1888 - St Joseph’s Home for Destitute Children, South Melbourne
The St Vincent de Paul Society set up a house in South Melbourne in response to the ‘child rescue’ movement. The objective being to provide a home and education for children unable to be taken care of by their parents.
1890 - St Joseph’s Home for Destitute Children
The 1889 great depression brought increased poverty to Melbourne expanding the need for the St Vincent de Paul program. In 1890 a permanent property became available in Surrey Hills with Mary MacKillop accepting the responsibility to pay for the property, care for the children and build a permanent Children’s Home. By 1907 the Sisters had raised enough funds for the large building which still stands.
1925 - St Joseph’s Home for Boys, Surrey Hills
From 1925 St Joseph’s concentrated on care for young boys; those who had outgrown ‘toddler care’ but were considered not old enough for the all-male environment offered at that time by the Christian Brothers. The number of State Wards and privately placed children increased during the depression of the 1930s resulting in overcrowding which continued during World War II.
1967 - St Joseph’s Children’s Home
In the late 1960s, in order to keep brothers and sisters together, St Joseph’s welcomed girls as well as boys. Dormitories were converted into units with smaller bedrooms and self-contained living and dining areas. Most children attended local primary and secondary schools although a school on site was retained for those with particular educational needs.
1980 - St Joseph’s Home for Children, Flemington
In 1980 St Joseph’s was relocated to Flemington; needs were changing. The goal was to offer local support of temporary residential care, or family group home care where longer placements were needed.