Nazareth House Children’s Home (1949–75)


  • Auspice: Catholic Church, Poor Sisters Of Nazareth
  • Name: Nazareth House Children’s Home; – wing of Nazareth House aged care facility (1949–75); Nazareth House aged care facility (1929 – current)
  • Address: Riversdale Road, Camberwell


  • Auspice: Catholic Church, Poor Sisters Of Nazareth
  • Name: Nazareth House Children’s Home; – wing of Nazareth House aged care facility (1949–75); Nazareth House aged care facility (1929 – current)
  • Address: Riversdale Road, Camberwell

Nazareth House Children's Home history in brief

In 1929, the Poor Sisters of Nazareth opened Nazareth House in Riversdale Road, Camberwell, initially to care for the aged. 

In 1949, Nazareth House was approved by the State and Commonwealth governments as a voluntary child migration organisation and it established a children’s home.

By the early 1950s, Nazareth House had three large buildings: a residence for 100 elderly women; residence for 45 elderly men; and the children’s home which had capacity for 150 migrant girls aged five to 12, the first arriving in 1953, and the last in 1956. 

From 1958, Nazareth House provided residential care to girls and boys from all over Victoria.

In 1962, only six child migrants remained in residence. Nazareth House received approval to place wards: girls two to 15 and boys two to nine, enabling Catholic siblings to stay together. Capacity was limited to about 60 children in congregate care in the large complex that still also housed the elderly.

By 1975, Nazareth House in Camberwell had phased out its work with children and increased its commitment to aged care.  

Warning about distressing information

This guide contains information that some people may find distressing. If you experienced abuse as a child or young person in an institution mentioned in this guide, it may be a difficult reading experience. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria.  If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.


Please note that the content of this administrative history is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of this administrative history. For more information on the history of child welfare in Australia, see Find & Connect.


  • Guide to out-of-home care services 1940–2000: volume one – agency descriptions, compiled by James Jenkinson Consulting, North Melbourne, November 2001. 

List of records held by the department

For information relating to the central management of care leavers and wards of state, please consult the guide to Central department wardship and out-of-home care records. These collections date back to the 1860s and include ward registers, index cards and ward files.

Voluntary children’s homes files (c.1930–c.85)

File; Permanent VPRS Number 18069/P0002

Content: The files record interaction between the various voluntary homes and the government.

This filing system was created in 1975 combining earlier correspondence and other records to create one system with VH prefixes. 

The specific file(s) relating to this home are dated 1961–71 and include:

  • declaration as an approved Children’s Home and application to use empty wing for British migrant children, 1961–62
  • correspondence transactions with the Social Welfare Department, Family Welfare Division, and the Department of Health, relating to development of the facilities, staffing matters and medical treatment for children, 1961–75
  • infant–life protection inspector reports, 1961–75
  • Family Welfare Division reports on admitted children, 1973–75
  • copies of minutes of the Children’s Homes Planning Committee, 1970s
  • 1975 report The Sisters of Nazareth and residential child care reviewing current operations of the three children’s homes, two in Ballarat and one in Melbourne
  • black and white photograph of a nun reading to a group of children, titled ‘Nazareth House East Camberwell, April 1965’.

Family Welfare Division funding and accounts files (1971–77)

File; Temporary

Content: These accounts and funding files are for individual children’s homes and are used to make allocations. They contain a monthly census giving names and dates of birth to calculate per capita expenses.

There are annual reports of homes, income statements, reports on conditions of homes as assessed on visits. The records are arranged in a broad chronological order.

The specific file(s) relating to this home date from 1971–75 and comprises

  • Nazareth Girls House, Camberwell, 5/11/1971–7/10/1975.

Reviewed 26 August 2016