Happy Days was a Home in Black Rock, run by Melbourne City Mission. It was a Home where groups of children 'in delicate health' were sent for a seaside holiday. Happy Days opened on 4 March 1933. Usually, alternating groups of 10 boys or 10 girls went to Happy Days for around a 12 day stay. The Home closed in December 1937, at the same time as an outbreak in Melbourne of poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis). In 1938, it reopened as an 'after-care' Home for children convalescing from polio.
The property in Ebden Avenue, Black Rock, was donated to Melbourne City Mission by businessman WV Manton. (Manton also donated a property to Sydney City Mission in New South Wales, which became another holiday home called the Cronulla Children's Home.)
Happy Days was located near to the beach and the tram terminus. The children slept in one large dormitory.
Children who went to Happy Days were usually aged between 6 and 12, and were sent in groups of 10. The groups stayed for around 10 to 12 days, allowing the Matron and her assistant to have a short break between arrivals. The children's parents attended the Melbourne City Mission halls, which were located in Brunswick, Carlton, Collingwood, North Melbourne, Port Melbourne and Richmond. The groups of children usually all came from the same location, and generally were all boys or all girls. Some children went to Happy Days from the Royal Park Depot.
In December 1937, in the midst of an outbreak of poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis), Happy Days was closed. It reopened as an 'after-care home' for children recovering from the disease.
In around 1939, Cottage By The Sea had to relocate from Queenscliff when its property was taken over by the Department of Defence to be used as a military hospital. The Ministering Children's League rented the Happy Days Black Rock until the Queenscliff cottage was returned to the League in 1943.
Sources used to compile this entry: The Woman's World, The Herald, 4 March 1933, 23 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article243057943; Melbourne City Mission, The Age, 26 December 1934, 7 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205068920; Happy Days Holiday Home, The Age, 1938, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206749321; Hahn, Veronica, 'Poliomyelitis: Infantile Paralysis', in Kingston Historical Website, http://localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au/htm/article/356.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 14 December 2018