Home staff consisted primarily of mission sisters, most of whom were mothercraft nurses, still assisted by the mothers of the children.
The Mission amalgamated the Maternity and Toddlers' Homes in Albion Street into one unit in 1955. This Home was renamed Hartnett House in 1958.
c. 1935 - c. 1955 Melbourne City Mission Toddlers' Home
c. 1955 - c. 1982 Hartnett House
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Hartnett House, 117-123 Albion St, Brunswick, VIC, Australia', in Australian Heritage Database, Place ID 18519, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2000, http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl; 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Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 5 May 2009, Last modified: 29 October 2018