Miralee Reception Centre was established in 1963 as the 'Mildura Reception Centre', and renamed 'Miralee' in 1967. Miralee accommodated approximately 10 to 12 children up to 14 years of age. In 1980 the Department built a new 'Miralee' Reception Centre.
The Mildura Reception Centre was opened in July 1963. In 1967 the centre was named 'Miralee', an Aboriginal word meaning 'the black swan'.
Miralee was one of two non-metropolitan reception centres established after the introduction of the Social Welfare Act in 1960. The Mildura Reception Centre served northern and western Victoria. The other non-metropolitan centre 'Warrawee', located in Ballarat, served central and south western Victoria.
The children at Miralee who were made wards of the state remained at the Centre until suitable arrangements were made for their care. Parents, relatives and friends were encouraged to keep in contact with their children in the Centre and to be involved in the planning for the their future care. The children attended local schools and churches.
The Centre was managed by a professional social worker and staffed by a cottage mother, a relieving cottage mother, a child care worker and domestic staff. Initially referrals were also accepted from the New South Wales area of the Sunraysia District along the Murray River.
The Reception Centre was also used as the regional office for the Social Welfare Department. In addition to managing the arrival and accommodation of children, the reception centre social worker supervised foster care, home release placements in the community and provided assistance with application for family counselling. A Probation and Parole Officer was also located at the Centre.
In 1969 a new Regional Office was established in the business centre of Mildura. Miralee retained its residential reception care functions. Because of the lack of children's homes and family group homes in the Mildura region, some children remained in residence for many months.
In 1980 the Department built a new 'Miralee' Reception Centre. However design flaws limited its full effectiveness and the 'old building' was retained to provide accommodation for children unable to be housed in the new building.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf.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: 20 November 2009, Last modified: 5 November 2018