St Vincent de Paul Children's Home was established in 1962 and run by the Sisters of Mercy. It was formerly the St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage. In 1966, the Home relocated from South Melbourne to Black Rock where children were housed in family group homes. In 1992, its name changed again to St Vincent de Paul Child and Family Services.
In 1997, records of the Sisters of Mercy were transferred to MacKillop Family Services. These included records of the various orphanages, homes and other residences run by the Sisters of Mercy. While custodianship of the records about people in 'care' became the responsibility of MacKillop Family Services at this point, it was formally agreed that the intellectual property in these records would not change hands.
Under Sister Agatha, who ran St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage from 1957, the Orphanage's holiday home at Black Rock (which had been built in 1939) was converted into a type of family group home called 'Coolock', where a small group of children lived with two lay women. Sister Agatha wrote of the success of this experiment:
The difference in the children after even a few months is something that must be seen to be believed. The individual development of the child is the thing that is most prominent and the ability to cope with problems that cannot be faced under our present system.
Sister Agatha oversaw the purchase of several more properties in the south-eastern suburbs, and the gradual transfer of children from the orphanage into these family group homes.
In 1966, the Children's Home relocated from South Melbourne to Black Rock. By the end of 1966, the buildings at the former Girls' Orphanage in South Melbourne had been emptied of children and Sisters, with the residents now living in family group homes scattered throughout the south-eastern suburbs.
The new administration centre of St Vincent de Paul's Children's Home was based at Black Rock. By the late 1960s St Vincent de Paul Children's Home had transferred its centre of operations to 'Coolock'.
According to the Social Welfare Department annual report in 1971, St Vincent de Paul Children's Home ran 2 youth hostels in the 1970s, for young people establishing independent living skills or young people on probation. They were referred to as 'St Vincent de Paul No 1', or 'Coolock' (519 Balcombe Road, Black Road) and 'St Vincent de Paul No 2' (19 Glyndon Avenue, Brighton).
1861 - 1962 St Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage
1962 - 1992 St Vincent de Paul Children's Home
1992 - 1997 St Vincent de Paul Child and Family Services
1997 - MacKillop Family Services
Sources used to compile this entry: Barnard, Jill; Twigg, Karen, Holding on to Hope: a history of the founding agencies of MacKillop Family Services 1854-1997, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2004.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 12 August 2009, Last modified: 11 January 2019