The Menzies Home for Children was the new name given in October 1961 to the former The Menzies Home for Boys. From this time Menzies allowed girls to be admitted and increasingly housed children in family group homes in the Frankston and Dandenong areas. The organisation became Menzies Inc. in 2000.
The Menzies Home for Children was established in October 1961. The name change meant the Home started to accept girls so that siblings could stay together. Around this time, The Menzies' model of care shifted away from institutionalised care towards family group homes in the Frankston and Dandenong areas.
At the end of 1961 the State School No. 4136 that had operated at the Home since the 1920's was shut and all students were enrolled in the local Davey Street State School. This was done to encourage the boys social skills by ensuring they had interaction with both sexes and other members of the community.
In May 1963 the first family group home was opened in Neil Street, Frankston. It housed eight siblings, seven boys and one girl, with houseparents, Mr and Mrs Corney. Following its success another home was purchased in Clarendon Street, Frankston with seven siblings living under the care of Mr and Mrs Cox. A further family group home for seven boys was run by Mr and Mrs Sinclair at Heatherton Rd, Dandenong and Mr and Mrs Hunt were the houseparents for a home on Namur St, Noble Park, which also housed seven boys. During this time a holiday hosts scheme was established for boys still living in the Home. This meant that families in the community housed the boys in school holidays and took them on outings as a way to integrate them into a family lifestyle.
Over the two years from 1963 to 1965 all the boys who lived at the "Home on the Hill" were rehoused in family group homes and the Home was shut in early 1965. The original building for the Menzies Home on Oliver's Hill was demolished and the land subdivided and auctioned off in 1965.
In 1966 the decision was made to close the William(s) Street Hostel and to focus purely on the family group homes. Seaford Home was established in February 1965, Cornell Court, Karingal in February 1966. William Street, Frankston was a conversion of the old hostel, opened in May 1968, Ince Court, Frankston in April 1969 and Frankston home in October 1969.
In 1970 Mount Eliza Cottage was established for children with physical handicaps. Dame Elizabeth Murdoch opened the cottage in May 1970.
By 1970 ten family group homes had been established and all children cared for by The Menzies Home for Children lived in one of these homes. The children often had contact with their parents and relatives and if they did not have any they were encouraged to accept holiday hosts. The average length of time a child spent in care with The Menzies Home for Children was 3 -4 years.
In 1981 a replica of the gateway that had been at the Home on Olivers Hill was erected at the head offices, now stating The Menzies Home for Children as the name.
By 1983 all the handicapped children from Mount Eliza Cottage had been discharged. In November 1983 the Neil Street property was closed and all the children who had been located there were moved into the Mount Eliza Cottage as a family group home. In the year 1983/84 residential care was provided for 61 children, with the ages varying from five to seventeen.
Minton Emergency Unit was established to assist the State in housing children in need at short notice. Hillview House was opened in 1989 to provide more emergency accommodation as Minton was at capacity. Menzies soon discovered that most of the 'emergency' cases ended up with children staying long term and therefore an emergency case was taken into any family group home that had a vacancy and not just an emergency unit.
In 1994 the organisation opened Seaford Flats, these were a supervised group of one bedroom flats for homeless fifteen to seventeen (and later up to nineteen) year olds. The supervisor was there to provide counselling and support the young people in gaining independent living skills.
The organisation became known as Menzies Inc. in 2000.
1865 - 1895 Latrobe St Ragged School and Mission
1895 - 1924 Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission
1901 - 1924 Seaside Home, Frankston
1924 - 1943 Minton Boys Home
1943 - 1961 The Menzies Home for Boys
1961 - 2000 The Menzies Home for Children
2000 - Menzies Inc.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Menzies History', in Menzies Inc. Website, Menzies Inc., 2009, http://web.archive.org/web/20150228110814/http://menzies.org.au/display.php?p=aboutus&s=menzieshistory; Davies, Shirley, 'One Thousand White Onions': a history of caring for children since 1865, Menzies Inc., Frankston, 2005; 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 and Nicola Laurent
Created: 12 June 2009, Last modified: 26 April 2016