South Yarra Hostel was established in a vacant building on the Methodist Babies' Home site. Run by Wesley Central Mission it was described as a 'supportive hostel for young people'. The Mission closed down South Yarra Hostel in February 1982. The hostel's residents were taken on as clients by the Richmond Fellowship of Victoria (a community mental health service provider).
According to a former resident, the South Yarra Hostel accepted young people of any age once they had left school. Some residents worked full time, some worked part time and some were unemployed.
South Yarra Hostel accepted referrals from the Director of Prisons and the Mental Health Authority (Howe & Swain, p.175).
In the early 1980s, Wesley Central Mission was undergoing reform as an organisation. It embraced the theory of 'normalisation' to restructure its services with a long-term aim of completely abandoning institutional models of care. In the short term, its services would be restructured, to be based on the principle of the 'right of people to control their own lives' (Howe & Swain, p. 196).
In March 1981, Wesley's new director of welfare, Peter Worland, was asked to prepare a report on the future of the program at South Yarra Hostel. By the beginning of 1982, the Hostel was closed down. Worland said of this decision: 'We just closed it down. We went to the Richmond Fellowship [and] sat down and said how much to take these cases off our hands?' (Howe & Swain, p.197).
In the late 1980s, the Mission sold the premises in Copelen Street, South Yarra. The buildings were demolished in the mid 1990s.
Sources used to compile this entry: Reconnections and Recollections: Charting the History of Connections UnitingCare, Connections UnitingCare, May 2010, http://web.archive.org/web/20140320060720/http://connections.org.au/pdfs/ReConnections-and-ReCollections.pdf; Howe, Renate; Swain, Shurlee, The Challenge of the City: the centenary history of Wesley Central Mission 1893-1993, Hyland House, Flemington, 1993. p.175, 197.; Correspondence with former resident, November 2018 to February 2019.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 27 February 2019, Last modified: 2 May 2019