The first branch of the Church of England Boys' Society (CEBS) in Australia was established in around 1914 in Kew, Victoria. It was initially under the guidance of the Church of England Men's Society. In 2009, the organisation still exists, and its website describes CEBS as 'sort of like scouts'. CEBS played a role in a number of institutions in Victoria, sometimes delivering services in conjunction with St John's Homes for Boys.
In 2016 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held a public hearing into the response of the Church of England Boys' Society and the Anglican Dioceses of Tasmania, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane to allegations of child sexual abuse (Case Study 36). The Commission's Case Study 52: Institutional review of Anglican Church authorities also heard evidence relating to the Church of England Boys' Society (CEBS).
A statement made by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne for Case Study 52 contains information relating to CEBS and its involvement with a number of institutions for children and young people. It stated that the CEBS Community Services Trust 'appears to have benefited from the proceeds of sale from time to time of the Church of England Boy's Society Hostel and Probation Scheme and the Church of England Boys Society Farm Training Scheme assets which included Training Farms known as St Hubert's, Yering, 'Burton Hall' Tatura, 'Molloy House' Canterbury, 'Shrublands' Canterbury, 'Mountain View' Romsey, 'Fernhurst' Surrey Hills and 'Ruthven Hostel' Reservoir' (Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, p.11).
The statement says that the CEBS Melbourne Constitution was amended by 1969 to provide for a Hostel and Probation Scheme. CEBS ran two hostels in association with the St John's Home for Boys and Girls: Molloy House and Shrublands (Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, p.13).
In 1974, CEBS purchased a hostel in Reservoir, known as Ruthven Hostel that accommodated 6 to 8 boys (Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, p.14).
In 1980, CEBS' involvement in community services was limited to Ruthven Hostel and Molloy House, which had been relocated from Canterbury to Brunswick in around 1979.
In 1996/97, CEBS Community Care merged with Meridian Youth and Family Counselling Service.
By 2002, the ownership of the properties in Reservoir and Brunswick was transferred to Anglicare Victoria (Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, p.15).
In 2017, the Church of England Boys Society was a ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. It supports approximately 6 CEBS branches (parish groups), operates a campsite (Camp Bindaree) and provides grants to youth activities (Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, p.16).
Sources used to compile this entry: Statement of the Most Reverend Philip Freier. Schedule A: The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 2016, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/STAT.1297.002.0003.pdf.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 6 November 2009, Last modified: 11 January 2023